Suzuki S-Cross SZ-T

Boosterjet

Suzuki S-Cross, front action
Suzuki S-Cross, front static
Suzuki S-Cross, in snow
Suzuki S-Cross, side action
Suzuki S-Cross, rear static
Suzuki S-Cross, rear seats
Suzuki S-Cross, dashboard
Suzuki S-Cross, boot

GOOD things come in small packages, or so the old saying goes.

And there's a lot to be said for a compact car these days with shrinking supermarket parking bays and a plague of yellow lines that make nipping to the shops a marathon of hassle and stress.

But it's not just the external dimensions of today's motors that's on the decrease. Engine sizes, too, are getting smaller.

I've recently been behind the wheels of an innovative family runabout that's both diminutive in terms of body size and engine capacity - the Suzuki S-Cross.

If you want to categorise this £20,000 family wagon, you'd probably call it a crossover. There's a hint of SUV about the shape with its relatively tall stance but the overall look is more estate car-like.

Beneath the snub nose there's some clever skulduggery been going on that has produced a healthy 110bhp. The same three cylinder turbo petrol engine was first used in the Swift supermini and proved so successful it was adopted for the S-Cross and the more SUV-like Vitara.

With an impressive blend of economy and good high gear clout, the Boosterjet engine performs well and has a high degree of engineering refinement about it. Yes, the little unit sounds busy when revved hard but it's a harmonious and far from unpleasant noise.

With acceleration to 62mph in 11 seconds it feels more like a 1.4 or 1.6-litre. Top speed is 111mph.

In keeping with Suzuki's image as a manufacturer of value, sporty cars the S-Cross is positive and agile on the road. Steering has plenty of feel to it allowing the car to be placed accurately through bends.

The ride, too, is better than average with decent bump absorption but not too much body roll. It's the sort of car that thrives on being hustled through bends and brings a smile to your face.

If you are a country dweller who needs increased traction, there's an Allgrip four-wheel-drive model available for the top versions. Otherwise the front drive variants are cheaper and are more frugal to run.

Talking of economy, my average of 43mpg over 400 miles should be easily within reach of most owners. Clearly its pared down weight of less than 1,200kg plays a big part in economy and also helps constrain emissions to just 113g/km.

There's a reasonable amount of space for passengers, although legroom in the rear is a bit tight if those in the front push back their seats. Luggage space is on a par with the market leader Nissan Qashqai at 440 litres which is impressive considering the S-Cross's compact external dimensions.

The cabin, along with the nose, was smartened up in 2016, and stands comparison with its rivals. Some of the plastic used is a bit scratchy but switchgear is robust and tough enough. The SZ-T model tested comes with sat nav, air con, heated door mirrors, LED lighting, cruise control and DAB digital radio.

FAST FACTS

Suzuki S-Cross SZ-T Boosterjet

Price: £20,749

Mechanical:110bhp, 998cc,3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 111mph

0-62mph: 11 seconds

Combined MPG: 56.4

Insurance Group: n/a

C02 emissions: 113g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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