Suzuki S-Cross test drive: exactly what customers need?

In the past, I have already talked about the arrival of the Suzuki S-Cross in Ukraine, but now we have a chance to get acquainted with the new car in more detail and in reality. An interesting thought: perhaps the word “reality” best describes the Suzuki S-Cross crossover. Why is that? I’ll tell you now.

Design: have we met before?

This is the first question that arises when you look at the Suzuki S-Cross. After all, the new Suzuki S-Cross crossover is so much like the second-generation Suzuki SX4! The overall dimensions and general proportions of the body are similar: a distinguished hood, an elongated “nose”, an inflated “balloon” of the cabin, large windows and glazing area. It seems that the change in headlights and lights could be attributed to another “restyle” or “facelift” and that’s all.

But in fact, there are many more changes in the design of the Suzuki S-Cross. For example, the shape of the additional side window behind the rear door has changed, and the plastic covers on the wheel arches are noticeably different. And the new bumpers and radiator grille are generally items from the “must-have” category, whether for updating an existing model or launching a completely new one.

The Suzuki SCross crossover is new and yet so familiar: visually, it is very similar to the previous Suzuki SX4 (red car at the end of the photo gallery). By the way, the latter could also be called the Suzuki SX4 SCross, depending on the market. The overall proportions of the body are similar, with similar overall dimensions: length – 4.3 meters; width – 1.785 meters; height – 1.58 meters; wheelbase – 2.6 meters. Among the most noticeable changes are the headlights and lights, a new grille, bumpers and wheel arch covers. On the street, even with a quick glance, the new Suzuki SCross and the previous Suzuki SX4 will not be confused.

But in the cabin, it depends on where the person is sitting. If it is the driver or the front passenger, the eye immediately stops on the central 9-inch HD display. It was this display that made us lower the ventilation deflectors, change the location of some buttons, and thus form a new central part of the front panel. However, below is the familiar climate control unit and seat heating switches, behind them is the traditional automatic transmission lever, and the hands hold the familiar steering wheel with a familiar set of buttons.

Rear passengers will not notice the difference between the new Suzuki S-Cross and the previous Suzuki SX4: there is enough space (although not too much), the seat backrest can be adjusted (but in a small range), there is an armrest with cup holders (but no ventilation deflectors). However, in general, it’s possible to drive. You can also take a lot of suitcases and things with you: a rather roomy 430-liter trunk, a large lid and access hole, a couple of side niches, and a comfortable two-level floor.

Just like the exterior, the interior of the Suzuki SCross is both new and familiar. The new features include a central display and ventilation deflectors, as well as a dashboard with a color monitor. Everything else is familiar: the steering wheel, seats, climate control unit, rear space, and trunk format.

Technology: always a turbo engine, but there is a choice of transmissions

The new Suzuki S-Cross is based on the familiar technology in Suzuki’s arsenal: a load-bearing body, independent suspension in the front and semi-dependent suspension in the rear. Under the hood is a gasoline 4-cylinder 1.4-liter BoosterJet K14C turbo engine, which develops 140 hp (5500 rpm) of power and 220 Nm (1500-4000 rpm) of torque.

Potentially, there are other powertrains for the Suzuki S-Cross somewhere in the world, but in Ukraine the car is offered with only one engine. But there can be several transmissions. First, there are different gearboxes: either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. Secondly, there is a different type of drive: either front-wheel drive or ALL GRIP all-wheel drive. Moreover, in the latter case, a system of switching driving modes is also added, which affects the settings of the car and allows you to lock the central clutch of the all-wheel drive.

Under the hood of the Suzuki SCross in Ukraine is always a gasoline 1.6-liter turbo engine of a rather traditional design. All-wheel drive is realized with a semi-dependent rear suspension: a simple “beam” has a bend for the driveshaft that goes to the rear wheel gearbox. It is possible to select driving modes and lock the center clutch (LOCKposition). Taking into account the ground clearance of 180 mm and the overall lightness of the car (1250-1290 kg, depending on the configuration), this is a pretty good arsenal for off-road use; you just want to reduce the front overhang. All-wheel drive versions on the Ukrainian market are always equipped with a 6-speed hydromechanical automatic of the classical design.

Behind the wheel: a great turbo engine and a conventional chassis

It is the gasoline turbo engine and its partner in the form of an automatic that I would like to immediately note in the character of the Suzuki S-Cross. It has a great lively start from a standstill, good acceleration on the move, and imperceptible gear changes. It seems that the Suzuki S-Cross crossover has completely forgotten about any modern eco-pauses, but it definitely remembers the “old-school” turbo thrust in an extremely wide range. Mark the beginning of maximum torque (1500 rpm), and then continue right up to the peak of maximum power (5500 rpm) – in this wide range, the turbo engine pulls always and everywhere, even if in absolute terms this traction is not very much. A great turbo engine!

But an ordinary chassis. I don’t say “bad”, I say “ordinary”. The car works out bumps with average comfort, tries not to shake or jostle passengers in the cabin; at the same time, there is no total softness of the suspension. There is little effort on the steering wheel and it is rather neutral, it does not provide much information about the turn. It’s just an ordinary steering wheel with medium sharpness (about three turns from stop to stop), so don’t look for sporty features in the handling.

But in general, it turns out that the Suzuki S-Cross seems to be trying to make everyday life easier: it just drives and overcomes bumps, accelerates normally when necessary, and tries not to burden the driver with a heavy steering wheel or too sharp steering. This is a car that will take you from point A to point B with little mental energy, and it will do so even on bad roads or light off-road conditions.

The 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine provides good acceleration from a standstill and on the move, and the classic 6-speed automatic provides soft and imperceptible shifts. The rest – suspension comfort, steering feel and handling, body roll – are all at a good average level: not higher, but definitely not lower. My observations: acceleration to “hundred” takes less than 10 seconds; in the city, the car consumes 8-8.5 liters of fuel per 100 km, plus or minus 1 liter, depending on traffic and driving style; on the highway, fuel consumption is about 5.5 liters. This roughly corresponds to the “passport”: acceleration from 0-100 km/h – 10.2 seconds, top speed – 200 km/h, fuel consumption in the city cycle – 7.9 liters; fuel consumption in the country cycle – 5.2 liters.

Price: how much does the Suzuki S-Cross cost and who are the competitors

So, what we have: always a 140-horsepower 1.4-liter turbo engine, you can choose a transmission (“manual” or “automatic”) and a type of drive (front or all-wheel drive), and two fixed configurations are also offered. In total, there are five variants of the car.

The Suzuki S-Cross starts with the GL trim, which offers the following: ABS and ESP systems, seven airbags, a rearview camera, air conditioning, cruise control, power windows, heated front seats, LED headlights, a 7-inch central display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, and more. The price of the car Suzuki S-Cross 2WD 6MT GL – is UAH 829-843 thousand (about $22 thousand), depending on the year of production. The price of the Suzuki S-Cross 2WD 6AT GL is 889-904 thousand UAH (about $23.5 thousand) depending on the year of production. The price of the Suzuki S-Cross 4WD 6AT GL is 916-955 thousand UAH ($24-25 thousand) depending on the year of production.

One step up is the GLX trim, which adds the following: 360-degree all-around view, a new 9-inch HD display, dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and push-button start, roof rails, tinted windows, combined trim (fabric + eco-leather), front and rear parking sensors, and more. The price of the Suzuki S-Cross 2WD 6AT GL X starts from UAH 991 thousand or UAH 1.027 million (about $26-27 thousand) depending on the year of production. The price of the Suzuki S-Cross 4WD 6AT GLX is UAH 1.06-1.1 million ($28-29 thousand), depending on the year of manufacture.

Even the starting GL trim already has a rearview camera, heated seats, and LED headlights; however, only the maximum GLX trim can get alloy wheels or climate control, as well as the main feature of the new Suzuki S-Cross model – the 360-degree surround view system with four cameras.

However, even in the maximum configuration, it is impossible to get adaptive cruise control, lane control, automatic braking, a panoramic roof – all of which are already available in the Suzuki Vitara. That’s why the more compact, but technologically advanced and “youthful” Suzuki Vitara crossover can be the first competitor for the Suzuki S-Cross; who else is in the running?

Speaking of cars with front-wheel drive, I would mention not only compact B-SUV crossovers (for example, Peugeot 2008 or Nissan Juke), but also C-class passenger cars (for example, Opel Astra). In this case, the Suzuki S-Cross loses in terms of “interesting” exterior and interior, in the list of modern equipment, and in the offer of economical diesel or hybrid engines. However, it definitely wins in practicality – more space inside and a more powerful engine; compared to C-Class models, it also has increased ground clearance.

Now let’s look at the group of C-SUV crossovers: for example, Mazda CX-30, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Opel Grandland, Volkswagen T-Roc. The interior space of such cars is comparable to or larger than the Suzuki S-Cross, and some of the finishes and equipment are also different. You can find more powerful engines, you can find versions with all-wheel drive. However, the price decides everything: the Suzuki S-Cross crossover will be noticeably cheaper – if you like, this is also a manifestation of practicality.

Finally, I’ll name a couple of other rival cars: the Opel Crossland and the Renault Duster. In both cases, these are not young models, but they are quite practical and spacious inside. The Opel crossover offers a little more design and equipment, while the Renault car relies on diesel and all-wheel drive options. Personally, I consider these two crossovers to be the closest and most dangerous competitors for the Suzuki S-Cross from the point of view of a customer-buyer: a very moderate and prudent one who chooses the practicality of the car over the brightness of the design or interior. And this brings us to the general conclusions.

Suzuki S-Cross test drive results

The outcome of this test drive should be an answer to the question that started the article: is the new Suzuki S-Cross exactly what customers need? But the answer to this question should be found in another question – who exactly are these customers?

It seems that potential buyers of the Suzuki S-Cross are similar in type to the buyers of the previous Suzuki SX4: they choose practicality, a clear engine and an automatic transmission, and are ready to exchange newfangled systems for the existence of an all-wheel drive version. The new Suzuki S-Cross crossover is designed to fill the existing niche of “traditionalists”.

If you look at the streets of Ukrainian cities and sales statistics, you will see that there are many such customers. We can argue for a long time about the design or the level of technology and equipment, but the truth is that for many Ukrainians, the Suzuki S-Cross crossover hit the target of their automotive wishes and preferences. And for these customers, the answer is clear: the new Suzuki S-Cross is exactly what they need.

Автомобіль надано – АВТО Інтернешнл

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