Suzuki SX4 S-Cross review

A redesigned body and wealth of standard equipment make the new SX4 S-Cross a solid budget SUV.

Pros: all-wheel-drive option, supple ride, lots of standard kit

Cons: cramped rear seats, plasticky cabin, mediocre performance

The new Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is designed to rival five-seat family SUVs such as the Skoda Karoq and Renault Captur. It’s a budget model competing with some very established and competent rivals, but it holds its own considering the price point.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Design

Aside from the name, the new S-Cross shares almost nothing with its predecessor. Now bigger and more grown-up, the family SUV has been restyled to look more modern and more upmarket. To that end there’s some chrome trim and a glossy black grille designed to emphasise the S-Cross’s newfound height above the road.

Other touches include a new full-width rear light cluster, roof rails and an integrated spoiler, not to mention the black trim around the bumpers, wheel arches and side skirts, giving the car some off-road intent. Silver skid plates under the bumpers round off the effect.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Interior

The S-Cross has a new cabin that looks much less drab than that of its predecessor. Chief among the improvements is a new touchscreen infotainment system that looks and feels more modern than the old Suzuki screens. It isn’t perfect and it still feels old compared with the systems in best-selling SUVs such as the Hyundai Tucson, but it’s easy to use and it offers more functionality than before.

Build quality is something of a mixed bag, with some very hard and unforgiving materials meeting some quite impressive engineering. The glove box lid, for example, feels quite cheap, but it’s soundly manufactured and you know it’s robust enough to cope with years of use and abuse. The same goes for some of the switchgear, which doesn’t feel great at your fingertips, but definitely feels substantial and durable.

Space is also a trade-off in the S-Cross, because there’s bags of room in the front for the driver and passenger to get comfortable. But those in the rear will find the space more cramped, with tight headroom and an average amount of legroom – particularly for taller passengers. And the 430-litre boot is okay, but it feels a bit small compared with some of the more impressive spaces available in competitor products.

But customers won’t have to compromise in terms of equipment, with plenty of standard features on offer. Navigation, a reversing camera and two-zone climate control are all thrown in on base-spec cars, along with heated front seats and ‘keyless’ push-button ignition.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Performance & Drive

At launch, the only engine available to S-Cross customers will be the 1.4-litre BoosterJet petrol unit with 129hp and mild-hybrid technology. That essentially means the ability to store energy normally lost under braking to lighten the engine’s load, giving it a boost when it’s under stress or helping the stop-start system cut in earlier – all of which helps to save fuel. There’s a choice of six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes, as well as an optional four-wheel-drive system.

We tested an all-wheel-drive manual car, with enough performance to get from 0-100km/h in a leisurely 10.2 seconds. That’s sufficient, but it isn’t going to make any headlines. More impressive is the 5.9 litres/100km fuel consumption and the 133g/km CO2 emissions, which should help to keep the bills down.

Although the S-Cross’s performance figures may be uninspiring, it is quite a pleasant car to drive. The steering is very light, which comes in handy when manoeuvring and off-roading, but inspires little confidence on the open road. Nevertheless, the S-Cross grips well and is surprisingly agile, despite the substantial body lean in corners. And it’s comfortable, soaking up most of the bumps in the road and rounding off the majority of larger imperfections that are bound make their way into the cabin.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Pricing

Suzuki has not yet confirmed prices for the new-look S-Cross, but it is expected to cost slightly more than the smaller Vitara, which comes in at just under €24,000. At launch, customers will have a choice of Motion and Ultra trim levels, with just one engine – the 1.4-litre mild-hybrid – on offer. However, ‘full’ hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions are set to go on sale next year.

Carzone Verdict: 3/5

The S-Cross is not an exciting car, and nor is it as spacious or as polished as its more established rivals. However, it’s solidly built, it drives surprisingly well and it comes with plenty of standard equipment, while all-wheel drive is available across the range. That’s enough to keep pace with the best budget SUVs on the market.

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