Closer to the Top
Nissan has a lot to answer for. When they launched the Qashqai in 2006, little did they know how successful their Qashqai would be, nor how many other car manufacturers would launch similar vehicles in it’s wake. As the old saying goes, ” If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it ” clearly a mantra that Suzukis designers stuck to when they launched the Suzuki S-Cross in 2013. Despite being a mid-range SUV, the first incarnation of the S-Cross didn’t look particularly SUV-like, so in late 2016, Suzuki gave it’s largest model a mid-life facelift.
In the flesh, the latest S-Cross is actually prettier than the original. The facelifted model gets a bolder front end with a big chrome grille, a raised clamshell bonnet & a more upright nose. Whilst the grille makes it look somewhat like a small JEEP, it is most definitely a modern & attractive car to the eye. The rest of the body work follows the atypical SUV lines with plastic body cladding & chrome along each flank.
Suzuki sent me the DDiS SZ-T model in mineral grey metallic, this diesel being the most likely fleet purchase. All versions are well equipped & come with alloy wheels, as well as body-coloured bumpers & door mirrors, cruise control, Bluetooth, keyless entry & start & rear privacy glass. The SZ-T adds SatNav a rear parking camera, front & rear parking sensors & LED projector headlights with LED daytime running lights. With an easy to use touchscreen infotainment system & steering wheel mounted audio controls, the S-Cross is very driver friendly & with my i-Phone connected I was able to make hands-free calls & listen to music in my i-Tunes library. The SatNav system fitted to the S-Cross was a really good one as well, superior to many in far more expensive cars & a credit to Suzuki.
The cabin is nicely styled if familiar. The standard black plastics on the dashboard are of good quality & are lifted by the silver trimmed air-vents & blue rings around the dials. Both front seat passengers enjoy good leg & head room & I found the seat & steering column adjusted nicely to suit my favoured driving position. As I mentioned earlier, the S-Cross is shorter & narrower than the Qashqai & the Kia Sportage too. Whilst this makes for sharper handling it does reduce the rear passenger space, making it harder to fit 3 adults in the back comfortably. The boot though is impressive, offering 430 litres of space, some useful shopping hooks, a 12v connection & a clever false floor that lifts to reveal extra storage. I’m reliably informed that you can order a full sized spare which will fit in here as well.
Safety features are to the fore, ABS with EBD & Brake Assist, ESP, Hill hold control, driver & front seat passenger airbags, side airbags, curtain airbags & there’s even a driver knee airbag.
Having run a Qashqai as a company car for two years, albeit an underpowered petrol version, the 1.6 DDiS diesel engine fitted to my test car was surprisingly engaging. Out & about the S-Cross handles well on B roads with it’s shorter dimensions increasing the fun factor. There’s some typical small SUV roll but it’s far more enjoyable to drive than it’s rivals, with the 6 speed gear box working nicely. The suspension soaked up my local pot holes better than most. Take it onto the motorway & it performs nicely. I selected cruise control & enjoyed a couple of hundred miles of quiet, comfortable driving. Suzuki have raised the ride height by 15mm on the new model & this plus the revised suspension settings have improved stability & comfort & the new version is noticeably less bumpy as a result.
The 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel isn’t just good to drive, but offers it’s driver some great fuel economy, 68.8 mpg on the combined with emissions of just 106g/CO2 km. In the real world of CCV, we managed to average just under 50 mpg. This was much better than some of the similar but larger SUV’s we have driven, namely the Qashqai, CRV, CX5, RAV4, Sportage & new Tiguan which were closer as a whole to 35-40 mpg on the combined cycle. Another great thing about the S-Cross is that it’s attractively priced as well, with my SZ-T costing £20,999.
With the appointment of a new Corporate Sales Manger Graeme Jenkins, Suzukis Milton Keynes HQ now geared up to do more fleet business, there are some incredibly good contract hire deals currently available on the S-Cross. The Suzuki dealer network contains mainly smaller privately owned sites, rather than being populated by large PLC’s, therefore customers are more likely to be looked after as well.
All in all, things look bright for Suzuki & if you include the hugely enjoyable Vitara & super-mini Ignis, they really are going in the right direction withe their latest models. If you must have a small SUV as your next company car, then you could do no worse than take a ride in the S-Cross, which is both cheaper to buy & is more fuel efficient than most of it’s competition. The revision does make the S-Cross more visible, but it’s still not common, which the Qashqai most certainly is.
A real value for money contender 3.25/5