SUZUKI, which proudly proclaims its whole car range to be electrified, this month steps up its green credentials with the launch of a full hybrid S-Cross.
It packs a 140V power supply allied to a 1.5-litre petrol engine and becomes available alongside the established 48V mild hybrid, offering better economy and cleaner running.
The S-Cross was relaunched almost a year ago with a smarter suit of clothes and a posher cabin.
Fortunately the latest addition avoids tinkering with those stylish looks. The full hybrid is available only as an auto - those wanting the manual will be able to buy the much praised 1.4 litre BoosterJet model.
While the newcomer's improved emissions will help guard Suzuki against financial penalties as environmental legislation tightens, its performance may disappoint some buyers used to the fizzy characteristics of the BoosterJet models.
With 113bhp against the 1.4's 127bhp, acceleration is more leisurely as is its throttle response. However a reduction in CO2 emissions to just 118g/km and a combined fuel consumption of 54.3mpg will be much welcomed.
Prices starting at £26,749 for the Motion grade version and that includes generous standard equipment including front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights, climate control, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and rear parking camera.
The dearer version, Ultra, also gets four wheel drive, sliding glass panoramic sunroof, and leather seating for its £31,549 price tag.
Few rivals come anywhere near this level of spec. In fact, all wheel drive on a small SUV is itself a rarity.
With external dimensions slightly smaller than models like the Nisssan Qashqai, passenger space is slightly tighter, although there's ample room for four.
The full hybrid has sacrificed some of its boot space to house the necessary electrification components so the cargo capacity comes down to 293 litres - smaller than most competitors.
With compact measurements and precise steering coupled to an athletic platform, the S-Cross handles niftily and its suspension is adept at soaking up poor surfaces.
Less impressive is the automated manual gearbox which can be slow-witted and a tad clunky when hurried. On a couple of occasions, it baulked as we accelerated to join a dual carriageway. There's a feeling that the clutch on the manual automatiic gearbox is dragging somewhat as you upshift.
The transmission also has a manual mode with steering wheel mounted shift paddles.
The stats confirm the full hybrid is somewhat more tardy than the Boosterjet. Acceleration to 62mph is around 13 seconds, about three seconds slower. Top speed is 108mph.
Off-road fans and country dwellers will make use of the excellent Allgrip four wheel drive system with four selectable modes according to the conditions. These are operated by a centrally placed control and you can switch between auto, sport, snow and lock.
A brief venture into the off-road wolrd illustrated very clearly how hugely capable the little Suzuki can be when confronted with deep mud, steep inclines and slippery grass.
With few direct rivals able to match the generous specification of the Suzuki, the stylish S-Cross presents an appealing proposition for outdoor types looking for a reasonably priced small SUV.