From £45,5999
Japanese brand tiptoes into expensive, electrified SUV territory, with Toyota’s help

The new Suzuki Across looks an awful lot like another mid-sized, electrified SUV you might have seen on the road already: the current Toyota RAV4 PHEV. However, what we’re dealing with here is not a worrying case of design plagiarism. The reason the new Across looks like the RAV4 is because it is a RAV4, only badge-engineered.

You might have noticed that smaller Japanese marques such as Suzuki are currently having a torrid time in Europe, mostly because emissions legislation demands that their smaller models are equipped with expensive emissions-cutting technologies, which eat into already- slim profit margins. Daihatsu left Europe in 2013, Subaru is teetering on the brink, and the exciting news that Mitsubishi UK is to auction off its wonderful heritage f leet comes only because, at least in the short term, it too is leaving.

This feels like a thoroughly well-conceived, unashamedly middle- market, easy-to-use family car, and its freedom from compromise may be the most impressive thing about it. It’s expensive, sure; but it’d work well for almost anyone.

But Suzuki remains, after the world’s most prolific car maker took a 5% stake in the business in 2019, which paved the way for model sharing. Along with the plug-in hybrid Across, you can also now buy a Suzuki version of the hybrid Toyota Corolla estate known as the Swace, although a smattering of the firm’s old in-house names are still offered.

The Vitara, S-Cross, Swift and Ignis march on, albeit solely now with hybrid powertrains. Notable by its absence is the standard Jimny, which has been culled on account of CO2 figures that had actually become an embarrassment to company execs.

With this road test, then, you’re getting two for the price of one: an appraisal of the surprisingly rugged, part-electric crossover that is the new Toyota RAV4 PHEV, as well as an early verdict on this new direction that Suzuki has, more out of necessity than anything else, chosen to take.

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The Suzuki Across line-up at a glance

Suzuki tends to go for a cut-down range and a no-nonsense equipment offering with its cars, but with the Across – perhaps because it isn’t used to selling cars at a £40,000-plus price point – it has surpassed even its own standards for simplicity.

The car comes in one trim and equipment level only; there are just six colours to choose from; and only dealer-fit options are available, one of which was the seven-pin charging cable that our test car came with.

Other accessories include a cargo partition grid, rubber floor mats and slightly flashier than standard door sill trim finishers.

What Car? New car buyer marketplace - Suzuki Across

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