What is it?
The first diesel automatic version to join the S-Cross range. Suzuki did the maths and found that diesel automatic models accounted for 16% of total sales among UK crossovers in 2014 and 2015, and it wanted a piece of the pie.
It has now released an S-Cross equipped with a Fiat-sourced six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox - dubbed TCSS (Twin Clutch System by Suzuki) - which is available only with the 1.6-litre diesel engine in range-topping SZ5 models. It'll cost you an additional £1350 over the manual transmission.
Alongside those healthy automatic small sales, the Japanese manufacturer is hoping its new powertrain option will be an attractive mile-cruncher for company car buyers who favour the ease of an automatic transmission.
What's it like?
The new gearbox is pretty smooth, managing low-speed changes around town without much fuss or jerkiness, and the engine is hushed at lower speeds. When you push on and take the car up to higher speeds, though, the shifts become more lethargic.
Sport mode encourages the ‘box to hold onto the gears even longer, which brings out more diesel drone from the engine, but at least there’s enough shove for overtaking on country lanes.
There’s also the option of paddle shifting in order to add a bit more engagement to the drive and allow you to cut short any intruding engine noise. On the whole, though, if left to its own devices the transmission does a pretty good job.
The light steering is good when navigating around town and remains accurate at higher speeds, while body control is generally impressive. The all-wheel drive system keeps it especially sure-footed, too. It may be overkill for most users, but Suzuki's Allgrip system will appeal more to buyers who live in regions that suffer severe winter weather, or those who require a crossover for off-roading.
There’s a fair bit of road roar and wind noise that gets in the cabin at higher speeds, and the ride is not particularly compliant over rougher UK roads. But most will be happy with this trade-off considering the SX4's better handling and cheaper price over some of its main rivals.
Inside, the S-Cross is generously equipped and functional, if struggling in terms of perceived quality. The double-sliding panoramic sunroof brightens up the cabin nicely, but it does impede on rear headroom, so tall passengers may struggle to stay comfortable in the rear seats.
It’s spacious up front, though, with a decent amount of adjustment to get comfy, and it also boasts a decent sized boot to boost its credentials as a family-focused crossover. But it’s still more fun than functional; SUV rivals such as the Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Qashqai offer more practicality.
Other luxuries included in the SZ5 bundle are a reversing camera, leather interior, sat-nav, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers and keyless entry and start.
Should I buy one?
We’re fond of the S-Cross as a cheap and cheerful no-frills package, so with a stiff price tag of £25,149 this model is entering unchartered territory, making it hard to recommend as a viable option.
That said, even in top-spec guise it undercuts an equivalent Qashqai. It’s also worth bearing in mind that around 50% of all S-Cross sales are on PCP finance deals, which close the fiscal gap, and with CO2 emissions of 119g/km it is a tempting prospect for company car buyers.
It is, though, the least efficient variant of the 1.6-litre diesel, with the six-speed manual transmission in the two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions both outdoing the TCSS-equipped model on economy and emissions. So while this may be a good automatic diesel, we’d still recommend sticking with a cheaper-trimmed manual.
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS TCSS Allgrip SZ5
Location: Croft; On sale: Now; Price £25,149; Engine 4 cyls, 1598cc, diesel; Power 120bhp at 3750rpm; Torque 236lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd dual-clutch automatic; Kerb weight 1400kg; Top speed 108mph; 0-62mph 13.0sec; Economy 62.8mpg (combined); CO2 rating/BIK tax band 118g/km, 18%