Suzuki is playing the value for money card with its new S-Cross SUV. The five seat gets a makeover to help keep it competitive in a car class that includes the Nissan Qashqai, Hyundai Tucson, KIA Sportage and Peugeot 3008. We’ve been testing the S-Cross to see what it offers that could possibly lure buyers away from these established and literally bigger cars.
Suzuki hasn’t changed any exterior dimensions in the second generation S-Cross so it remains circa 100mm+ shorter than its class rivals, yet has managed to make the exterior more SUV-like with blockier styling. Built on the same Suzuki platform that underpins the smaller Suzuki Viatara, the 4,300mm long car is far from a go anywhere SWAT vehicle but it does have a renewed presence. The original was a little bland on the outside with a nondescript exterior that was hard to pigeon hole. I blame its front end styling in the main as it featured a grille that only a mother could love. Strangely the 2016 S-Cross was like the latest crop of cars coming on stream today – a kind of crossover blend of car and SUV. Okay I’m being too nice, the first car simply lacked presence but the latest version looks a while lot sharper thanks to a restyled front end and other revisions like its squared off wheel arches and revised LED lighting.
Inside, essentially there is more space and more standard equipment that includes smart phone integration. There build is good but the extensive use of black and some less than high quality materials combine to deliver an average interior that is not quite at the premium level you get in a Peugeot 3008. Speaking of Peugeot, its 2008 from the class below is the same length as the S-Cross. The new dash layout is good and the controls are well placed and easy to use. The low-spec entry model is dispensed with (and there goes an eye catching advertising price point). There is a two grade line-up. The new starting point is the relatively well equipped ‘Motion’ model. Standard safety equipment is always a good indicator and the basic S-Cross shames nearly all its rivals. Standard safety features include: AEB, Lane Departure Prevention, Blind Spot Monitor, Adaptive Cruise Control and Traffic Sign Recognition. The range topper is the ‘Ultra’ model that gets all the toys bar the kitchen sink (leather seats, big sunroof etc.). When you consider the car’s small footprint the boot holds an impressive 430 litres.
There is a single engine used in the range, an electrified 1.4 litre Boosterjet’ (turbocharged) petrol four-cylinder unit. Mild hybrid (MHEV) features and this means there can still be a manual version as well as an automatic in the lineup. Emissions for the petrol engine are quite low at 120g/km CO2 and average fuel consumption is a best in class 5.3L/100km. The power output to the front wheels is 129hp and 235nm of torque. The engine feels eager, quite lively and can do the 0-100km/h sprint in 9.5 seconds – which is pretty quick for the class. The S-Cross is relatively light in its class and this helps explain its impressive figures. The ‘Motion’ models come with a manual or automatic gearbox while the range topping ‘Ultra’ model gets AllGrip all wheel drive paired to a manual gearbox.
S-Cross pricing starts from €29,365 (+€2,030 for auto). To put that price in context Ireland’s best selling Hyundai Tucson starts from €35,595. A full hybrid (HEV) will join the S-Cross range at the end of the year. Between its low price point, standard safety features, low emissions and potential fuel savings the new S-Cross stacks up very well against rivals. Where it can’t match the best in class is in the cabin, where its interior fails to rival the best in a very competitive class. That said Suzuki builds very good cars that are attractively priced.
The Japanese brand has a very loyal following built on a reputation for reliability. The new Magyar (Hungary) built S-Cross is excellent value for money.