It’s been a long and lonely road for the Suzuki SX4 since it landed Down Under in the mid-noughties. For a start, the compact SUV created about the same enthusiasm as pair of sensible shoes, and after a decade, had a name change. It’s now the S-Cross.
With all-wheel drive models first up, Suzuki has come to the party with a couple of S-Cross front-wheel drives at up to $5000 less than their AWD siblings. All are powered by the same 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol engine, mated with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Up against the likes of the Kia Seltos, Mitsubishi ASX and Nissan Qashqai, prices start from $37,490 for the entry-level S-Cross GL 1.4 litre FWD and top out with the GLX Prestige AllGrip 4WD at $44,490. On test was the GLX Plus FWD at $39,990.
Like all present-day Suzuki cars the S-Cross is covered by a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty and five-year capped-price service scheme, the latter at 12 months or 10,000 kilometre intervals. ..  
Compared to the bland SX4, the compact S-Cross is rather dapper. Up front there’s a hint of edginess with a two-storey grille dominated by the 
stylised Suzuki ‘S’ leaving little doubt as to the car’s pedigree.
An aggressive piano black diamond lattice grille and LED headlights have the SUV standing tall, while square wheel arches wrapping polished alloy and silver highlights on the bumpers make for a more robust profile than before.
Body coloured power folding and heated exterior mirrors, and door handles contrast with 17-inch polished alloy wheels giving the SUV ground clearance of 175 mm. 
The convenience of tilt and telescopic column with leather bound steering wheel is joined by the quality and comfort of leather accented seats – front heated, driver’s height adjustable and rear 60:40 split.
Dual zone climate control air-con even includes a pollen filter. Storage consists of a deep centre console box, with padded lid doubling as an arm rest, two cup holders, front and rear and a couple of front and rear bottle slots.
Leg room for the average-build occupant is good. The boot has room for 430 litres of cargo with the rear seat backs up and 1230 litres with seat backs folded. A space saver spare can be found under the floor.
A new nine-inch touchscreen situated on the centre dashboard gives access to 
satellite navigation, voice command, wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, with Bluetooth connectivity. Audio consists of five speakers and two tweeters
Driver’s Information, consisting of analogue speedo and tacho separated by a digital display, includes instant and average fuel consumption, driving range and a gear position indicator. 
The engine is unchanged, with the 1.4 litre Boosterjet turbocharged four-cylinder engine being mated with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. AllGrip has been left behind, with the GLX Plus putting power to ground via the front wheels only.
The new S-Cross has an ANCAP rating in waiting.  Featured are autonomous 
emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop / start in heavy traffic; lane departure warning and mitigation,  electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, electronic stability program. There’s also weaving alert, warning the driver if he or she lets the vehicle go wandering.
Also on hand are blind spot monitor; front and rear parking sensors; hill hold control on moving off on inclines; rear cross-traffic alert and dual sensor brake support. A camera and sensor warns and brakes for pedestrians. Front and rear parking sensors cap off the active safety systems.
Front, side and curtain airbags are standard and there are two ISOFIX child seat, plus three child seat tether anchorages in the rear.
Keyless entry and start provide easy access for the driver. The carry-over powertrain is already well sorted and provides smooth take-off. The S-Cross is spritely on the move thanks to the turbo and overtaking can be performed with confidence.
Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts add a further level of driver input without dialling up too much excitement.
The maker claims fuel consumption of 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres, against 6.2 for the AWD, in the combined urban / highway cycle. On test, figures of 7.3 litres per 100 kilometres came up in the suburbs and 4.4 litres per 100 kilometres at motorway speeds.
The driver is aided by an instrument cluster, comprising two analogue gauges 
with a digital trip computer between, which includes a speedo. Dual-zone climate control adjustment is within easy reach on the centre stack. The S-Cross is rated at 1500kg, braked, and 600kg, unbraked, for towing.
AllGrip 4WD drive modes, found only in upper range models, is worth a mention. 
Dialled up through a knob on the centre console behind the gearshift, Auto mode switches between front-wheel and all-wheel drive when conditions demand; Sport sends more torque to the rear and improved engine response; Snow enhances traction on slippery surfaces, maximum torque to rear wheels to get out of such as sand or snow. The Lock button delivers 50:50 front / rear distribution.   
On test, the front-wheel drive GLX Plus provided good road manners on the bitumen in both wet and dry conditions. However, AllGrip has its attractions for those wanting to go in for a little off-road ‘adventure’.
A saving of $1000 is not a lot to gain by forgoing four-wheel drive. However, Suzuki insists the front-wheel drive car ‘now looks right’. How right only time, and sales, will tell.
Looks: 7/10 
Performance: 7/10 
Safety: 8/10 
Thirst: 7/10 
Practicality: 7/10 
Comfort: 6/10 
Tech: 7/10 
Value: 4/10
MODEL LINE-UP (Prices drive away)
S-Cross GL 1.4L FWD $37,490
S-Cross GLX Plus 1.4L FWD $39,990
S-Cross GL ALLGRIP 1.4L 4WD $40,990
S-Cross GLX Plus ALLGRIP 1.4L 4WD $43,490
S-Cross GLX Prestige ALLGRIP 1.4L 4WD $44,490
SPECIFICATIONS (Suzuki S-Cross GLX Plus 1.4L Turbo 4-cylinder petrol, 6sp 
automatic, FWD SUV)
Capacity: 1.373 litres 
Configuration: Four cylinders inline 
Maximum Power: 103 kW @ 5500 rpm 
Maximum Torque: 220 Nm @ 1500-4000 rpm 
Fuel Type: Unleaded petrol 95RON 
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.9 L/100km
Emissions: CO2 145 g/km
DRIVELINE: Six-speed torque converter automatic, front-wheel drive
Length: 4305 mm 
Wheelbase: 2600 mm 
Width: 1785 mm 
Height: 1585 mm 
Turning Circle: 10.8 metres 
Gross vehicle mass: 1745 kg 
Fuel Tank Capacity: 47 litres 
Front: Ventilated disc 
Rear: Disc
Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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