In 2013 Suzuki launched the SX4 S-Cross, their first real attempt at a crossover vehicle, though Suzuki claim it to be much more than just any old crossover – it’s the perfect fusion of family-friendliness, safety and performance, they reckon. Time to find out, we say.
On the road
As soon as it arrived at Mud Life Towers, we packed it full of bags and made a mad 130 mile dash to North Wales. Usually I’d enjoy myself along the B44071 towards Ffestiniog, but we were fully loaded and in a rush, so the A55 and the A499 it was. (Boring!)
The 1.6 petrol offered a smooth drive, my only issue was that it felt a little underpowered, I wanted more oomph. But what it lacked in oomph it made up for in handling, throwing it around corners wasn’t a problem, in fact it was really good fun! What helps with the sporty drive are the seats that I’ve already mentioned, they seem to be in tune with everything - again, well thought out Suzuki.
After a downpour, the ALL-Grip certainly made a difference whilst negotiating wet and greasy roads, not once did I get the feeling that I was pushing it too much, it really is an impressive handling car.
Obviously, the SX4 S-Cross isn’t meant for the rough stuff, but it did well considering its ground clearance. Like most crossovers, I got the impression that it would rather I stick to normal roads, but it didn’t feels flimsy at all. Arriving at my articulation test, it didn’t hesitate once, especially on its 2 opposing wheels and then 3. Sometimes vehicles can have an initial scramble for grip, but not the SX4 S-Cross, and it wasn’t even in ‘Lock’ mode.
It has a four mode 4wd system offering Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock.
- AUTO mode - the car prioritises fuel economy in typical driving conditions. It uses 2wd by default and will switch to 4wd if wheel spin is detected.
- SPORT mode is meant for twisty roads. The system makes maximum use of 4wd in response to accelerator inputs. At low and mid-range engine speeds, the system alters the accelerator/torque characteristics to optimise engine response and cornering performance. When selected the engine speed is increase by 500rpm and the ALLGRIP system will automatically divert 20 per cent more torque to the rear wheels.
- SNOW mode is, well, for snowy, unpaved and other slippery surfaces. The system uses 4wd by default.
- LOCK mode is designed for extricating the car from snow, mud or sand. The system distributes high torque to the rear wheels continually.
To be honest, even balancing the car on its two opposing wheels and driving on very soft sand, the SX4 S-Cross managed it all in AUTO mode, I reckon you’d have to be in serious conditions to warrant ‘LOCK’ mode.
The first thing I noticed when my bum touched the seats was that they’re great, wide enough for my large backside and long enough in the base too, which seems a rarity these days. The same can be said for the rear seats too, comfy with enough legroom even for me. Melissa, my niece who’s quite tall with ‘big’ hair found the head space in the back to be a tad lacking. This seems to be a common moan due to the inclusion of the panoramic sunroof. Personally I’d keep the sunroof and give her a fiver for a haircut, normal sized people should be ok.
The dash layout is neat, yet basic, and as you would come to expect from Suzuki, everything feels solid and well put together. Storage space is very good with a large cubby box, sun glasses holder, in fact there’s so many places to put stuff, I can’t imagine that I’d ever run out of space!
If I’m going to be super critical, the volume button for the radio is a bit too small and I would like a USB point that isn’t hidden away in the cubby box. I know, that’s ridiculous!
Engines ‘n’ transmissions
Available in 2wd and ALLGRIP 4wd, the SX4 S-Cross has a choice of two 1.6 engines, a petrol and diesel, both of which pump out 118bhp.
1.6 petrol 2wd 5-speed manual offers 51.3mpg with CO2emissions of 127 g/km.
1.6 petrol 2wd Auto offers 51.3mpg with CO2emissions of 125 g/km.
1.6 petrol ALLGRIP 5-speed manual offers 47.8mpg with CO2emissions of 135 g/km.
1.6 petrol ALLGRIP Auto offers 49.5mpg with CO2emissions of 130 g/km.
The diesel variants offer better performance with…
1.6 diesel 2wd 6-speed manual offers 67.2mpg with CO2emissions of 110 g/km.
1.6 diesel ALLGRIP Auto offers 64.2mpg with CO2emissions of 114 g/km.
Safety Stuff ‘n’ Equipment
The SX4 S-Cross has 4 trim levels to choose from, starting with the basic SZ3, then moving up to SZ4, SZ-T and the range-topping SZ5, they’re all well equipped, even the entry-level model.
All S-Cross SZ3 models are equipped as standard with seven airbags, ESP and Tyre Pressure Monitoring as well as Daytime Running Lights (DRL), 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, heated door mirrors, black protective skid plates and black wheel arch extensions.
SZ-T adds satellite navigation with DAB digital radio, polished 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking camera, rear parking proximity sensors, Dual Zone automatic air conditioning, front fog lamps, Bluetooth connectivity, rear privacy glass, silver roof rails and silver skid plates. Suzuki introduced the SZ-T model specifically with Fleet buyers in mind, although it is available to retail customers as well.
Equipment for the top of the range SZ5 model includes front parking sensors, leather seat upholstery, double sliding panoramic sunroof and HID projector headlamps with Auto function and plenty of other bits and pieces that make life on the open road easier and more comfortable.
Buying / Owning
With a price tag from £15,499 to £20,299 for the ALL-GRIP 4X4SZ-T manual Petrol you’re getting a car that costs less to buy than many of its rivals and won’t cost much to run either.
All Suzuki models are covered by a three-year/60,000-mile new vehicle warranty, one year AA Suzuki Assistance, providing 24-hour UK and European roadside assistance, recovery and associated services and a 12-years perforation warranty on all models except the Jimny, that has 6 years.
For the week I drove the SX4 S-Cross, which is still a mouthful, I enjoyed it. It’s one of the few cars that if Suzuki had asked me if I’d wanted to keep it for a bit longer I would not have been upset. In fact, by the end of the week what usually happens is that when I’m running low on fuel with a day to spare, I’ll leave it, but because I enjoyed driving the SX4 S-Cross so much I actually bunged an extra £20 of fuel using my own money… and that’s unheard of!