11th January 2021
The Suzuki S-Cross is not a huge noise in the company car sector, but the updated model with mild hybrid tech could appeal to some. The reason is Suzuki claims 20 percent improvements in economy and emissions for this model that now has an updated version of the 1.4-litre Boosterjet petrol engine and 48-volt hybrid ability from its Integrated Starter Generator (ISG). So, the car that arrived today has more low-down shove and can even move on electric-only power at low speeds.
Unlike many hybrids, the Suzuki S-Cross has a six-speed manual gearbox rather than an auto. It certainly helps make the S-Cross that bit more engaging to drive, though it’s some way short of the fun on offer in a Ford Puma. Still, use the gears appropriately and Suzuki reckons 45.7mpg combined consumption is possible. I didn’t quite manage that, but I’m also not going to quibble about the average being just 1mpg shy of the official figure.
A day of mixed driving and it shows up the hybrid powertrain’s approach. Starting the S-Cross from cold elicits nothing unusual and it pulls away smoothly. Once warmed through, stop-start traffic is also dealt with efficiently, with the ISG system turning over the engine at revs up to 1000rpm rather than petrol power. It means clean, quick getaways every time without delay while the engine fires up as it does in most stop-start systems.
Another day of local driving and the ISG system also makes itself known as I lift off the throttle. Where you would normally expect some engine braking as you coast towards a junction, the Suzuki brings more retardation as the hybrid system recovers the energy to the small lithium-ion battery pack. It’s not intrusive and I quickly incorporate it into my driving regime to use the brakes a little less. It’s just a shame the ride is not as smoothly impressive.
As a crossover, the S-Cross does a solid job of doing everything it should, but there’s a lingering sensation that is all the S-Cross is up to. There’s enough room for the kids in the back, a decent boot and comfortable driving position. However, there’s not much in the way of delight like you get in the Ford Puma or Seat Arona. For the money, at just short of £21,000 list, the SZT model of S-Cross does come with plenty of standard kit for the cash.
We’ve had snow! Rather than test out the Suzuki’s all-weather ability on roads that have not been gritted as yet or tempt fate on tyres that are not particularly knobbly, it’s time for some sledging with the kids. This means dusting off the faithful Golf GTI sledge from the shed and heading to the nearest hill. The kids had a great time and I also enjoyed my blast down the slope. Big kid, me?...
With the snow receding, the S-Cross has no trouble heading to the supermarket for an essential shop. It does this with no fuss or drama, which is very much the way of this model. For some, that will be a boon, but when Suzuki has the Vitara in its line-up with the same hybrid powertrain, this is where I’d be looking to place my order rather than the dutiful but dowdy S-Cross.