In pre-politically correct times ‘The man in the street’ (MITS) was a term used to describe the ordinary male (person).
In 2006 I was in Japan watching early SX4 vehicles roll off the assembly lines at Suzuki’s Hamamatsu plant, noting its bland physical characteristics.
This MITS manner was reinforced on an extended drive of the small sports utility vehicle on the company’s test track, with its performance providing an uninspiring driving experience.
Little has changed over the years, with the SX4 generally flying under the automotive radar, while its siblings – Jimny, Swift and Vitara – led the way in design and innovation.
The latest S-Cross could be about to change the order of things.
The second generation SX4 in 2013 took on the S-Cross suffix and an optional all-wheel drive system named AllGrip.
It has four selectable driving modes – Normal, Sport, Snow and Lock.
Following a facelift in 2016, the third generation first saw the light of day in 2021, and has now been given a makeover for the model year 2023, in the form of a freshened cabin and restyled exterior — plus new technology.
What’s it cost?
The 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol engine stays pretty much the same but now puts its power to ground through a new AllGrip all-wheel drive system.
There is a price to pay – $40,490, plus on-road costs, $10,000 more than the base figure.
A Prestige model, with even more goodies, tips the scales at $44,490. I enjoyed time with the latter.
Updated S-Cross styling retains the somewhat angular look of days gone by, while most modern rivals show off slick coupe-like looks.
Included here are a new front and back, doors, bumpers and lighting.
Up front the two-storey grille is dominated by the stylised Suzuki ‘S’ and leaves oncoming drivers in no doubt as to the car’s pedigree.
A sleeker bonnet, black diamond lattice grille and redesigned automatic LED headlights have the SUV standing tall, while square wheel
arches wrapping polished alloy and silver highlights on the bumpers make for a more robust profile than before.
A 9.0-inch touchscreen is a step up from the 7.0-inch system in the base model.
A clear colour display supports factory-fitted satellite navigation, camera with all-round view and digital radio info.
Apple CarPlay customers enjoy wireless communication, while Android Auto folk have to make do with wired connectivity.
Standard safety comes with autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, driver fatigue monitoring, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors.
Like all present-day Suzuki cars, the S-Cross is covered by a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty and five-year capped-price service scheme, the latter at 12 months/10,000km intervals.
What’s it go like?
Quality leather appointments are not enough to detract from the firmness of the seats.
Little lateral support is forthcoming too. On the upside, the steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach.
Behind the wheel is an instrument cluster comprising two analogue gauges with a digital trip computer between, which includes a speedo.
Dual-zone climate control adjustment is within easy reach.
The S-Cross AllGrip is the same dimensions as its predecessor, which is enough to keep an average build adult in some comfort, especially in the rear.
The boot opens up to an expansive 430 litres with the seat backs up, extending to a voluminous 1230 litres with seat backs folded.
Hardwearing fabric material covers the deck and extends up the walls.
There’s also an underfloor boot-wide compartment.
Lift the bonnet. There’s nothing (new) to see here.
Those familiar with the previous model will recognise the engine, a 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol motor producing 103kW and 220Nm, mated with a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission, now taking in the new Suzuki all-wheel drive system — AllGrip.
The featherweight BoosterJet engine has a spring in its step, with plenty of low-down torque and a well-matched torque-converter auto.
Plastic paddle shifts are best ignored.
However, the spicy motor and well-sorted ride and handling package were good enough to throw the S-Cross assuredly around on corners, while feather-light steering pointed the nose in the desired direction and slow-speed parking in tight spots was low on trepidation.
A claimed combined fuel consumption figure of 6.2L/100km translated in test car terms to 8.0L in city traffic and 5.0L on the open road.
Not too much of a financial burden on the recommended 95 RON juice.
Getting to grips with a wide range of conditions under foot, the car’s multi-mode all-wheel-drive system offers Normal, Sport, Snow and Lock stages, running predominantly from the front wheels in Normal to 66:33 split in Snow.
Front bias helps keep the vehicle on a straight course on ice. Snow also firms up stability control, while leaving traction control unfettered in snow.
Lock serves up a steady-as-she-goes 50:50 split.
Sport takes charge from the rear, partly freeing stability control, while calling on transmission operation to be more responsive.
All are to hand via a knob on the centre console behind the gearshift lever.
The S-Cross is far from my favourite Suzuki, with the aforementioned Jimny, Swift and Vitara, atop the podium positions.
However, with the spritely performance of the latest generation, the S-Cross is making a gallant effort to grab the attention of people like me.
It’s beginning to work.
Note that Suzuki Queensland is a separate entity to Suzuki in the rest of Australia, but it’s expected that the two entities will be very much the same.
If you’re in another State or Territory and considering buying a Suzuki we suggest you talk to the dealer of your choice about the new model.
The 2022 S-Cross is being released in Queensland with two specification lines: GL-Plus and GLX with the GLX also having the option of a sunroof. The model names elsewhere are All Grip and All Grip Premium respectively with the latter having the sunroof as standard.