S-Cross switches on

to full-fat hybrid

Suzuki S-Cross Full Hybrid, 2022, front
Suzuki S-Cross Full Hybrid, 2022, nose
Suzuki S-Cross Full Hybrid, 2022, side
Suzuki S-Cross Full Hybrid, 2022, rear
Suzuki S-Cross Full Hybrid, 2022, display screen, navigation
Suzuki S-Cross Full Hybrid, 2022, drive control
Suzuki S-Cross Full Hybrid, 2022, engine
Suzuki S-Cross Full Hybrid, 2022, rear seats
Suzuki S-Cross Full Hybrid, 2022, boot

CUSTOMER satisfaction is a quality worth its weight in gold in the cut-throat world of new car sales.

And it's a virtue certainly having a beneficial effect for Japanese brand Suzuki as the company closes in on two million global sales so far this year.

The brand was recently named the top automotive outfit in the Institute of Customer Service bi-annual UK satisfaction index and in the top five of all companies - only big hitters like John Lewis and M&S finishing ahead of them.

It's in the reflected light of these achievements that Suzuki is continuing the electrification process for all its vehicles - already 100 per cent - with the arrival of the new S-Cross Full Hybrid model.

The latest generation S-Cross compact SUV arrived in the UK at the turn of the year powered by the brand's 1.4-litre Boosterjet petrol engine, but only offering electrification in the form of a 48V mild hybrid.

Now the range has been broadened by the full hybrid, priced at £26,749 in standard Motion trim and £31,549 for the higher spec Ultra grade with ALLGRIP four-wheel drive.

A 1.5-litre petrol unit - the same engine introduced on the Vitara model earlier this year - is fitted to both these model grades and features a 140V lithium-ion battery with Suzuki's AGS auto gear shift automated manual transmission as standard.

With its raised bonnet line, angular wheel arches, piano black front grille and flowing lines that help give the car a high centre of gravity, the S-Cross is certainly an eyecatcher, especially when the likes of large headlamps, roof rails and an integrated rear spoiler are added to the equation.

There is also an emphasis on a high level of kit for both trim grades. In fact there are no extra cost equipment packs, the sole option available being metallic paint at £550.

So every car gets smartphone connectivity, a rear view camera, parking sensors front and back, keyless entry and climate control.

Ultra grade adds the Allgrip Select four-wheel drive, 17-inch polished alloy wheels, leather seats, sat nav with a nine-inch screen, a panoramic sliding sunroof and a 360 view camera.

Safety gear comprises everything from a rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitor to lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

Interior space is such that five adults can be accommodated comfortably and there's plenty of space in the boot too, though its 430-litre capacity is slightly compromised by the lower area being used by the battery.

Our test drive from Leamington Spa took in town and country roads plus a short motorway stretch en route to Heart of England, a 160-acre events site that includes an off-road facility comprising hills, woodland and deep muddy ruts.

Heavy rain had made some sections resemble molten chocolate, ideal conditions for sampling the Allgrip Select with its driving modes of Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock.

Using the latter setting the S-Cross coped with conditions far more demanding than the majority of drivers would want to attempt with their own vehicle, while back on the roads the car felt balanced and stable, though like many Suzuki models the steering was quite light.

Making a case for the full hybrid compared to its mild hybrid stablemate, which comes exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox but is £1,750 cheaper, isn't that straightforward given that the mild hybrid offers better acceleration (0-62 in 9.5 compared to 12.7 seconds) and a higher top speed (121 compared to 108mph).

That said, the full hybrid offers slightly superior fuel consumption at 54.3 miles per gallon combined as opposed to 53.2mpg and has lower CO2 emissions (118g/km compared to 120g/km).

The new model has just gone on sale and for families seeking a compact SUV that combines fine economy, generous standard kit and extensive safety gear it makes sound sense.

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