It doesn’t seem that long since I last drove the Suzuki S-Cross but in the time since then the compact SUV has had a bit of a facelift.
There have been changes inside, outside and under the bonnet and the new styling is a big improvement on the old look. The big chrome grille and more angular lights give the S-Cross a more purposeful, grown-up look.
The biggest news for this particular model, however, is the new engine.
The turbocharged 1.4 Boosterjet petrol is a fantastic lively and capable unit. Around town it’s quick and responsive, displaying virtually no lag, but is equally comfortable on faster roads, easily keeping pace with traffic. Even fully loaded it doesn’t seem to struggle despite a fairly average 140bhp output. What’s more its power delivery is smooth and linear. And there’s very little noise unless you’re unfairly heavy on the throttle.
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross SZ5
Engine: 1.4 -litre, four-cylinder, turbo, petrol
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive
Top speed: 124mph
0-62mph: 10.2 seconds
CO2 emissions: 127g/km
Suzuki is proud of the Boosterjet’s green performance too. Official figures put its economy at 49.5mpg. Nobody ever gets close to these in the real world but I was consistently getting low-40s. Not too bad for a high-riding petrol-powered four-wheel-drive SUV.
Our test car was fitted with a six-speed automatic gearbox. It was quick and slick but didn’t feel as smooth as when I tested it with the diesel engine in the pre-facelift model. It may be that the less torquey petrol is asking it to work harder to keep things on the boil.
The interior has also be given a going over. Instantly noticeable is a new media system that looks properly integrated rather than the aftermarket feel of the old one. The combined media/nav/phone setup takes a little time to get familiar with but is quick to operate and nice and clear.
Apart from that, the interior of our SX-5 model was packed with creature comforts. There’s heated leather seats, keyless entry and start, a much-improved reversing camera, auto-dipping lights, auto wipers and dual-zone air con. Most impressive in this segment is the presence of adaptive cruise control.
To get this level of equipment for the £24,629 list price there has to be a trade-off and that comes in the material quality. It’s better than the older model but still not on par with many rivals.
For all the changes inside and out, the S-Cross’ basic architecture hasn’t changed. That means it still feels fairly small inside. Space front and rear is adequate and no more, although the boot’s a good 430 litres. With anyone above average height behind the wheel rear passengers will start to suffer. We did manage to travel five-up on a trip into Edinburgh, so it’s not terrible, but nobody was particularly comfortable.
On the road the S-Cross is more about comfort than sporty handling. The ride is soft and there’s a bit of lean in fast corners. The good news is that this makes for a more pliant and calmer ride over poor surfaces. Overly light steering makes city driving a doddle but lacks feel at higher speeds.
The changes to the S-Cross are undoubtedly an improvement. It looks better, the interior has moved on and the new engine is a peach. The SZ5 model is well equipped, too, and if you don’t need all the bells and whistles it starts at a reasonable £14,995.