Although it may have taken off in a somewhat different direction, the new S-Cross’s styling isn’t drastically different from that of the old model, although the 2016 facelift has given the S-Cross a more intimidating and muscular appearance. The front end is certainly reminiscent of the original compact’s kindly frown, and there’s a familiar high-shouldered profile to be found behind it.

But clearly Suzuki has used the S-Cross’s greater bulk to good advantage, creasing the lines that run along the flanks and broadening the two-part rear clusters to imply even greater size.

Matt Burt

Matt Burt

Executive Editor, Autocar
Without the 4x4 system, the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is a relatively conventional bit of kit

Kerbside presence is crucial to a crossover’s appeal, and while this is not a design to trouble the likes of the Kia Sportage or Hyundai Tucson, it manages to faintly appeal while you’re in its company and stick in the memory banks long enough for you to log it as a satisfactory choice.

Under the unfussy body, the S-Cross is a typically conventional piece of kit. The suspension comes courtesy of MacPherson struts to the front and a torsion bar at the rear, and there’s an additional 100mm of length on the 2600mm wheelbase (whose measurement is fairly representative of the breed). There is also four-wheel drive available should you want it.

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The engine choice is also pretty straightforward: there are two petrols and one diesel. The petrol units are both small displacement turbocharged units, with a 1.0-litre Boosterjet unit capable of 109bhp and 125lb ft of peak twist, while the 1.4-litre unit, is the same as found in the Vitara S, producing 138bhp and 162lb ft of torque, while the diesel offering is propped up by a sole 118bhp 1.6-litre oilburner.

As for gearboxes, the 1.0-litre unit is driven by  a five-speed manual gearbox, while the 1.4 Boosterjet and diesel are linked to a six-speed 'box, while there is a newly updated CVT automatic transmission on offer which is only available with a petrol engine.

The oil-burner is a Fiat-sourced unit and comes exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox. A variable-geometry turbocharger helps it supply the S-Cross with a healthy, if unremarkable, 236lb ft of torque, available from 1750rpm. Suzuki has seen fit to counter the diesel’s Italian chatter with a sound-deadening engine cover, insulated windscreen and a cowl top panel brace.

The company's history with four-wheel drive stretches back to the original Jimny, a model designed to fit off-road capabilities into Japan’s famous Kei car sector. The emphasis, therefore, has always been on a lightweight solution to driving all four wheels, and the S-Cross’s latest Allgrip solution is no exception.

Allgrip is a new development for Suzuki, also found on the Vitara, and is lighter than the permanent set-up on the Grand Vitara. It is an on-demand system that uses an electronically controlled magnetic dry clutch with ball bearings in a run to manage torque distribution to the rear axle, and it's offered on both petrol and diesel versions.

When a signal is sent to the magnetic clutch, the balls move, forcing the clutch plates together. The action varies depending on conditions and the mode the system is set to. In the default Auto mode, it remains in fuel-sipping front-wheel drive unless significant slip is detected between the front and rear wheels.

Suzuki claims Sport mode automatically diverts 20 percent more torque to the rear in response to sharper throttle inputs. Snow mode is actually intended for all unpaved surfaces, and, along with a recoded ESP, it defaults to 4WD, while Lock mode is intended to replicate a locking diff by sending an equal amount of torque to each wheel.

The running-cost penalty of adding Allgrip is ranges from 5-8g/km of CO2 and 3-4mpg on the combined cycle.

 

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