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 three highly economical four-cylinder engines. The range-topping Suzuki was given a facelift in October 2016, which saw the Japanese firm give its crossover a more distinctive front end, chrome grille, headlights and a taller ride height.

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?

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Suzuki range

Driven this week

  • Aston Martin DB11 V8
    First Drive
    22 November 2017
    Aston's decision to utilise AMG's 4.0-litre V8 struck us as an inspired one initially, but will a drive on UK roads change our minds?
  • Volvo XC40 cornering
    First Drive
    21 November 2017
    Volvo’s XC40 arrives in the premium compact SUV segment and hits the right note with design, practicality and driving style
  • Jaguar E-Pace D180
    First Drive
    19 November 2017
    Not the driver’s car many would hope from any car wearing the Jaguar badge, but the E-Pace is an attractive and interesting addition to the compact premium SUV ranks
  • Jaguar E-Pace P300
    First Drive
    19 November 2017
    Jaguar’s second SUV faces up to the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. Tough task, so is the E-Pace up to it?
  • Subaru Impreza
    First Drive
    17 November 2017
    The fifth-generation Subaru Impreza is much improved from top to bottom, but a poor engine and gearbox keep it trailing in this competitive class