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Suzuki SX4 S-Cross review 2020

Find out more about the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

£11,474
Average Price
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3
Out of 5

Pros

  • Good to drive
  • Frugal hybrid powertrain
  • Affordable pricing

Cons

  • Not especially spacious
  • Plain styling
  • Interior starting to feel its age
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    104 - 110 g/km

  • Video

  • Price Guide

  • Trims

  • Summary

Model review

Suzuki has always had its foot in the door of the crossover and 4x4 markets, thanks to models like the SJ, Jimny and Vitara. In 2006 it introduced the SX4, a funky supermini-based crossover that was well ahead of its time, and was arguably one of the first mini-crossovers, before the likes of the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur came along. 

It soldiered on until 2014, with only a couple of minor updates, before a brief moment of production overlapping when Suzuki introduced a new second-generation model, which became known as the SX4 S-Cross. Available with Suzuki’s latest ‘AllGrip’ four-wheel-drive technology, the new model was as capable as ever, while also growing in size to become more of a rival to the Nissan Qashqai – it’s actually Suzuki’s largest crossover these days. 

Current model

Three years later and Suzuki decided to drop the ‘SX4’ in the name – meaning the model is now just called the ‘S-Cross’. With higher ground clearance, a bolder design and new LED rear lights, it’s certainly a bit broader than your typical mid-life update. It also comes with additional standard kit, along with new turbocharged 1.0- and 1.4-litre ‘BoosterJet’ engines, which offer improved responsiveness and greater efficiency than the engines they replace.

For 2020 Suzuki has introduced its mild-hybrid technology to the turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine, which has also been rolled out across the Suzuki range – including the Vitara and Swift Sport at a similar time. It’s another step to enhance the efficiency of the S-Cross. with the firm claiming 20 per cent improvements in fuel economy and CO2 emissions compared to the engine it replaces. Smartphone mirroring technology and autonomous emergency braking are also both now standard across the range. 

Value for money

When the S-Cross first debuted, it represented brilliant value for money, but over the years prices have increased and it’s no longer the bargain it once was. With new versions available from £20,749, it still undercuts many rivals for price, though the Nissan Qashqai and MG HS are closely matched when it comes to value. While it comes well-equipped as standard – including LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and dual-zone climate control, it misses out on parking sensors and a touchscreen as standard. Mid-spec versions therefore make the best sense, as top-spec models, despite being well-equipped, cost more than £27,000, which is just a bit too steep. 

So, if you want the best value for money, a used S-Cross is the one to go for. Prices start from as little as £5,000 for a 2014 car with around 70,000 miles on the clock, or around £8,000 if you want a facelifted example – the latter representing brilliant value. Expect to save around £3,500 just by going with a pre-owned example, too. 

Looks and image

The S-Cross is more likely to be a car you buy with your head rather than your heart, and that’s reflected in the way it’s styled. It’s certainly not a bad-looking car, but with a plain rear end and somewhat generic-looking styling, it’s a car you’re unlikely to notice on the road – only perhaps for its bold front grille. In that respect, the Vitara is a more eye-grabbing choice. 

It’s a similar story on the cabin, too, though the design is all very logical and easy to understand and read. All but low-spec SZ4 models come with a touchscreen as standard, which while not being the most modern system, comes with everything you could ask for – such as satellite navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The quality won’t embarrass rivals, but it’s certainly up to the task of being a great family crossover. 

Behind the wheel is actually one of the S-Cross’s best strengths, as it’s much better to drive than you might expect – helped by a relatively low centre of gravity, plenty of grip and also a comfortable ride. Unlike rivals, you can also choose this Suzuki with four-wheel-drive, too – something offered across the Japanese manufacturer’s line-up. 

Video Review

Space and practicality

The S-Cross isn’t a car that’s going to embarrass the class leaders when it comes to spaciousness (the Skoda Karoq is best, if so), but the S-Cross is still a practical and useful family crossover. Its 430-litre boot space is larger than its Suzuki Vitara sibling. 

There’s plenty of room in the cabin as well, with a generous amount of headroom and legroom on offer, though if you want adults to sit comfortable in the rear seats, it’s worth staying clear of the SZ5 model and its panoramic sunroof, as this digs into the space on offer. 

The S-Cross is also a good small tow car, and while it’s only able to lug a modest 1,200kg around, it was awarded the ‘Best Budget 4x4’ tow car in 2017. 

Engines

The Suzuki S-Cross has been available with a host of engine options during its time – initially being available with a 118bhp 1.6-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel engine with the same power. 

In 2016 when the S-Cross was facelifted, the 1.6-litre petrol was switched out in favour of a 109bhp 1.0-litre petrol unit and a 138bhp 1.4-litre petrol – both being turbocharged and much cleaner than the unit they replaced. 

Come 2019, the line-up has been reduced to just one engine – the 1.4-litre version, which has been detuned to 127bhp, though gains mild-hybrid technology as standard, which improves responsiveness and cuts running costs by up to 20 per cent. All versions come with a six-speed manual gearbox and are available with front- or four-wheel-drive. Unless you need that extra rugged ability – the regular version makes more sense – being quicker and also better and noticeably better on fuel. 

 Running costs

This switch to making all S-Cross models electrified has really helped when it comes to running costs. With front-wheel-drive, this Suzuki can return a claimed impressive 50.1mpg, along with low CO2 emissions of 127g/km. By contrast, if you choose the four-wheel-drive model, fuel economy drops to 45.7mpg, and CO2 emissions rise to 139g/km. 

Things to look out for

As with most Japanese brands, Suzuki has a great reputation for reliability, and despite the S-Cross not being as popular as models like the Vitara and Swift, there should be few concerns when it comes to dependability, especially with such solid build quality. 

Rivals

The S-Cross sits in a very competitive section of the market when it comes to rivals, with key competitors including the best-selling Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson all worth considering. If you fancy something a bit more upmarket, a Seat Ateca or Skoda Karoq are worth looking at, while more affordable (if slightly smaller) options worth considering include the cut-price Dacia Duster and MG ZS

Depreciation

Suzuki doesn’t have the best image in the world, and it means its models often aren’t as desirable. Especially next to the arguably more-appealing Vitara, the S-Cross is on the shortlist of few new car buyers. However, use this to your advantage to get good savings off the prices of nearly-new models, while used examples can be a fantastic and affordable buy. 

Which SX4 S-Cross to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

1.4 Boosterjet 48V Hybrid SZ4 5dr

Most MPG

1.4 Boosterjet 48V Hybrid SZ4 5dr

Fastest Model (0-60)

1.4 Boosterjet 48V Hybrid SZ4 5dr

Trims Explained

Three trim levels are available on the S-Cross – SZ4, SZ-T and SZ5. Equipment highlights and pricing are as follows.

SZ4

Standard equipment on the SZ4 is generous and includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, Bluetooth, DAB radio, automatic lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control and an auto dimming rear view mirror. It also features autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

From £20,749

SZ-T

Upgrade to the SZ-T to get more stylish 17-inch alloy wheels, silver roof rails, more noticeable underbody protection and rear privacy glass. It also comes with a larger media system with satellite navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, a leather steering wheel and keyless entry and start.

From £23,749

SZ5

At the top of the range the SZ5 features leather seats, heated front seats, additional speakers and a panoramic sunroof.

From £27,199

Summary

  1. New mild-hybrid model is very efficient
  2. No automatic gearbox option on Hybrid models
  3. Four-wheel-drive available across the range
  4. Good to drive
  5. Bland styling inside and outside
  6. Interior lacks quality of rivals
  7. Roomy cabin
  8. Good reliability reputation
  9. Affordable used buy
  10. Not a class-leader crossover, but one still worth considering

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