Guess where the new shape Suzuki S-Cross Hybrid SUV fits in?
Well, here’s a clue, you’re unlikely to see it pumped up, lights on, commanding the outside lane of the motorway any time soon. SUVs today come in all shapes and sizes. Many are capable, mainstream, built to do a job, others big, brazen and out there, designed to impress the neighbours.
The Suzuki’s mission in life is instead something more prosaic: that of a straightforward, good value SUV contender, filling a gap between the funky, ever loveable Jimny 4×4, Vitara and Across in Suzuki’s SUV 2022 line up.
No flash, then, with the Suzuki S-Cross, a capable SUV player that’s actually been around more than a few years yet hitherto tended to fly under the radar.
That looks set to change with its new for ’22 front and rear-end styling, which ups the visuals game and gives the S Cross a neat, almost VW-style look.
With a new shape bonnet, grille, bumper, wings, there’s no doubt the S-Cross is now a different car. The tailgate treatment with high light combination strip is also more dynamic (although some might still label it a touch generic).
Bear in mind meantime this is not a brand new model, more of a heavy facelift of the existing S-Cross, although, at a glance, you’d hardly guess.
Move inside and the cabin is also refreshed. The kit list is long and the S-Cross again sets out to deliver in its own way: think simplicity, spec and value for money.
Indeed, in Suzuki’s detailed media presentation, much emphasis was placed on what exactly you get for your money versus front line rivals from Nissan (Qashqai), Hyundai (Tuscon) and Renault (Kadjar) and others.
For instance, Suzuki’s numbers show the S-Cross handily ahead of some notable rivals, including variants of the Peugeot 3008, Vauxhall Mokka and SEAT Ateca in terms of monthly fuel costs. In this era of soaring prices, that’s quite a compelling sales point.
One key here is Suzuki’s use of mild hybrid technology allied in this case to the company’s estimable 1.4-litre K14D Boosterjet turbo petrol engine.
The S-Cross is also pretty light and this helps nudge combined economy range on to 46.3 to 53.2mpg depending on the version.
Simplicity again. There are precisely two grades, called Motion and Ultra. There is no base stripper model with rubber mats and wind up windows, so even the S-Cross Motion (the cheapest at £24,999) gets Apple Car Play and Android Auto, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitor, Keyless entry and start, heated front seats, dual-zone auto conditioning and more.
Move up to the Ultra and this brings leather seats, panoramic sunroof, 360-degree camera and sat-nav. This version, with Suzuki’s optional ALL-GRIP 4×4 system onboard, plus auto box, lists for £31,149 at the top of the line.
Under the bonnet, Suzuki’s 1373cc engine, newly refined and tying in with a compact 48-Volt hybrid system, is good for 129ps.
In action, the new S-Cross is a typically light, easy to drive new wave SUV, handling tidily on its front strut, rear beam suspension and modest 17-inch tyres.
The suspension soaks up bumps well, as the S-Cross proves nicely compliant. Pitch it into a bend and it holds its line well, with some roll, but at the same time, it has to be said, it’s not that engaging to drive, although maybe that’s not its real purpose in life.
The Suzuki’s plucky 1.4-litre engine feels spritely and hauls well with generous low range torque, but if you can, we’d advise spending the extra £1350 for the 6-speed auto box since the manual equivalent is a bit notchy and old fashioned.
Cabin space is good, the same goes for luggage space, but the cabin is starting to show its age in places. That said, instruments are classy and informative, and all told, Suzuki has done a highly capable job of updating the S Cross for 2022 duty.
Until now, in the Suzuki range, the Vitara has tended to outsell the S-Cross by four to one. That gap will now be closing as this S-Cross gains a welcome, fresh lease of life.
Overall it looks like another win for the quietly successful Suzuki GB operation.
As a motoring journalist, he’s been writing about cars for a long time, starting in London in fact around the time the Sex Pistols first began limbering up….
Thereafter his journalistic remit has covered both new and classic cars, some historic motorsport reporting plus a long spell in Tokyo, covering the Japanese car industry for a range of global media outlets. Peter is a car writer and tester in the UK. Gooner, Alfisti and former Tokyo resident. If it has wheels, then he is interested.
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