Smart addition to the SUV market

The Swift and the four-wheel drive Jimny are perhaps the best-known examples of the Japanese company’s skill in designing, and building, light and compact machines of some ability and reliability.

So, to the Suzuki S Cross, an SUV for the city and surrounds.

It’s maybe not the first choice for a long, long distance haul with a family but a commodious and comfortable vehicle for city, suburbs, weekend outings to the country and Sunday runs to the beach.

This is the second version of the S-Cross.

The first was a decent-enough machine but failed to find much traction in the Australian market.

This time around there’s a touch more oomph to the package to attract some extra custom, plus a swag more agro to a chromed grille, some extra equipment and a dearer price tag.

Without that toothy front, the latest S-Cross is mainly plain vanilla in style, certainly not as handsome as Suzuki’s Vitara wagon (albeit around the same body dimensions) and certainly quite modest for a vehicle tagged as a Sports Utility Vehicle. 

This conventional approach is aimed at the more conservative buyers, of all ages, who may not be taken with the Vitara’s more rugged looks.

And the S-Cross interior is also, pleasingly, straight up and down. All the gear is here but there are no unnecessary swoops and curves to dashboard or doors, no disco lighting.

There is however a fair amount of cabin space for this class of wagon.

To shift the five-door S-Cross these days there’s a 1.4 litre, turbocharged petrol motor pushing out 103kW and 220Nm of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels.

It has far more go than before and, with handy paddle shifters for the transmission, it’s easier to keep the package on the boil.

Suzuki reckons this engine and driveline should be good for 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres but that figure will blow out smartly if belting the S-Cross around the streets.

Now, this is not Swift Sport, or even a basic Swift. The S-Cross will handle good roads and bad with more aplomb than some conventional, and lower-riding, hatchbacks and such, yet it is not quite as sharp as SUV rivals like the Honda HR-V in the handling stakes.

It is, however, a safe and well-mannered machine at all times.

Suzuki’s S-Cross is also well-built and well-equipped with a comfortable and commodious cabin.

It is also, now with a price tag from around $22,990 and up, facing tough competition from any number of SUV rivals yet remains a sensible option for more traditional customers.