Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

1.4 Boosterjet SZ5

ALLGRIP Auto

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, 2017, side, action
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, 2017, front, action
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, 2017, rear
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, 2017, front, moving
Suzuki S-Cross, 2017 interior
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, boot
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, rear seats

SOMETIMES mid-life makeovers for existing models are so modest you'd be hard pushed to tell the difference.

That said manufacturers do genuinely try to make them appear visually different - in a bid to push the fact the facelifted version is something new.

Makeovers usually involve new lights and bumpers and sometimes not a lot else truth be told, though generally there are new paint finishes to choose from and perhaps some variations on the existing alloy wheel theme.

However even though Suzuki refer to the S-Cross's mid-life makeover as a facelift it is far more than that.

The powers that be really did decide to give it a radical overhaul in a bid to close the gap with its rival the Nissan Qashqai.

If there was one criticism about the old S-Cross it was that as a crossover it didn't look SUV-like enough.

As a result it's been seriously beefed-up with a front end that's hard not to take notice of.

Its new radiator grille is big and bold enough to rival the likes of Audi or Mercedes-Benz.

Other changes include a larger air intake under the bumper and lights that are far more prominent both front and rear.

The overall visual effect is transformational it has to be said - it really does look like a different car, enhanced further by the fact it also sits a little bit higher off the ground.

Inside the changes are more modest, with a slightly remodelled and softer touch dash, along with new fabrics for the seats.

The other big changes are under the bonnet and the replacement of the old 1.6-litre petrol engine with two new smaller and lighter petrol units.

The S-Cross is now available with either 1.0-litre or 1.4-litre Boosterjet turbocharged engines.

Even the 1.0-litre gives the old 1.6-litre a real run for its money. It might deliver slightly less horsepower (110 compared to 118) but has more torque, lower CO2 emissions and fuel economy that's ten per cent better.

Step up to the 1.4-litre and it leaves the old petrol powerplant well and truly in the shade, while also offering improved economy.

The diesel unit is revised rather than new, but it too is cleaner and greener and has improved economy.

There are three trim grades - SZ4, SZ-T and SZ5.

This car was a range-topping SZ5 ALLGRIP four-wheel drive automatic model and with a £24,629 price tag might be considered a little on the expensive side but the range starts at £14,999.

That sub £15,000 outlay will get you a 1.0-litre in SZ4 trim that comes pretty well equipped with Bluetooth, digital radio, air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels and heated door mirrors.

All models come with seven airbags.

Step up to SZ-T trim and you get satellite navigation, dual zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, rear parking camera, rear privacy glass, bigger alloys and LED headlights.

SZ5 trim adds leather trim, heated front seats, a swish sliding glass sunroof and roof rails.

You also get an added safety feature in the shape of radar brake support - autonomous braking which will actually take over for you if it thinks you're in danger of colliding with the car in front.

As well as the ease of the automatic gearbox what I liked most about this car was the new 1.4-litre petrol engine.

It's a sprightly, smooth and impressive unit that gives the car more of the feel of a hot hatch than a family runabout.

The automatic transmission has a range of modes and even in standard auto mode, which switches automatically between two and four-wheel drive when required, it packs a potent punch but with sports mode engaged it offers plenty more.

It makes for a car that really is great fun to drive and the added bonus of four-wheel drive means it offers the kind of grip that delivers genuinely sporty handling.

Truth be told its standard mode is more than enough to have fun in for everyday driving, saving sports mode for more open road environments.

Around town this car felt positively twitchy in sports mode, like some racing thoroughbred waiting to be let loose.

FAST FACTS

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.4 Boosterjet SZ5 ALLGRIP Auto

Price: £24,629

Mechanical: 1,373cc, 138bhp four cylinder petrol engine driving four wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 10.2 secs

Combined MPG: 49.5

Insurance Group: 128g/km

C02 emissions: 24

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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