Where the crossover begins and the SUV ends are muddy waters, but there's absolutely no doubt that the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross – and the SX4 line – owes its existence to the range of small off-road vehicles that Suzuki has been building since 1968.

The latter-day variant, mostly forgotten, is known as the Jimny and has been with us since 1998. That's a rather staggering display of longevity in itself, but only an equal to the previous SJ-series, and still a junior compared with the original LJ ('light jeep') design, which soldiered on from 1969 to 1981.

The previous SX4, a five-door, Giugiaro-penned hatchback, predated the original Qashqai, already traded under the correct name and sported that oh-so familiar 4x4 look now seemingly craved by an ever-growing number of buyers.

But Suzuki’s offering was too small, too feebly marketed and probably still too quirky for it to reach the tipping point that would be Nissan’s decade-defining automotive achievement.

Second time around, Suzuki now insists it has got the new model right. Dubbed the SX4 S-Cross, this second-generation incarnation shares nothing with its predecessor. It is now a proper C-segment contender, with one of the biggest boots in the class and offered with a choice of two highly economical four-cylinder engines

Better still, Suzuki boasts that it has been engineered by the same team responsible for the Swift – our preferred cut-price supermini. So in the S-Cross’s case, is bigger better?

Top 5 Compact Crossovers

  • The Yeti is a crossover that's available with both two- and four-wheel drive

    Skoda Yeti

  • Renault Captur
    The Renault Captur enters a rapidly growing marketplace

    Renault Captur

  • SUV, coupé and even motorcycle styling meet in likeable compact crossover
    SUV, coupé and even motorcycle styling meet in likeable compact crossover

    Nissan Juke

  • Suzuki SX4 S-Cross
    The Suzuki's low price tag will make it appealing to many

    Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

  • Dacia Duster
    The Dacia Duster is aimed to appeal to buyers looking for a Qashqai, Yeti or 3008

    Dacia Duster


First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    13 October 2015
    Early first drive of Fiat's forthcoming Tipo reveals dynamics that fall short of the class best, although quality and comfort impress
  • First Drive
    13 October 2015
    Ferrari has produced another masterpiece with its new 488 Spider. We found out why on Italian roads
  • First Drive
    13 October 2015
    Distinctive DS hatchback gets revamped styling and new options, but the facelift fails to address the previous version's major issues
  • First Drive
    8 October 2015
    The greatest driver’s Boxster ever, and far enough removed from the GTS to be worth the compromises its complex hood demands
  • Car review
    7 October 2015
    Does the Zenos E10 have enough to oust Caterham and Lotus off their throne