The small and perfectly formed Suzuki SZ4 S Cross has been significantly improved for 2017, says Robin Roberts
Eight models with three engine choices including a diesel, two and four wheel drive as well as manual and automatic transmission are available across three trim levels.
Originally introduced to the UK in 2013 it has now been given a new front end and brighter headlights, LED backlights and a higher stance and ground clearance on the road together with a soft-touch interior and seat covers.
Significantly, it has also been fitted with the Boosterjet engines used in Vitara and Baleno and the SZ-T 1.0 litre we tested this time is aimed at the fleet driver looking for lower emissions and BIK tax.
It’s an impressive power unit, pushing out as much as the previous 1.6 litre unit, but with much lower emissions and higher economy.
The 1.0 Boosterjet is impressively quiet and smooth while it delivers a reasonable punch up to mid-range, but then the power tails off and you find youself stirring it along through the five-speed manual box.
At times I wished it had an extra ratio to reduce the noise at the higher end of its range but it still returned a good fuel economy over 40mpg on successive journeys.
The light clutch and direct gearchange made urban use very easy and longer trips were unchallenging, helped by good responsive steering and powerful yet light acting footbrake. The handbrake was set for left hand drive and we found it struggled to hold the car on a steep slope we use for this test.
Secondary controls were convenient and effective, the instruments large and clear but the sat nav and infotainment display looked too compact set into the large fascia.
Heating and ventilation was effective and operated through straightforward buttons and rotary controls, filling the cabin and maintaining temperature very easily.
Oddments room was good infront, much less in the back, and the twin floor compartments were effortless to load and increase capacity with the offset split back seats folding down from a single release each side. Maximum capacity is not huge.
The Suzuki S-Cross is easy to access and holds five with a plenty of room, a good adjustment range on the front seats and well shaped backrests and cushions providing support and location.
Visibility is good for a modern SUV and helped by a reversing camera and parking sensors, with bright headlights and good wipers/ wash systems both ends.
The engine sounded fussy only in its upper rev range but the road rumbles and suspension bump-thump were ever present, and probably more noticeable because of the low engine, wind and other mechanical noises.
Although only front wheel drive, the Suzuki cross-over had a reassuring feel on winding roads, it responded well to steering and brakes and never displayed any worrying vices.
Comfort was good over any surface and body roll or pitching was minimal, which is what you want in a family car used for occasional long journeys. The Suzuki SZ series may not be in the forefront of your mind when considering a cross-over but the new business friendly version does add more choice to decision making and its specification and running costs are very attractive.
It does nothing badly but a lot very well and there is a lot to like about it.
See also our impressions of the Suzuki S-Cross 1.4 version.
|Suzuki S-Cross 1.0 SZT||Price: £19,499, plus £430 optional metallic paint|
|Insurance group: 16||Mechanical: 3cyl 111ps 988cc turbo-petrol engine, 5sp|
|Max speed: 112mph||O-62mph: 11 sec|
|Fuel consumption: 42mpg||Emissions: 113gkm|
|BIK: Ved band C, 19%||Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles|
|Kerb weight: 1160 kg||Sizes: L 4.3m, W 1.79m, H 1.59m, Boot: 430 to 875 litres|
|For: Comfort, room, economy, handling|
|Against: Performance, road noise, boot-space|