So they’re not all the same (as I had begun to think)! SUVs have for some years now been the type of vehicle that grabs the biggest chunk of the car market.
They all follow a similar pattern and do a similar, all-round, practical job…very well, too. But, having just driven two such cars for two weeks and then have a third waiting outside, I’m thinking,’ here we go again’ in a less-than-enthusiastic manner. So I get into the latest New Suzuki S-Cross Hybrid.
Looking around inside, it happens to be a bit simpler than the other manufacturer’s two models recently tested. But then it’s a lot cheaper — at £27,549 around £5000 cheaper.
Having become used to the previous test cars’ general feel, what struck me first was the slight heaviness of the steering at low speed; but this soon goes as you gather speed and the car assumes quite a sporty feel. The official acceleration time of 10.2 seconds to 62 mph is surprising because the Suzuki seems faster than that. And it has a lively feel all-round, with positive steering and quite tight handling. Along with this are the brakes that also perform very nicely whether in a gentle stop or (in my test) an emergency stop. And when it comes to the safety systems, the Suzuki’s Radar brake support feature gave me quite a surprise once when it took over at around seven or eight miles an hour as I followed another car; my reaction was of some annoyance as I hadn’t felt I was too close, but, having calmed down, I was grateful that at least no contact had been made. However, I then found that I merely had to use the simple control to alter the radar’s range to be more distant.
The 4-cylinder, 1.4 Boosterjet is an excellent engine. Its 129PS seems a conservative figure. The drive system is a mild hybrid so the car cannot be driven as a full electric vehicle (but year-on-year August 2019 to August 2020, mild-hybrid petrol cars are easily the fastest type growing in popularity).
A tiny graphic in the instrument panel tells you whenever charging is taking place…every time you take your foot off the gas. In the four-panelled central console screen, another selectable push-button graphic tells you the same in more detailed form; but does anyone really need this? Basically, it’s just an arrow going round in circles.
But this is perhaps being over-critical because the S-Cross is, in fact, a very capable well priced, family car.
It has genuine space for four adults or two adults up front and three children at the back; it is comfortable, both in the seats and in the ride; it’s quiet at the motorway maximum speed; and, as a load carrier, it can do the job as well as any, with the usual 60/40 easy-folding (and reclinable) rear seats and a double floor in the boot.
To drive, yes, it can be good fun, with a simple, straightforward feel from that lively engine and a slick manual gear-change. Overtaking is boosted by a good torque figure between 2000 and 3000rpm.
The car was driven in every sort of traffic condition from the busy town to motorways and country lanes and the trip computer showed an overall 45.3mpg (the official WLTP combined figure is 45.7mpg).
The test car, being the SZ5 version, was very well equipped with the features now so often desired by the market: thirteen safety systems, for example, dozens of convenience ideas and internal storage options, plus a front accessory socket; and satellite navigation and DAB radio, USB socket and Bluetooth (of course).
Although not tried out on this occasion, from past experience Suzuki’s 4-wheel-drive works very well and is easy to use; even on ordinary road tyres, some reasonably serious off-roading is within its capabilities.
A would-be buyer in this sector should certainly have a good look at this value for money proposition, the Suzuki S-Cross!
Car reviewed: Suzuki S-Cross Hybrid 1.4 Boosterjet Hybrid SZ5 ALLGRIP, on the road price £27,549 0-62mph 9.5secs Top speed 118mph Engine 1373cc 4 cylinder unleaded Euro 6d Fuel Economy Combined 50.1mpg CO2 emissions WLTP 139g/km Max Power 129PS@5500rpm Torque 235Nm@2000-3000rpm Transmission 6-speed manual 4×4
Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.
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