Suzuki S-Cross: The Bargain Answer To Impending Winter Woes

What am I looking at?

This is the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross. Quite the mouthful, but it replaced the old Suzuki SX4 - which we rather liked - as the range's crossover last month.

What's new?

The S-Cross is pretty much an all-new car, and a much bigger one at that. It's grown from the SX4's rather dinky proportions to a car matching the better-known crossovers in size - it gives just about nothing away to Nissan's first generation Qashqai and in fact beats it for load space.

What powers it?

There's a pair of 1.6 litre engines sitting at the front of the S-Cross. The petrol unit produces 120 hp and 115 lb-ft, while the diesel one manages the same power but double the torque at 236 lb-ft. It won't be any faster on the road however, as the 6 speed manual gearbox of the diesel evens out performance with the 5 speed manual in the petrol, but at 76.3mpg compared to the petrol's 58.8 mpg it's certainly more frugal.

Four wheel drive can be specified for either engine and the petrol can also be bought with a continuously variable transmission.

How much will it cost me?

The range starts with the "base" model SZ3 with a petrol engine and manual gearbox at 14,999 - undercutting pretty much the entire crossover market by a fair margin - while the starter diesel car is 16,999.

If you fancy a 4WD S-Cross to prepare yourself for a harsh winter, you'll need to pay 21,549 - for either the petrol or diesel cars - but even going all-out on the standard specifications for the SZ5 diesel you'll still only be paying 23,549.

Any alternatives?

The crossover market is pretty fierce and the Suzuki finds itself against the usual group front-runners in the Nissan Qashqai and Mazda CX-5 - though both look quite expensive cars next to the S-Cross and the Qashqai is soon to be replaced by an even more expensive one.

In the cheaper seats there's the Hyundai ix35 and of particular note the Kia Sportage, which is just about the only other way to get 4WD in a proper crossover for this kind of money.

In a line?

The bargain-hunter's way to keep motoring this winter.

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