Practicality. That’s what you surely want in abundance in a crossover model. Qualities like ease of driving, high seating position and lots of passenger and luggage space should all be there, or you’re going to be wondering why not.
The SX4 S-Cross doesn’t disappoint in any of these areas, and indeed the only complaints I’ve had during my time with the car are small ones; the What’s Hot panel of our tests has been a good deal easier to fill than the What’s Not! The ‘Not’ you see here gives an idea of what I’m reduced to in finding complaint about – door pockets that are somewhat smaller than the norm; hardly the stuff of motoring nightmares.
The only complaint that has grown in stature is the radio’s auto-start. Turn on the ignition late at night, and your neighbours may not be delighted to know what your favourite music is, be it Status Quo or Johann Sebastian. Yes, if you leave the volume control right down it won’t happen, but that’s not a thing you’re likely to remember when coming home. This auto-start ‘assistance’ for the radio is akin to many of Microsoft’s additions to successive versions of Windows on your computer; complexity for its own sake, without a thought as to whether users actually want it.
We’ve been pleased with the economy of the S-Cross; it’s settled down to a real world average in the mid-fifties, and for a car as large as this, that’s pretty impressive. It’s not the sort of motor to encourage spirited driving, but the handling is certainly adequate with just a touch of lean on the bends, as one might expect from a tallish motor. The engine is pleasingly refined, with only a faint rattle on starting and near-petrol refinement once on the move.
Back in March, I was complaining about the fiddly buttons for the heating/air con controls; when demisting there seemed a lot to do, with temperature and fan speed having to be adjusted manually. Three months later, it was the stop/start system that got the red pencil, it being reluctant to perform with any regularity. Maybe it’s the change of ambient temperature as we reach mid-summer, or perhaps a simple case of increased maturity, but both these items now perform more impressively: the fan occasionally blowing harder all by itself, and the stop/start system working nine times out of ten quite happily.
The Likes… what are the plus points of the S-Cross? Well, it drives easily and cheaply, it’s comfortable, it looks good, and there’s loads of leg and luggage space (golf clubs and trolley no problem). Luggage loading is as easy as it gets, with a flat sill that won’t scratch your suitcases. The boot floor is flat too, thanks to it being a movable one, under which can be stowed quite a lot of stuff you won’t be needing often. Folding the rear seat backs (no need to remove head rests) is a one-handed operation, and the resultant 137 centimetre long floor is virtually flat, sloping up very slightly at the front. The list of equipment on our SZ5 is as long as your arm: all the airbags, tyre pressure monitoring, parking sensors and rear camera, cruise control, auto lights/wipers and so on. But for my better half, the top spot in that long list proved to be the excellent seat heaters. We are, apparently, unlikely to travel without such things ever again.
Dislikes… there are still a few: electric mirrors which don’t fold automatically when the car is locked, and an interior best described as unexciting – predominantly dark grey, with no choice for owners to specify anything else. But most of all, that radio; please Suzuki, get rid of the auto-start function.
Before driving the Suzuki for half a year, I wasn’t much of an enthusiast for the Crossover/SUV genre. Proof of the SX4 S-Cross qualities is writ large in the fact that I’d now seriously consider one. Practicality in abundance, and it really does make sense as a family car.
|Whats Hot:||“Some like it hot!” Along with parking sensors, digital radio and loads more, heated leather seats are standard with SZ5 trim cars.|
|Whats Not:||Door pockets good as cup holders, but too small for a lot of lifeís inevitable knick-knacks.|
|Date arrived:||5th November 2013|
|Mileage to date:||8,042 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||67.2mpg (official combined)
55.2mpg (on test)