S-Cross a tough

crossover

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, 2017, side, static
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, 2017, front
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, 2017, front, action
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, 2017, front, static
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, 2017, rear
Suzuki S-Cross, 2017 interior
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, 2017, boot, maximum

A LOT of two wheel drive cars with a little raised ride height would take a stony green lane near my home until about half way up the hill.

Then they would be scrabbling for grip as the incline increases and the ruts get deeper and deeper.

But the Suzuki S-Cross just went straight up without a murmur and took the ruts, huge potholes and loose stone surface completely in its stride.

Of course, the SZ5 model I drove from the top of the range came with Suzuki's Allgrip four-wheel-drive (4WD) which helps and, even though it had a petrol engine and an automatic gearbox, it still averaged over 38 miles per gallon in my none too careful hands.

There are diesels of around the same size that don't do much better in real day to day use.

The 4x4 system drives the front wheels most of the time, bringing the rears into play automatically when needed, but it also has a lock for the centre differential, to give maximum traction when the going gets really tough.

The car was powered by the company's 1.4 Boosterjet turbo engine with 140bhp, driving through a new six-speed automatic gearbox, which has replaced the previous CVT and is a good improvement.

As well as standard Drive, it also has a manual setting with paddles behind the steering wheel to make the changes but the standard automatic is so good there is rarely any need to use it.

The engine is really excellent, smooth, responsive, free revving, quiet and it helps give the car a lovely feel on the road.

Performance is good without ever being particularly impressive but that's not what this car is about.

Where it scores over most of the opposition is in the excellent level of comfort. It takes all the potholes and speed humps in town very easily and simply rolls over undulating, rough surfaces out in the country as if they're not there.

Other SUV's have stiffer suspension to try and give them more car-like handling but I think that's a mistake, because it spoils the quality of the ride.

Even though the S-Cross leans a fair bit when pushed in the corners it still takes them safely every time, with very good grip and balance.

Inside, the heated seats are comfortable and supportive and there's plenty of adjustment for a perfect driving position.

Parking sensors and a reversing camera make getting into any space simple and, along with other cars in the Suzuki range, the level of standard equipment leaves very little to add.

It comes with sat nav and a large touch screen that also controls the DAB stereo, voice activation, vehicle functions, linked phone and climate.

There are remote controls for stereo, phone and cruise on the steering wheel and it also has keyless entry and starting, folding heated mirrors and automatic stop-start that works well.

Rear legroom is fair behind my six foot frame, there's plenty of storage around the cabin and the boot is big and square with a light hatch.

The American-look grille may not be to everyone's taste but the whole car works very well indeed.

It's a small 4x4 with good on-road manners and very good off-road capability that will never let you down in the winter and is good enough for some serious off-road work too.

FAST FACTS

Price: £25,000

Mechanical: 138bhp, 1,373cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 10.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 49

Insurance Group: 24

C02 emissions: 128g/km

Bik rating: 24%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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