Earlier this year Motor Blogger found himself in the Suzuki display at a major trade event. MB came away impressed and, as a consequence, managed to arrange to have the featured car for a whole week – a Suzuki SX4 S-Cross in top-of-the-range SZ5 trim.
Interested parties can get this car in one of four grades and trim levels with a choice of two engines: a Fiat derived 1.6L turbo-diesel or an in-house 1.6L petrol unit. Buyers can choose between two-wheel drive or – a must, I reckon – the AllGrip four-wheel option. Suzuki have this 4×4 business sorted I believe and it turns what could be seen as just another regular family crossover in the ever- growing pack of similar offerings into something much more versatile.
It’s no mud-plugger obviously, but for sure-footed peace of mind in our sometimes challenging winter driving conditions on our ‘craters of the moon’ roads, it is worth stumping up for the extra costs involved. There are four driver selected options available. The car will run normally as a two-wheel front driver in Auto, but this can be shifted on the fly into Sport mode which engages the rear wheels and slightly boosts engine performance (you can feel the extra 500rpm kick in). The AllGrip system diverts 20% more of the 320Nm of torque to rear wheels and when driving around the more difficult stretches of my test route at pace, I appreciated the extra power and grip.
When the going gets tougher or when the dreaded white stuff makes an unwelcome appearance then the beleaguered driver can switch to the Mud/Snow option which enhances traction and stability. Finally, the Lock mode distributes high torque to the rear wheels continually, ideal for extricating the car from deeper snow and the like. It’s a good system, it is easy to use and it works.
Our featured car was fitted with the diesel engine. Setting off, acceleration is a bit pedestrian as you’d expect and, if I’m honest, a tad grumbly in operation but once you get it rolling it’s fine and indeed feels very willing to crack on. When the car was delivered it had achieved 61.9mpg thanks obviously to some smooth driving in 2WD mode. That’s good. In my hands however no car is allowed any slackness or back-sliding – they have to work. The SX4 spent most of its time in the Sport option yet still managed to achieve a splendid 50mpg on average whilst still only coughing up a modest 114g/km of emissions.
It is really good to drive. Many people have to buy the cars they need rather than the cars they want so isn’t it great when a car that is functional and versatile can also be entertaining to drive. The ride quality impressed as did the lack of roll in corners.
All SX4 S-Cross SZ3 models are equipped as standard with seven airbags, ESP and Tyre Pressure Monitoring as well as Daytime Running Lights (DRL), 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, heated door mirrors, black protective skid plates and black wheel arch extensions. SZ4 adds 17-inch alloy wheels finished in dark grey, Dual Zone automatic air conditioning, front fog lamps, Bluetooth connectivity, rear privacy glass, silver roof rails and silver skid plates.
SZ-T (the one for business and fleet users with BIK of 18%) adds satellite navigation (a bit below par, it has to be said) with DAB radio, polished 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking camera and rear parking proximity sensors and chrome styling package. Equipment for the top of the range SZ5 model we are featuring includes front parking sensors, leather seat upholstery, double sliding panoramic sunroof and HID projector headlamps with AUTO function. There’s a range of eight exterior colours. The aforementioned sunroof (it opens) is a highlight, making the interior bright and airy but if you want to shut out the weather there’s an electrically operated blind.
The boot is big and very adaptable. Inside, I found the seats comfortable, with tons of legroom front and back, and the driving position adaptable. Sure, on the cheaper models there are some plastics but that must be expected; in any case the Suzuki appeared well screwed together.
This car costs between around £14,000 and (for our car) £22,720 and there are deals. For what you get that’s great value. There is a car from another brand that is considered the benchmark in this sector – the small SUV by which all others are judged. In my opinion, the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross SZ5, as tested, is the equal of the other (better looking too) and, crucially, cheaper by almost £3k at the range-topper. Well worth considering.
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