Suzuki S-Cross Facelift

What is it?

The S-Cross first went on sale in October 2013 and last year received its first make over.  Suzuki’s aim was to make the S-Cross stand out from the crowd more and gave it a bolder look with a new, higher front end, newly designed LED rear combination lamps and a 15mm increase in ground clearance, thus giving it a more distinctive upright stance.

There’s good news on the engine front too, which was my only bugbear of the outgoing model, here, but I’ll get to those as well as interior changes later.

On the road

During its launch back in September last year, I set off from Wrexham towards the A55, drove around the Great Orme at Llandudno, headed towards the A5, and at Corwen turned left towards Ruthin.  Now this next bit may come as a bit of a surprise to a lot of you, I was driving the small, 1.0ltr Boostjet engine, and I actually said out loud to my driving partner for the day, “Who needs the bigger 1.4ltr petrol, this little 3-cylinder engine is ample.”  I know, I can hardly believe it myself.

With 109bhp and a lovely, slick 6-speed manual gearbox, 1.0ltr turbocharged petrol engine, that offers 9% more torque than the outgoing 1.6-litre petrol, was an absolute hoot to drive.  This revelation naturally left me with no choice but to ask Suzuki to send me their 1.4ltr petrol Boostjet for immediate evaluation. 

As I’ve said before, the 1.4ltr Boostjet engine is a cracker, I love it in the Vitara S, especially driving around Millbrook’s Hill Route, it’s so flexible, and it’s equally as good in the S-cross.

With around 140bhp on tap, the difference is quite noticeable, add Suzuki’s ALLGRIP 4wd technology to the mix and the S-Cross becomes quite the monster offering its driver a lot of confidence in dire conditions.  As you can see by the photos, we had our only snowfall the week I had the S-Cross, and not once did it feel jittery.  

Off road

As I’ve just mentioned, it’s fair to say that the weather during the week was mixed, which was actually good as it gave me the opportunity to drive it in varied conditions.  The ALLGRIP system worked wonders getting through the snow and ice and was faultless during our little green-lane foray.

The S-Cross comes with a four mode 4wd system offering Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock.  

  • Auto - The auto mode prioritises fuel economy in typical driving conditions and uses two-wheel drive by default. It switches to four wheel drive if it detects wheel spin.
  • Sport - The sport mode is optimal for twisty roads. The system makes maximal use of four-wheel drive in accordance with accelerator inputs. At low and mid-range engine speeds, the system alters the accelerator/torque characteristics to optimise engine response and cornering performance.
  • Snow - The snow mode is optimal for snowy, unpaved, and other slippery surfaces. The system uses four-wheel drive by default. It optimises four-wheel drive control in accordance with steering and accelerator inputs to promote traction and stability on low friction surfaces.
  • Lock - The lock mode is for extricating the car from snow, mud, or sand. A limited slip differential is fitted which helps brake any slipping wheel and transfer torque to the gripping wheels. The system distributes high torque to the rear wheels continually.  

Because 'Auto' switches to four wheel drive if it detects wheel spin, that's where I left it in all of the situations you can see below, I let the car figure it all out, which it did without hesitation. I can only imagine that you have to be in dire straits to need 'Lock'!

Interior

Like the previous model, the interior of the S-Cross is a lovely place be with plenty of all-round visibility and space.  There are subtle changes like new seat fabric and soft-touch panels, and it remains neat and nicely put together.  Off course there are certain internal panels that feel cheap the further down you look, but we’re taking about a Suzuki, not Bentley here, and with a starting price of just under £15k, it’s totally forgiven.

In the back there’s a false floor with some good sized cubby-holes, the boot space remains the same with 430ltrs which expands to 875ltrs with seat backs folded down.  

What I’ve noticed over the years with various motor manufactures is that their seats vary from model to model and it’s hit and miss on whether they’re comfortable or not.  One thing that I’m guaranteed when I sit in any Suzuki is that they all have bloomin’ good seats, even for my wide arse! 

You have the option of three trim levels, the entry-level SZ-4 spec which is only available with the 1.0ltr petrol engine and comes in at under £15,000.  Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloys, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, cruise control, electric heated mirrors and air-con.

Move up to SZ-T spec and you can choose from all three engines and standard kit includes 17-inch alloys, sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors with a reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, auto lights and wipers, keyless entry and an upgraded stereo system.

Top-of-the-line SZ5 is only available with either the 1.4ltr petrol or diesel and comes with equipment such as leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control, a panoramic sunroof and heated front seats. 

Engines 'n' transmissions

The 1.6ltr petrol has now been shunned in favour of both the 1 and 1.4ltr Boosterjet petrols and the 1.6ltr diesel.  You also have a choice of 2wd, 4wd, manual and automatic transmissions.

1.0ltr Petrol Boosterjet (turbocharged)
5-Speed Manual 2wd
109bhp - 113mph - 0-62mph in 11 seconds - 56.4 combined mpg - CO2 g/km 113

6-Speed Automatic 2wd
109bhp - 119mph - 0-62mph in 12.4 seconds - 54.3 combined mpg - CO2 g/km 119

5-Speed Manual ALLGRIP
109bhp - 109mph - 0-62mph in 12 seconds - 53.3 combined mpg - CO2 g/km 119

1.4ltr Petrol Boosterjet (turbocharged)
6-Speed Manual ALLGRIP
137bhp - 109mph - 0-62mph in 12 seconds - 53.3 combined mpg - CO2 g/km 119

6-Speed Automatic ALLGRIP
137bhp - 109mph - 0-62mph in 12 seconds - 53.3 combined mpg - CO2 g/km 119

1.6ltr diesel
6-Speed Manual 2wd
117bhp - 112mph - 0-62mph in 12 seconds - 68.8 combined mpg - CO2 g/km 106

6-Speed Manual ALLGRIP
117bhp - 109mph - 0-62mph in 13 seconds - 64.2 combined mpg - CO2 g/km 114

Conclusion

Personally I'm not keen on the new look, but as we all know we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, and besides, I appear to be the odd one out as everyone I’ve spoken to loves its bold new look.

Overall, the new S-Cross is an improvement on what was already a good value package, you get a lot of car for your money, even with the entry-level SZ-4 spec.  There’s a good amount of safety kit as standard, too. All versions get seven airbags, stability control and tyre-pressure monitoring, plus emergency brake assist.

Although I couldn’t fault the 1.0ltr petrol, that wouldn’t be my choice, it would be the 1.4 petrol Boosterjet, weighing in at around 1,160kg it’s brisk and bloomin’ good fun to drive.

The SX4 S-Cross is priced from £14,999 - £22,499 excl extras.

www.Suzuki-S-Cross.co.uk