The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is a surprisingly capable small SUV that’s good value, practical and decent to drive, but not the most exciting car to look at
The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is an unassuming small SUV that rivals more adventurously styled models such as the Vauxhall Mokka X and Renault Captur.
It’s also proof that appearances can be deceptive, because under that rather nondescript body is a car of real quality. It’s practical, good to drive and impressively grippy if you go for a four-wheel drive model.
Amazingly, what you see here has already been through one facelift – back in 2016, when the car received a new grille and a raised ride height. Sadly, that served only to give the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross the appearance of a budget ‘90s SUV, and not a very attractive one.
Similarly, the best you can say about the design of the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross interior is that it feels durable and robust. Otherwise, it really does come across as unimaginative and simple.
On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with the ergonomics. The controls are logically laid out and everything works as you’d expect. The infotainment system is good, too, even if the graphics and layout seem as if they are from a slightly different era.
You will appreciate the driver’s seat for two reasons. First, it’s nicely elevated, so there’s a good view out; and, second, it’s really comfortable. The only word of warning is that taller drivers won’t appreciate the glass sunroof, which restricts the headroom. Finally, with a decent amount of space in the back seats and a 430-litre boot, this is a very family-friendly little car.
I think it’s a real shame that lots of people will be put off by the looks of this car. If only it looked as good as it drove, Suzuki would really be onto something
The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is well equipped, too, even on the entry-level models. These come with a multifunctional steering wheel, cruise control, alloy wheels, air-conditioning and heated door mirrors. Every model also comes with a generous seven airbags, stability control, a speed limiter, tyre-pressure monitoring and emergency brake assist, which automatically deploys maximum braking in the event of an emergency. Add to that two Isofix child seat-mounting points and a full five-star crash-test safety rating from Euro NCAP, and the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross ticks all the basic boxes for safety, too.
That much you might expect of a Suzuki – after all, good sense and value have long been part of its cars’ appeal – but what might surprise you is just how good the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is to drive. Under that dull body is a gem of a chassis, with accurate steering, plenty of grip and a suspension set-up that keeps body lean in check – albeit at the price of a comfortable ride. Over some surfaces, it can be a bit firm and even crashy.
The 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol plays its part in the fun, too, with a real willingness to rev. The three-cylinder unit is perfect for driving around town, but if you want a little more spark, the 1.4-litre petrol is an even better match.
The 1.6-litre diesel, meanwhile, is the car to choose if you want good fuel economy over long distances. But, if you do spend a lot of time in town, it’s worth considering the optional twin-clutch gearbox that provides smooth and swift shifts.
In many ways, that’s the story of the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross: it just goes about its business without any great song and dance. There’s nothing flash about it, but it’s very effective – and worth considering as a result.