Suzukis have a ‘feel’ to the way they ride and handle that is as distinctive as that of any Ford, Mercedes-Benz or BMW. Whether it’s a Swift Sport or a Vitara, there are consistencies that mean you almost know what to expect before you get inside.
The S-Cross is no exception. It steers with a pleasingly light but consistent weight and is moderately geared at 2.9 turns lock to lock. The pedal weights are nicely judged – light but with good responses and feel. The gearshift is positive and accurate, too. So far, so Suzuki.
What matters with the S-Cross is not whether it corners keenly or crisply, but that it’s predictable and stable. It is. This is a crossover, so there is some dive under braking, respectably contained though it is. Our tests show the S-Cross pulling up from 70mph in the dry in 46.8m, which is respectable, and in 52.5m in the wet, which is equally reasonable.
Initial turn-in is moderately quick as the S-Cross leans on its outer springs and dampers. At 0.81g, it can only hold modest lateral grip, but introducing mid-corner lumps doesn’t upset the handling balance too much. The S-Cross just remains a stable, stolid, understeer-biased front-driver.
Show the S-Cross a more challenging set of roads and it copes with admirable capacity. There’s evidently some deft wheel control at work, and the ride resists becoming choppy right up until you start throwing combinations of cambers and forces at it all at the same time.
Control of body movements is pretty good, too, although if you’re pressing on you’re always aware that this car is a crossover first and foremost. If it were lower and had less suspension travel, it could be made to corner more keenly, but as it is, Suzuki has steered its way to a pretty successful compromise.
Switch off its stability control in the wet and there’s more bias towards the rear, where the extra agility could help on, say, slippery farm tracks. But generally this is a straightforward and predictable handler.
Is there some fun with it? A little. Good precision and control weights and decent body control see that it’s one of the better steers in the class.
The positives continue with the ride, which strikes a decent balance between handling and, importantly, comfort. Being a crossover, you’d hope for and expect as much. There’s a general compliance around town, aided by the 50-profile tyres on 17-inch rims, but you wouldn’t call the set-up soft.