Suzuki S-Cross 1.4

Boosterjet SZ5

ALLGRIP

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

HERE'S a question; what have Suzuki, John Lewis and Ikea got in common? Apart from all being instantly recognisable names, that is.

The answer will bring a glow of pride to the bosses of these well known brands and a reassuring feeling to their customers.

For all have been ranked in the top ten of 259 UK companies rated in a new poll of 45,000 consumers, asked to score the businesses in a host of areas, from customer satisfaction to trustworthiness and handling complaints.

Top of the pile was John Lewis and in fifth place was... Suzuki, maker of affordable, reliable cars and highest ranking motor maker in the survey by the Institute of Customer Service.

Which goes to show you don't need lashing of glamour and glitz to make a car owner very happy indeed. Solid worth and promises kept will do the job, thank you very much.

Which brings us to the Suzuki S-Cross. Not a car to set the pulses racing but one whose sensible, solid attraction grows as the obvious feeling of sense over style begins to recede.

For beneath the forgettable outside looks and a cabin rather too dominated by shiny, hard black plastic lies a car you know the family is going to enjoy like a wet nosed labrador, always up for the next adventure.

In the case of this top table version of the S-Cross that could include some surprisingly severe off road forays, where a simple click of a dial between the front seats will turn the car into a proper 4x4, letting the rear wheels help the front ones when the going gets downright dodgy.

Most of the time you'll be in front drive only, which is all you need on Tarmac and a useful fuel saver too - as a 42.8mpg dash readout after a week (on road) proved.

It might have only a modestly powerful 1.4-litre petrol engine but for all its interior spaciousness (plenty of room in the back for adults) and a genuinely capacious boot, the S-Cross is a comparative lightweight and feels properly eager when asked to perform.

Better on smoother roads, though. Pockmarked blacktop upsets the firm suspension enough to hint that slower is sometimes better, at which pace there was nothing but compliments from the back seat.

Pick a top of the range SZ5 trim and your S-Cross will come thoroughly well equipped. The goodies ranges from a huge glass sunroof, leather trim and keyless entry and start to cruise control, 17 inch alloy wheels and Bluetooth integration.

Even then, it won't feel like an Audi inside, but it does cost vastly less and every reliability survey concludes that if you don't want to be stranded on a wet night in the middle of nowhere, then buying a Suzuki is a good place to start.

FAST FACTS

Suzuki S-Cross 1.4 Boosterjet SZ5 ALLGRIP

Price: £25,249

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

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 10.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 38.8

Insurance Group: 24

C02 emissions: 141g/km

Bik rating: 31%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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