Suzuki SX4 S-Cross two thousand sixteen review, Auto Express

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross two thousand sixteen review


Since the arrival of the fresh Suzuki Vitara last year, the competent but rather drab-looking SX4 S-Cross has been largely disregarded. It hasn’t helped, either, that the two models share a puzzlingly similar space in the crossover market.

Now however, Suzuki has given the SX4 S-Cross a significant restyle with the aim of making it look more like an SUV. It also benefits from a boost (in more ways than one) in the form of two fresh turbocharged petrol engines. We’re attempting it with the smaller 1.0-litre ‘Boosterjet’ unit to see if it can become a credible cut-price alternative to the Nissan Qashqai.

Undoubtedly, the very first thing that will catch your eye is the fresh front end. The bonnet has been raised, with a chunky clamshell design, and the nose is more upright to give it a “stronger and bolder road presence”, according to Suzuki bosses. We’re not so sure – to our eyes that big chrome grille sits a bit awkwardly with the lights and bonnet, but we’ll concede that it’s more distinctive than the anonymous looks of the old car.

That’s the main switch to the exterior of the SX4 S-Cross, but look firmer and you’ll spot a few more. There’s redesigned lower assets cladding and front air intakes, fresh alloy wheel designs, LED headlights and LED tail-lamps, too. Additionally, the suspension has been jacked up by 15mm to further bolster the illusion that this is a fully-fledged SUV.

Inwards, there are petite improvements to the dash, with soft touch plastic, gloss black trim surrounding the touchscreen and the option of some brighter materials across. There are still slew of scratchier materials on the doors, upper dash and many of the touch points, but it’s all well screwed together.

Suzuki has also grafted in the infotainment system from the Vitara, which is fatter and lighter to operate in the budge than the dated old unit. It’s a pity, then, that the screen graphics already look a little cheap. Overall, despite improvements the SX4 S-Cross is still more functional than desirable inwards and out. That’s not the entire story, however, as there’s more to this Suzuki than meets the eye.

For starters, it’s more spacious than most crossovers in this price bracket. There’s ample room for a six-footer to sit behind a similarly sized driver, headroom is decent, while Suzuki has liberated up another ten litres of space in the boot (up to 440-litres and more than a Nissan Qashqai), thanks to a reclining backrest.

It’s also remarkably pleasurable to drive. The 110bhp 1.0-litre Boosterjet unit substitutes the old naturally-aspirated 1.6, and we think it’s the pick of the fresh range. It feels impatient, mainly thanks to the S-Cross’ slender 1,160kg kerbweight. As a result the S-Cross feels quicker than its conservative 0-62mph time of eleven seconds suggests.

It’s not as torquey low-down as the 1.0-litre engine in a SEAT Ateca, but it’s supple, willing to rev and sounds pleasant, too. Combine that with very competitive fuel economy figures and CO2 emissions, and the diesel engine makes much less sense than before. You can even spec this engine with Suzuki’s ALLGRIP selectable four-wheel drive for an extra £1,700.

It even treats well. Granted, a Mazda CX-3 is more composed, but the S-Cross feels more nimble than before. The bod is stiffer, while the suspension has been tweaked to improve stability and convenience. Assets roll is noticeable when you shove it, but it’s grippy and agile. Rough roads and acute low-speed bumps from time to time unsettle it, however.

The Suzuki’s real appeal lies in the value it offers. Despite being not far off a Qashqai in terms of size and interior space, it’s priced to challenge with the smaller Nissan Juke. It starts from just £14,995, while our mid-spec SZ-T is £19,499 and comes with sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera, dual-zone climate control, LED headlamps and 17-inch alloy wheels.

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