Viewers of The Block will know Suzuki’s all-new S-Cross SUV is versatile, good-looking and able to carry five people. What Scott Cam, ‘The Faves’ and ‘The Fans’ can’t show you is how nice the S-Cross drives.
The answer is the Suzuki S-Cross drives great and presents a formidable challenge to vehicles like the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Juke and Mitsubishi ASX.
Designed very much with the European market in mind, the S-Cross ushers Suzuki into an era of changing demands from SUV buyers. Times are changing and so has Suzuki…we’re hoping there’s more to come from the smart Japanese company.
Suzuki S-Cross Overview
The Suzuki S-Cross replaces the previous SX4 model but moreover takes Suzuki into a new, more popular market segment. Where the SX4 was pretty much a hard working compact crossover, the all-new five-seat Suzuki S-Cross is larger, pitched into the C-Segment and is more upscale/refined in every area.
Smart too with high-tensile and super high-tensile steel used comprehensively allowing the bigger S-Cross to weigh-in some 110kgs lighter than the old, smaller SX4.
CarShowroom.com.au tested the mid-grade Suzuki S-Cross GLX 2WD automatic which is priced at $29,990
Suzuki S-Cross Engine
Suzuki equips the S-Cross with its M16A four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol engine which drives either all four wheels or (as was the case in our GLX model test car) the front wheels via a seven-step CVT automatic transmission (five-speed manual available in the base GL variant).
Maximum power is 86kW at 6000rpm and peak torque of 156Nm is delivered at 4400rpm.
Suzuki S-Cross The Interior
Like all Suzukis, the S-Cross’ interior is highlighted by quality materials which look like they’re going to be very hard-wearing. That’s great news for family buyers.
As part of its extras, our GLX model adds a 6.1-inch multimedia touchscreen including satellite navigation, reversing camera and rear parking sensors, 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning and steering wheel paddle shifters to use the CVT auto as a seven-speed sequential manual. Range-topping GLX Prestige goes further with leather trim and a massive panoramic sunroof.
The tilt/telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel combines with plenty of seat adjustment (59mm of height adjustment for starters!) to provide a good driving position and the simple instrumentation (large tachometer/speedometer flanked by a multi-information display) is effective and easy to read.
Access to the rear seat is good, leg-room is on par with others in this segment and the seat back has two positions for relaxed travel. Luggage space (rear seat in-place) is 440-litres or a handy 1269-litres (rear seat folded).
Suzuki S-Cross Exterior & Styling
If the S-Cross is a benchmark, it’s safe to say Suzuki is back on the front foot in the styling department. With European markets in mind, the people with the crayons have delivered a sophisticated look which is contemporary without being too ‘edgy’.
Aerodynamic too (and that’s not something you could say about some earlier Suzuki styling efforts). There are strakes at the front and comprehensive underbody panels from the engine bay and floor covers, a smooth roof line and exterior mirrors and even the muffler has a slippery lower edge design.
At 4.3-metres in overall length and with a wheelbase of 2.6-metres, the Suzuki S-Cross is definitely a C-Segment SUV. We like the front end with its classy headlights (with LED DRLs) blending to the trendy sculptured front fenders and the increasingly common large air intake and Suzuki badge.
Side view sees a bold character line front to rear and rising glasshouse.
At the rear, the hatch design is nicely sophisticated and the two-piece rear lights are thoroughly modern.
Suzuki S-Cross On The Road
Just as the Suzuki’s stylists have risen to the challenge with the all-new S-Cross, so have the chassis guys. Well the Swift Sport is a great steer and nicely refined as well…so they didn’t have to look far for inspiration.
The MacPherson strut front is mounted to a rigid, lightweight frame and in fact, increased rigidity for all four corners was a priority.
Sure the 86kW/156Nm 1.6-litre isn’t going to power a Top Fuel drag racer any time soon, but it’s nicely mated to the CVT auto and 5.8l/100kms fuel consumption won’t break the bank. Like Nissan, Suzuki is right on top of CVT development - unlike some earlier efforts, this one operates well in normal mode with significantly less ‘droning’ under acceleration and (in GLX models) can be used as a seven-speed sequential manual with steering wheel paddle-shifters.
But it’s the overall package which is nicely cohesive in the Suzuki S-Cross – a supple chassis providing good turn-in and refinement (although less body roll would be nice) and a drivetrain which is quiet in most operating environments. And despite its handy overall dimensions, the Suzuki S-Cross’ diminutive 10.4-metres turning circle is a boon to parking.
Suzuki S-Cross Issues
Amongst Suzuki S-Cross’ major rivals, only one – the Nissan Juke – has a maximum power stat which starts with an eight. Like the Juke, the Suzuki S-Cross has a chassis which is good enough to easily handle more grunt – for example the 100kW/160Nm 1.6-litre engine fitted to the Suzuki Swift Sport.
Suzuki S-Cross Verdict
As we’ve seen time, and time, and time again on The Block, Suzuki’s S-Cross is certainly a versatile all-rounder, capable of ‘switch-hitting’ from being a family five-seater to a load-lugger with ease. And, Suzuki being Suzuki, the stylish and comfortable interior looks like it can easily withstand the best punishment youngsters (or tradies!) can dish-out without damage or excess signs of wear…and that’s always important for family buyers.
What you can’t tell from television but which was confirmed to us during our week driving the Suzuki S-Cross is just how good the driving dynamics are. That shouldn’t surprise as Suzuki is one of Japan’s oldest automotive brands and its engineering talent pool is deep.
That talent pool extends to Suzuki’s design department and part of the appeal of the Suzuki S-Cross is certainly its handsome looks. Perhaps a preview to the styling of the all-new Grand Vitara? We wouldn’t be surprised.
Suzuki S-Cross The Competition
Here’s where the intense competition in the compact SUV segment makes life hard for the Suzuki S-Cross.
Of the other Japanese brands…well while it might be too large and too SUV for some potential S-Cross buyers, fact is Toyota’s RAV4 2WD models range from $28,490 to $34,990. That’s a lot of car for your coin in terms of interior space and performance (107kW/187Nm 2.0-litre for RAV 2WD).
We’re very keen on Nissan’s British-origin Juke (but not everyone loves the looks) and in terms of size it pretty much matches the Suzuki S-Cross. Value is certainly there with Nissan stickering the Juke from $21,990 to $32,190. Only the top-spec model is AWD (the rest drive the front wheels) and there’s two 1.6-litre engines: 86kW/158Nm atmo or a 140kW/240Nm turbo.
Mitsubishi’s ASX ranges from $24,990 to $36,490 and even the entry-grade 2WD model enjoys a 110kW/197Nm 2.0-litre engine. Handsomely styled but not the segment leader for interior space.
From Korea, the Kia Sportage is a CarShowroom.com.au Favourite. We still love the styling, the excellent driving dynamics and the handy 122kW/197Nm 2.0-litre engine. Kia Sportage ranges from $24,490 to $39,990.
Same country of origin for the Hyundai ix35 which initially looks pricey ranging from $26,990 to $40,490 the locally-tuned chassis matches for the Ford Kuga for best-in-class and we’re keen on the upscale, stylish interior. Front-drive models share the same 2.0-litre powerplant as the Sportage.
The other CarShowroom.com.au Favourites in this segment are Ford’s compact EcoSport or the slightly larger Kuga (the latter closest to S-Cross size although a tad pricey starting from $27,990). 82kW/140Nm 1.5-litre engine for Eco Sport or a 110kW/240Nm 1.6-litre for Kuga.
Or. From North America, Jeep’s Patriot is similarly sized to the Suzuki S-Cross and, as is the way with Jeep, has lots of kit and a great price ($25,000 - $33,000). Jeep styling provides on-road presence and 2WD models score the 115kW/190Nm 2.0-liitre engine.
Like we said, the Suzuki S-Cross faces tough rivals.