Suzuki Across PHEV

Suzuki Across, 2020, front
Suzuki Across, 2020, side
Suzuki Across, 2020, rear
Suzuki Across, 2020, interior
Suzuki Across, 2020, boot

FANCY a riddle? Ok, when is a Suzuki not a Suzuki ? Answer: When it's a Toyota.

Some explanation is clearly needed. The fizzy and buoyant Suzuki brand has the lower end of the market well covered with the Swift supermini, go-anywhere Ignis and two compact crossovers - the S-Cross and Vitara - but there's a vacuum further up the ladder.

So it got together with giant fellow Japanese maker, Toyota, to sort of rebadged and tinker with the RAV4, a pioneer in the SUV craze.

The disguise - a few Suzuki badges and a new, less aggressive front - will fool few of us.

Wisely, Suzuki has snubbed the pure petrol version in favour of electrification. Cleverly named the Across, it's a plug-in hybrid with a 46-mile electric only range and emissions of just 22g/km which result in commendably low company car tax.

All good news so far. Then you get to the price tag, which at £45,999 sets in direct competition to the likes of Discovery Sport, Mazda CX-5, Audi Q3 and Merc GLC.

Despite the Across's upright stance and brick-like aerodynamics plus four-wheel-drive, it's a seriously rapid bit of kit. For example it dispatches the 62mph benchmark sprint in six seconds, putting it on a par with the more nimble got hatches. An automatic CVT gearbox is standard complete with steering wheel paddles.

Power is derived from a 2.5-litre, four cylinder petrol engine. At the back, there's 40kW rear motor that works in conjunction with the front motor and allows variation in torque spread that benefits stability and handling over slippery surfaces.

Combined, it adds up to a mighty 302bhp, which is more than double that of a standard Vitara. There are four power settings that determine how much you wish involve battery use. Its E-Four four-wheel-drive system splits the power between front and rear axles depending on which end of the car most needs assisted adhesion.

An automatic slip differential when in Trail Mode allows individual wheels to be braked when they lose grip and then redistribute the power.

Tipping the scales at almost two tons, the Across is no lightweight. Nevertheless it handles neatly with decent bump suppression and well controlled cornering roll.

You soon realise the major sum of investment has gone into the engineering rather than flashy cabin design. While the interior is smart and easy on the eye, it's a direct lift from its Toyota brother with a nine-inch infotainment screen and plenty of easy to use chunky buttons and switches. It's all logical, tough and works perfectly efficiently.

Bags of space in the front and rear for five people and luggage room at almost 500litres is a match for some rivals, although theRAV4 is roomier by 90 litres.

There's no shortage of equipment with heated seats, adaptive cruise control, leather seating and heated steering wheel being standard features.

The official fuel consumption is given as 282mpg, but park that somewhere you'll never find it. In reality most owners will easily attain the 40s or maybe 50-plus on a gentle run. Our average was 47mpg over mixed town and motorway driving.

£45,599

2.5-litre, 4 cyl petrol engine plus electric motor, 302bhp combined driving 4 wheels via automatic gearbox

112mph

6.0 sec

282

43

22g/km

7%

3yrs/60,000 miles

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