WITH the never ending demand for high-seated family cars offering plenty of versatility, there is always room for those that keep a watchful eye on budgets.
And the perfect example of that is Suzuki's SX4 S-Cross with its extensive line-up starting just a pound shy of Â£14,000 and increasing to the range-topping model that carries a Â£25,149 price-tag.
All are well equipped and offer five-door practicality, and whilst two-wheel drive and a manual gearbox are standard, there is the option to upgrade to Suzuki's ALLGRIP technology and introduce a CVT automatic transmission.
The top-of-the-range SZ5 model is powered by a 1.6-litre 120ps diesel engine mated to a twin clutch automatic gearbox with all-wheel-drive.
The car can sprint from 0-62mph in 13.0 seconds with a top speed of 108mph and according to official figures it can deliver combined fuel economy of 62.8mpg with carbon emissions of 119g/km.
The SX4 S-Cross is very easy on the eye with numerous stand-out features, including 17-inch alloys, rear privacy glass, a smart black grille with chrome surround, silver roof rails, silver front, rear and side skid plates, front fog lamps, LED daytime running lights and the world's first double panoramic glass sunroof.
Move inside and it's clear to see this is one very upmarket Suzuki. Admittedly, if you look hard enough there is some cheaper hard plastic materials on show, but this is not a premium car and doesn't carry a hiked up premium asking price either.
The cabin is light and spacious with ample head, leg and shoulder room for four adults to travel in comfort - five at a bit of a squeeze.
And there is a whole range of technology to be discovered, such as a colour touchscreen, sat nav, DAB digital radio with CD player, a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, dual zone air conditioning with pollen filter, cruise control with speed limiter, a rear parking camera, automatic wipers and headlights, plus plenty more besides.
Comfort levels are high with leather seats that can be heated, and with practicality in mind, the boot has a capacity of 430 litres which can be increased to 875 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. There are bag hooks, four cupholders, deep door pockets, a deep glovebox and handy central bin.
In and around town, the SX4 S-Cross proved very agile and the high-seated driving position offered excellent all-round visibility. Out on the faster roads, the car also impressed.
Acceleration through the six-speed automatic gearbox was nicely responsive and it was a bonus to have steering wheel-mounted paddles to take a little extra control over the gear changes out on the faster country lanes.
The ALLGRIP set-up offers four driving modes - auto, sport, snow and lock - and adds the extra reassurance that the car can deal with any unexpected weather patterns.
If I were to be really picky, the auto stop/start system was a tad clunky, but it's easy to disable if it gets on your nerves.