SUZUKI has given its crossover, theSX4 S-Cross a major shot in the arm with a styling and mechanical makeover.
The S-Cross has been with us since 2013 and the latest version moves it ahead with a much more attractive and stronger visual stance and the option of Suzuki's new1.0-litre Boosterjet turbocharged petrol engine.
Contributing to its stronger apearance is a slightly higher ground clearance and new headlamps and rear combination lamps.
The new grille and strong bonnet line say in no uncertain terms that this model is out to net sales and it is no secret that it is out to make inroads into the fleet and contract hire market.
The distinctive new interior design makes life more pleasant for passengers and driver while the double sliding panoramic glass sunroof fitted as standard on the top range SZ5 model has one of the largest opening areas in its category.
But all eyes are on the Boosterjet engines first utilised in the Vitara S and Baleno models which gives a new emphasis on the rising popularity of small petrol engines in vehicles of this size.
Options on this model are 1.0-litre three-cylinder and and 1.4-litre four cylinder with a 1.6-litre diesel also in the new S-Cross range..
I was able to drive what is expected to the the popular choice which is the 1.0-litre and it came over as a very smooth perfromer not lacking in power and torque.
It features direct injection turbocharging provides the same level of power as a larger capacity engine.
The effortless way in which this engone goes about its business is enough to convince anyone that there is a four-cylinder and not a three pot pulsing away under the bonnet. It also remarkably silent.
The 1.0 -litre offers ninbe per cent more torque than the outgoing 1.6 together with 11 per cent lower CO2 emissions and a 10 per cent improvement in fuel consumption. It's rated at 56.4mpg with a CO2 figure of 113g/km while the 1.4 version comes in at 50.4 to the gallon and 127g/km.
The 1.4 Boosterjet also offers an amazing 17 per cent more power than the old 1.6 with 140bhp.
The diesel engine Suzuki uses in the S-Cross is even more ecomoical with a combined economy figure of 68.8mpg and emissions of 106g/km. And to prove the point, at the launch of the model we managed to clock up an impressive 70mpg, proving that this manufacturer's mpg claims are not inflated.
And if you require an element of go anywhere motoring the two-wheel drive models are joined by ALLGRIP options on all three engine variants.
DAB Radio is fitted as standard and there is a large luggage capacity of 430-litres.
All entry-level SZ4 models are equipped as standard with seven airbags, ESP, Bluetooth, air conditioning, Daytime Running Lights (DRL), 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, heated door mirrors, black protective skid plates and black wheel arch extensions.
Mid-range SZ-T trim adds LED projector headlamps, satellite navigation, polished 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking camera, front and rear parking proximity sensors, dual zone automatic air conditioning, front fog lamps, rear privacy glass, silver roof rails and silver rear skid plates.
Suzuki has introduced the SZ-T model specifically with fleet buyers in mind, although it is available to general customers as well.
Equipment for the top of the range SZ5 model includes an emergency braking system Suzuki is calling Radar Brake Support (RBS), leather seat upholstery, heated front seats, double sliding panoramic sunroof and aluminium roof rails.
The original SX4 S-Cross was one of Suzuki's modern masterpieces and and in its revitalised form is about to give its competitors a severe headache.