Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

s cross 01 lr

By Tim Saunders

First impressions matter. In business it is that care and attention to appearance, dress and general conduct that makes a lasting impression.

The same can be applied to vehicles and that’s where Suzuki scores highly. From that first moment of opening the door and sitting in the driver’s seat I feel at home in the SX4 S-Cross. Bear in mind that I drive a lot of cars and yet Suzukis always stands out because they are all comfortable.

I test the Suzuki during the worst weather for 100 years. At one point over 100,000 homes are without power and some unfortunate residents in Somerset have been without power since Christmas. Flooding is encountered on almost every route but my Japanese friend with its raised ride height is ideal in such situations. High winds and water logged roads ensure that it is nigh on impossible to exceed 60mph. Those gusting high winds do buffet the Suzuki but it feels confident enough. It is quite sluggish though especially on start up and so it is pleasing to find that it is equipped with a sport mode that really does liven things up. In fact it remains on this mode for most of the test because I find it gives it the oomph that I require. Interestingly it doesn’t affect fuel economy that much either with the vehicle still returning over 40mpg, which I’m quite impressed with considering it’s a 1.6-litre petrol. When the conditions become too slippery it is easy to turn the centre mounted dial to snow and mud mode, which is also extremely useful during the test. Some of the routes that I am most familiar with have been closed due to the floods and workmen try hard to remedy the situation. All this talk of climate change being the problem and Queen Victoria reported similar circumstances in her diary many years ago. Whatever the reason, you’re grateful to be driving the SX4 S-Cross. The raised ride height, the permanent 4WD and the powerful windscreen wipers and washers make driving in these challenging conditions enjoyable rather than a chore.

My two girls in the back quickly fall asleep and my wife Caroline finds her heated front seat comfortable. “I like the lemon fragrance to the windscreen wash,” she says, adding that sometimes it can be very overpowering requiring the windows to be wound down.

The large glass panoramic roof makes the cabin feel light and airy and on just one of the days of the test the sun actually appears bringing the glass roof really into its own. I like the fact that the front part also has a tilting sunroof function. For me the driver’s seat could offer a little more lumbar support but the black leather seats are hardwearing and easy to clean, which is ideal when my two daughters are involved.

Externally it’s a good looking vehicle with quite a striking front thanks to its bumper as you can see in the video at The black alloys are a neat touch, too. I like the power folding wing mirrors, which are always a welcome addition especially when parking on busy roadsides.

We travel in the S-Cross to the funeral of Alison Fleuret, a dear friend, who died suddenly, leaving behind her husband and two young children. It is an absolutely devastating time but the satellite navigation makes the ordeal of going to this new destination easier and I must say that this sat nav system is the easiest one I have come across. It’s simply a matter of tapping in the postcode and pressing ‘Go’ and a female voice talks you through the route. My only complaint is that the touch screen is far too sensitive for my thick fingers! The other problem is that the system doesn’t allow you to operate it while driving. It would be handy if there was a function to allow a passenger to operate it while the vehicle is being driven. On our return home we do notice that the steamed up windows take a long time to demist and that is with the blowers on full.

If I was to buy one I would probably opt for a more conservative colour such as blue rather than the lime green of the test model.

New price: £14,999 to £23,549

Facts at a glance:

0-60mph: 12secs

Top speed: 108mph

Economy: 40mpg

Road tax: £125 a year


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