New Suzuki S-Cross with traditional values

Suzuki S-Cross  (Suzuki)
Suzuki S-Cross (Suzuki)

This is the second generation S-Cross, replacing a model that was around for nearly a decade. That car bore a strong resemblance to the original Nissan Qashqai, circa 2007, so looked rather dated. Its replacement is, however, a pleasant looking revamp; it doesn’t stand out particularly but won’t cause offence.

This theme continues inside where design flamboyance is not on the agenda either. The result is unpretentious and practical. There are a lot of dark, easy to clean plastic surfaces but many of them are rather unyielding. Build quality is good but some rivals feel plusher.

The instruments are easy to read and all the controls are well placed and straightforward to use. Many features are controlled by a large, centrally mounted touch screen, whose functions aren’t difficult to find, and the graphics for the sat nav are clear. However the screen is often a little slow to respond, which can be annoying on the move.

Inside story

Front space is good as is rear legroom. Not so rear headroom for anyone over six foot tall. We drove the more expensive Ultra derivative (cheaper versions wear Motion badges) which has a large glass sunroof that lowers the roof height in the back, even though it was not overly generous in this department to start with.

With the back seats up there’s 430 litres of luggage space including a useful area beneath a false floor. Dropping the 60/40 rear seat backrests increases this to 665litres.

 (Suzuki)
(Suzuki)

Perhaps the most unusual feature of the Suzuki S-Cross is its conventional manual transmission.

Electric cars don’t really have gearboxes and increasingly petrol and diesel models get on with gear changing on their own, so the six-speed transmission fitted as standard to the S-Cross is almost a novelty. It’s also a no-nonsense feature that suits the car’s character (a six-speed automatic is also available).

Two power sources

There aren’t diesel versions and the car’s 1.4 turbo petrol engine is mated to a mild hybrid battery electric system which features a 48v starter/generator. This acts as an electric motor that aids the engine so it works less hard. The system is entirely automatic and, unlike some hybrids, doesn’t have an electric only mode, but it helped the car return an average 40mpg - emissions were 133g/km, 0-62 10.2sec.

 (Suzuki)
(Suzuki)

Accelerating hard, the engine sounded a bit harsh, but was unobtrusive and refined for the most part. On poor surfaces the ride could be a little bouncy, but is actually more pliant than that of some rivals with hefty alloy wheels and low profile tyres. The steering is light and accurate if somewhat lifeless and the car rolls a bit in corners. Ultra versions get all-wheel-drive and the one that we drove gripped well.

 (Suzuki)
(Suzuki)

Equipment levels are generous. Standard kit includes keyless entry, dual zone air conditioning, smartphone pairing and Apple CarPlay. The list of safety kit is long and comprehensive. Ultra versions get a 360-degree camera and leather seats amongst other upgrades.

 (Suzuki)
(Suzuki)

The S-Cross is good at most things, well made, well equipped and a study in practical, unpretentious design. There’s an essential honesty about it that’s refreshing and likable.

Suzuki S-Cross Ultra

Price: from £24,995

0-62mph: 10.3sec

Top speed: 121mph

Combined mpg:48.4

CO2 emissions: 133g/km