As forecast in the last issue, our S-Cross this month made it across the channel to sample the delights of a country in which diesel fuel is considerably less expensive than petrol and as ever is also a smile-inducing fraction of the UK price.
The current rate for French diesel is around £1.08 per litre. The joys of motoring across the water do not of course end with the fuel price. To our eyes, French roads are spectacularly free of traffic, so the S-Cross could motor around at a steady speed with little need for brakes and gear changing. All good news for the fuel consumption.
I mentioned boot capacity in the last issue; impressive as it is for a mid-sized car. We put it to the test with a variety of produce that I expected to overflow into the cabin, and yet again the boot swallowed the whole lot easily. More remarkably perhaps, the car felt perfectly stable, with brakes, engine and suspension feeling only slightly more taxed than usual. A longish drive in the S-Cross gave us the time to examine the car’s equipment more closely. Our car is the top spec model, the SZ5, so you’d expect a generous level of standard equipment, and it’s there. However, the list of standard items fitted to the base SZ3 version is unbelievably long for a car that even in diesel form comes in at under £17k. Electronic stability programme, plus front, side, curtain and driver’s knee airbags are all there, but more surprisingly so is cruise control with speed limiter, hill hold assist, electric windows all round, trip computer, two 12-volt accessory sockets, driver and passenger seat height adjusters, plus loads more that you don’t always get even on range-toppers from other manufacturers.
Cruise control is one of those extras that we’ve traditionally scoffed at as being American and not worth the effort on our crowded roads. However, it’s getting more and more useful in the increasing number of roadworks which are blessed with dozens of average speed cameras, but apparently don’t suffer much work being done. The current stretch of M25 from the A1 clockwise round to the M11 is a case in point. Without cruise control, it’s all too easy to let the speed drift over the 50mph limit; seventeen miles at that figure takes a long time – too long to continually keep watching the speedo.
Whilst checking the S-Cross credentials for all of the above, I noticed one less impressive characteristic – colour choice. Six metallic finishes are offered, but each comes with a price tag of £430. The only standard finishes that won’t dent a buyer’s pocket are Bright Red and Superior White. One or two more to choose from would be a nice touch.
|Whats Hot:||Really impressive level of standard equipment on even the base model of the range. Hill Hold assist and Cruise Control very unusual at this price point.|
|Whats Not:||Red and white are the only no-cost colours. Choose one of the six metallic finishes, such as our Boost Blue, and you’re stung for £430 extra.|
|Date arrived:||5th November 2013|
|Mileage to date:||5,982 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||67.2mpg (official combined)
55.4mpg (on test)