- Well equipped, practical and neatly designed
- Economical to run and no hidden extras
- Available with four-wheel drive
- Interior let down by cheaper materials
- Boot capacity is less than some rivals
- Quite noisy when pushed on and automatic gearbox also gets jumpy
When it comes to compact SUVs that are great value for money, packed with tech and offer a practical solution for growing families, then the Suzuki S Cross is certainly worth exploring.
There is a choice between two trim levels called Motion and Ultra with the range-topping model also featuring ALLGRIP, Suzuki’s clever all-wheel drive set-up.
The five-door S Cross is powered by a 1.5-litre full hybrid set-up and features Suzuki’s latest Auto Gear Shift (AGS) automated manual transmission as standard. Alternatively, customers can specify a mild hybrid option that sees a lesser-powered 1.4-litre engine matched to a manual gearbox.
We opted for the top-of-the-range S Cross Ultra with ALLGRIP for a week-long test.
The latest S Cross boasts a bold, muscular appearance without being too aggressive in the process. Eye-catching design cues include a piano black front grille, a raised bonnet line, angled wheel arches and newly designed LED headlights along with larger LED tail lights. There are roof rails, a panoramic sunroof, an integrated spoiler, rear privacy glass, body coloured door handles and mirrors, plus 17-inch polished alloy wheels.
Moving inside, there is a simplistic feel to the cabin although it is richly equipped. The seats and steering wheel offer plenty of manual adjustment so it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position. Then it’s just a case of exploring the on-board technology.
The main focal point and nerve centre is a nine-inch infotainment display which sits high on the dashboard and offers access to the smartphone link with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, DAB radio, navigation system, Bluetooth and six-speaker sound system.
Additional features include a rear parking camera with 360-degree view, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone air conditioning and heated front seats.
Behind the steering wheel, the vital driving data can be clearly viewed on a clear and configurable screen. All dials, readouts and controls are perfectly positioned for ease of use and the cabin has a nice feel to it with light flooding in through the sunroof.
The only downside is the number of hard plastic surfaces which could start showings signs of scratching after time.
Owners can link their vehicle to Suzuki Connect via a smartphone and benefit from a range of features such as locating a parked car, getting warning light and security notifications, checking if lights are left on or the doors unlocked, along with details on its driving and location history.
On The Road
Handling & Performance
Driving the Suzuki S Cross full hybrid is a four-cylinder, 1.5-litre petrol engine (as seen in the Vitara) working with an electric motor and battery pack and delivering 115PS and 138Nm of torque.
The hybrid system has two modes – Eco and Standard – which will impact on the amount of EV driving achieved. The Standard setting is definitely the best choice for a livelier performance.
While there are much faster compact SUVs out there, the S Cross still puts in a very decent performance with a 0-62mph dash completed in 13.5 seconds and a top speed set at 108mph.
The automatic gearbox offers fairly smooth acceleration, although at times there seemed to be a little lag, but there are paddles for added driver engagement. This car can cruise at 70mph on motorways, is well balanced fizzing along twisting B roads and is agile and easy to manoeuvre in busier city centres.
The suspension set-up does a great job of smoothing out any bumps and dips along the way, but the engine noise does become more noticeable at higher speeds.
The S Cross Ultra models also gain ALLGRIP which is Suzuki’s all-wheel drive set-up with four driver-selectable modes. These are called Auto which uses two-wheel drive as a default setting to maximise fuel efficiency, but will switch to four-wheel drive if it detects wheel spin. The Sport mode is ideal for twisty roads and maximises four-wheel drive in accordance with throttle pressure. A Snow mode is the setting to opt for on any slippery surface such as gravel or icy surfaces. And finally, the Lock mode is used to help free a car in sand, mud or snow.
Space & Practicality
The Suzuki S Cross is a neatly styled compact five-door SUV that stretches 4,300mm in length. It is 1,785mm across, 1,585mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2,600mm.
A couple of six footers can easily fit in up front and the slightly elevated seating results in excellent all-round driver visibility. While there is space for a couple of adults in the back, ideally it is best suited to youngsters, especially if the front seats are pushed right back
The boot, which is accessed via a manual tailgate, can accommodate 293 litres of luggage and this capacity can be increased to 665 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
Elsewhere, there is a glovebox, spilt-level centre console, front and rear cup holders, door bins with bottle storage, a single seat back pocket and some trays.
There are grips to assist when getting into the vehicle if needed, and ISOFIX child seat anchors to the outer rear seats make fitting a child seat an easy operation.
The 2023 Suzuki S Cross costs from £26,099 for the entry-level Motion model with mild hybrid technology. This Motion grade with the full hybrid system costs £27,849, while the S Cross Ultra with the mild hybrid set-up is priced at £30,899 or £32,649 for the Ultra grade full hybrid, as tested. Our car also featured single-tone metallic paint as an optional extra adding £550 to the price.
The official fuel efficiency of our car, under WLTP testing, is a combined 48.7mpg with carbon emissions of 132g/km which would result in a first-year road tax charge of £245 dropping to the standard fee for hybrid cars of £170 after 12 months. This includes a £10 discount compared to non-hybrid models.
For anyone considering the S Cross as a business car, the Benefit in Kind tax rating is 31 per cent and the car sits in insurance group 16.
The S Cross comes with a service activated warranty whereby the standard three-year package can be extended free-of-charge to seven years and 100,000 miles provided the car is serviced at an authorised Suzuki workshop. And this impressive warranty can be transferred to a new owner if the vehicle is sold on.
One of the greatest assets of the S Cross is just how easy it is to drive. Unlike some competitors there’s no overcomplicated trickery that you need to master. Suzuki keeps things simple and we like that.
There are certainly more dynamic and entertaining models out there, but this Suzuki covers all bases well. It’s a nicely styled car that’s well equipped with all the latest technology. It’s efficient, comfortable and even offers four-wheel drive.
So, when you also factor in the wealth of safety kit, including blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, vehicle sway warning, hill hold control and dual sensor brake support, this car has bundles of genuine all-round appeal.