The SX4 S-Cross deserved better

Let’s get something off the chest. Suzuki deserved better! They should have made the cut and been a contender, writes John Knox.

Let’s get something off the chest. Suzuki deserved better! They should have made the cut and been a contender, writes John Knox.

It is not often, in fact, this is the first time in over 20 years, that I would have been totally offside with my colleagues in the Irish Motoring Writers Association with regard to the general contenders for the Continental Irish car of the year.

The latest SX4 S-Cross from Suzuki, a striking crossover vehicle with 2WD and new ALLGRIP 4WD capabilities, failed to even make it into the last round of voting.

I was surprised almost to the point of being shocked. Age has prepared me for such disappointment, however.

In terms of style, substance and drive, the SX4 S-Cross was one of the best motoring experience I had during 2013.

To me this second generation SX4 wasn’t just a middle range contender, it was one of the best, if not THE best. For me it was a toss up between the eventual winner, the Citroen C4 Picasso and Suzuki’s new bady.

Seeing that only one of them made the final vote, the end choice for No. 1 was easy.

Impressed

That’s democracy! One makes the point with the single intention of getting across how impressed one was with the SX4 S-Cross, which comes with in three levels of trim (GL, GL+ and the top of the range GLX) plus a choice of engines, 1.6-litre petrol (their own) and a 1.6-litre turbo diesel from the Fiat stable. The petrol is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox while the diesels have 6-speed.

Prices begin at €19,995 for the 1.6-litre two wheel petrol. The current prices are part of an special introductory offer lasting until May.

The market leader in this general area would be the ever popular Nissan Qashqai, but the SX4 S-Cross has the armour to do well in a head-to-head battle, scoring a fair advantage in price.

One hasn’t yet driven the new Qashqai. We add that as a qualifier, but the Suzuki can stand up to serious scrutiny.

The C02 figures are good (110g/km to 127g/k) which are a benefit in terms of the annual road tax; consumption figures are good (5.5l.km for petrol (combined) and 4.4 l/km diesel (2WD) and the service intervals in both cases have been stretched to 20,000 kilometres.

Won’t be disappointed

The SX4 is 6.4 inches longer yet is 132 lbs lighter than what went before. My drive was in the 1.6-litre turbo diesel which has lashing of torque (320Nm).

Believe me, you won’t be disappointed with the drive. The car has a strong, comfortable feel about it and one can understand why Suzuki are confident they can extend the appeal and make an impact in the fleet market with it.

The ALLGRIP is Suzuki’s new generation 4WD system. It has four driver selectable modes - auto (priority: fuel economy), sport (very usual on twisty roads as it makes maximum use of 4WD in response to accelerato inputs), snow (for slippery surfaces) and lock (used to erticate the car from snow, mud etc).

The SX4 S-Cross is a genuine five seater, which plenty of room in the back for three big guys, or gals (apologies ladies) and the boot offers 430 litres of space, twice as much as the old model.

This is a car I really liked, and I recommended it to two friends and insisted they check it out before buying new. I would suggest you should do the same!

The Spec

Standard specification - cruise control with speed limiter, tilt and telescopic adjustable steering, information display, Bluetooth connectivity, electric windows, 12v accessory socket (cabin and boot), air con, daytime running lights, immobiliser, ESP and tyre pressure monitoring, ABS with EBD and brake assist function, electronic stability programme, front, side, seven airbags, heated door mirrors, black protective skid plates, black wheel arches, Isofix child seat anchorages, child proof door locks, rear seat with 60/40 split folding.

The car

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 litre All Grip 5-dr diesel from $27,695 (ex-works) four cylinders, 16-valves, 1598cc, 120bhp at 3,750rpm, 320Nm at 1,750rpm, 6-speed manual gearbox, maximum speed 175km/h; 0 to 100km/h 13 seconds; CO2 emmission 120g/km, annual road tax €200.