By Mike Torpey on 2022-10-09 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Suzuki S-Cross 1.4
VALUE for money's the name of the game on the increasingly popular compact SUV scene - and few automotive manufacturers play that ticket more effectively than Suzuki.
In the upgraded S-Cross model the Japanese brand has analysed everything its competitors have harnessed successfully and combined it with the needs of the modern family motorist.
That means families looking for a new model that combines terrific economy with generous standard kit and cutting edge safety gear, as well as existing Suzuki fans.
Just a single engine option is available in the shape of the proven 1.4-litre Boosterjet petrol unit, with the added bonus of 48V mild hybrid technology.
The engine develops 127bhp, so it's reasonably lively, while there's terrific fuel consumption of 53.2 miles per gallon on average for front-wheel drive versions coupled with low CO2 emission figures of 120g/km.
Simplicity is also part of the plan with S-Cross, meaning buyers have a choice of just two trim grades named Motion and Ultra, neither of which are viewed as an entry level given the amount of standard kit included.
There are no added cost equipment packs, nor any options, so the S-Cross Motion costs £24,999 and includes keyless entry and start, a 4.2-inch colour LCD driver info display plus a seven-inch touchscreen, dual zone auto air con, heated front seats, parking sensors and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The Ultra specification of our tested model has a price tag of £29,799 and brings ALLGRIP four-wheel drive, leather upholstery, 17-inch alloy wheels, a 360-degree parking camera, a larger nine-inch infotainment set-up with sharper graphics, sat nav and a sliding panoramic sunroof.
Six-speed manual transmission is standard for both variants, though a six-speed automatic gearbox can be added for £1,350.
ALLGRIP ‘Select' system, standard on Ultra models, is unique in the sector by supplying 4WD with both manual and auto transmissions and offers four drive modes of Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock.
Auto prioritises fuel economy and uses two-wheel drive by default, Sport mode is optimal for twisty roads, Snow - using 4WD as default - is ideal for snow and other slippery surfaces while the Lock setting while free the car from mud or sand. In addition, both S-Cross models have Hill Hold control.
Out on the road the Suzuki shows why the 1.4 Boosterjet is a sensible choice of engine in that it offers plenty of overtaking capability, feeling well balanced and stable in all conditions.
The steering may be light, which is a characteristic of most Suzuki models, but positive and the S-Cross feels agile too.
Deciding between the manual and automatic transmission is down to individual preference, though manual - even if it is less smooth - and Motion trim represents the better value.
Move inside and Suzuki's time-honoured capacity for packaging comes into its own. Five adults can be comfortably accommodated and the boot space of 430 litres is also adequate for everyday family activities.
There's also a lever to shift the rear bench's backrest forward tand open up an extra 10 litres of space to fit in larger or longer items.
And while the car may not have that premium quality of some German rivals, it is nonetheless perfectly acceptable and very well designed.
An emphasis on safety features has resulted in a lower insurance banding of group 25 for the S-Cross compared to the outgoing model.
It provides an automated emergency braking system on both trim grades along with seven airbags, adaptive cruise control, ESP, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert and a blind spot monitor.
Suzuki S-Cross 1.4 Allgrip Ultra
Mechanical:127bhp, 1,373cc, 4-cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via six-speed manual transmission
Choose from one or more of the options to find the car for you.
Based on your search find the dealership
nearest to you.