Suzuki has given its S-Cross more than just a mid-life nip and tuck. We’ve given it a week-long test to see how good it is
What do we have here?
The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross went on sale in 2013 having been redesigned from a family hatchback (called just SX4) into a mid-size crossover SUV. Three years later and now it’s time for Suzuki to give it a mid-life facelift.
Not only does the new car get more distinctive styling at the front and rear, there’s also additional grey bodywork which gives it a more rugged SUV appearance. Ride height has been raised by 15mm to increase additional ground clearance to 180mm, further enhancing its off-road abilities.
Inside, there’s a new dashboard design, while soft-touch plastics aim to give to it a more upmarket look and feel.
We’re testing the range-topping SZ5 trim with a 1.4-litre Boosterjet petrol engine connected to a six-speed manual gearbox and Allgrip four-wheel-drive.
As standard, all S-Cross models get 16in alloy wheels, DAB radio, Bluetooth and daytime running lights. This range-topping model adds leather seats, Dual-zone automatic air conditioning, 17in alloys, heated front seats and a panoramic sunroof. Our test car came in Energetic Red metallic paint which costs an extra £430 over the standard cars £22,849 asking price.
How does it drive?
Despite the raised ride height, this mid-size SUV handles impressively well. There is some body lean but not enough to deter keener driving while the grip is excellent, as you might expect from the all-wheel-drive system. The steering is generally light but is consistent in feel and weighting.
The majority of the time you’ll find that the S-Cross has a comfortable and supple ride, however, larger road imperfections and potholes can thud into the cabin, although it’s less composed at lower speeds, improving the quicker you drive. Rear passengers experience a less supple ride than those in the front.
Should you detect understeer, on say a roundabout, this is simply solved by applying more throttle to allow the four-wheel-drive system to take control. It will then corner tighter than you might expect.
On the motorway, you’ll detect a little wind noise around the windscreen, however, this soon dissipates as speeds lower although suspension noise is prevalent most of the time.
This Boosterjet petrol engine develops 138bhp and 162lb ft of torque. Its official 0-62mph time is 10.2 seconds and while it feels more than capable of achieving that, the engine is particularly sensitive to its power band, which kicks in and around 3,000rpm and rises to 6,000rpm. The engine’s delivery is, however, smooth and it can even feel brisk at times, it’s also relatively quiet.
The six-speed manual gearbox has a usefully short throw between the gears, meaning that rapid and often gear changes are a thing of these. However, the gearbox can be clunky and notchy, although the clutch is pleasingly light.
The four-wheel-drive system is pretty quick to react once we’ll slip is detected. When accelerating hard on a damp surface, you’ll feel the front wheels start to slip but the Allgrip system reacts fast enough to stop the slip without slowing progress. Located between the seats and by the gear lever is a drive select mode where you can pick from Snow, Sport and Auto settings.
What's it like inside?
The design of the dashboard is neat and tidy with flashes of brightwork trim black gloss inlays brighten up the cabin. While the addition of soft-touch plastics has certainly improved things, it’s not difficult to find harder plastics nearby. Some of these are lightweight, such as on the door, where the panel will flex if you push it.
Behind the well-sized but under-padded steering wheel, the instrument binnacle it is clear and easy to read, as is the information screen which displays trip information.
At the centre of the dash is a 7.0in infotainment screen that controls the music, telephone and navigation systems. It is super easy and simple to use, navigate and understand with good graphics.
Even in its lowest setting, the driver’s seat position is quite high, which provides excellent visibility out of the S-Cross, however, for taller drivers will reduce headroom. For most, though headroom is more than sufficient, while shoulder and elbow room is excellent.
Storage in the front is good with two cupholders in the centre, a bottle holder in each door, there’s a decent size glovebox, sunglass holder by the rearview mirror and a storage box underneath the central armrest. This range-topping spec brings with it the panoramic sunroof which is electrically operated and is sensational. It’s one of the largest opening sunroofs in the sector and not only provides a vast amount of natural light but also a huge amount of fresh air when fully deployed.
In the back, headroom is slightly more restricted but more than enough for children and younger teenagers, while leg and shoulder room is excellent. In the doors, there’s space for a bottle and the central armrest features two cupholders. Whilst the rear bench may lack some padding and support for ultimate comfort, it is tiered meaning there’s a good view out.
The boot is accessed by a large hatchback style lid and there is a low lip to aid getting heavy items in and outs. The lip sits aligned with a flat boot floor, which is adjustable and can be lowered if you need extra depth. There are two side bins and a bag hook while the rear seats split 60/40 to increase load area.
The official combined economy is 50.4mpg, however over a week of mixed driving, we returned around 38mpg.
CO2 emissions of 127g/km means a year’s road tax will cost £110, with company car drivers face a BIK tax banding of 22%.
This SZ5 petrol falls into insurance group 24.
The SX4 S-Cross gets a 3-year 60,000-mile warranty.
The SX4 S-Cross facelift has done a fine job of refreshing and rejuvenating this mid-sized SUV. It’s good to drive, has a comfy ride, is spacious and well-priced. The SZ5 trim is full of kit and features an excellent infotainment system and has a huge panoramic sunroof.
It does, however, lack some quality with some materials feeling flimsy. A Nissan Qashqai and Mazda CX-3 are better made but more expensive.
The S-Cross is loveable, well-rounded and is well worth a look.