The Suzuki S-Cross may fall short of many rivals with its handling and interior quality, but then it’s also a good deal cheaper than most. The model range is exceedingly simple. There is only one engine (although a full hybrid version is on the way), and you choose between two trim levels, Motion and Ultra. Other than fancier paint (£550) and an automatic gearbox (£1350), there are no separate options.
At £24,999, Motion has most of what you might need, with LED headlights, a 7.0in infotainment screen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, dual-zone climate control, heated seats, keyless entry, adaptive cruise and a full suite of active safety features. For £5000 extra, Ultra adds all-wheel drive, a 360deg camera, part-leather seats, a panoramic sunroof and a 9.0in centre screen with navigation. To get a similar level of equipment to Motion trim on a Nissan Qashqai, you have to go for one of the top specs, which are over £29,000. The gap closes when comparing an automatic Ultra (which is always four-wheel drive).
Suzuki also claims its big strength is its dealer network, the trust its customers have in the brand and the cars’ reliability. For a brand that confident in its cars’ dependability, you might expect more than a three-year warranty, but it did place joint third in both the latest What Car? Reliability Survey and the Institute of Customer Service’s Satisfaction index. In other words, there’s every chance an S-Cross will be largely painless to own.
It should also be pretty cheap to run. Suzuki claims some rather ambitious fuel consumption figures – 53.2mpg for a manual front-wheel-drive car, or 47.8mpg for an Allgrip like our test car. Those sound unrealistic in the real world, but during mixed driving we actually averaged 45.2mpg. An economy run yielded over 50mpg and even when thrashing it for the acceleration figures, it refused to return less than 27mpg. That’s better than all of its pure-petrol competitors and even embarrasses some full hybrids. A strong case for mild-hybrid tech.