Suzuki Across unveiled – can rebadged RAV4 win sales?

  • New plug-in hybrid SUV is Suzuki’s take on the Toyota RAV4
  • First product of Toyota and Suzuki’s collaborative agreement
  • Sales set to start in autumn 2020

Suzuki has unveiled its new Across SUV, and if you’re thinking it looks quite familiar, you’d be right. The Across is the first car to be released as part of Toyota and Suzuki’s global ‘business agreement’ – one which will see the two companies share their expertise of hybrid technology and small cars respectively.

The Across, then, is essentially a Toyota RAV4 that’s been given a new face to better fit in with its Suzuki siblings. It’ll be offered by Suzuki in its plug-in hybrid guise, and will top the brand’s SUV range in size and power. It'll go on sale later in 2020.

What exactly is the Suzuki Across?

Like the Toyota RAV4 on which it’s based, the Across is a large, five-seat SUV intended to compete with the likes of the Honda CR-V, Skoda Karoq and Mazda CX-5.

2020 Suzuki Across = rear three quarter

While the RAV4 is offered as a basic, self-charging hybrid (one that can’t be plugged in) Suzuki’s only offering the Across in its plug-in guise. That means it pairs a 2.5-litre petrol engine with an two electric motors and an 18.1kWh battery pack, capable of driving the Across for up to 47 miles without troubling the petrol motor at all.

There’s a motor on each axle, giving the Across four-wheel drive – a Suzuki hallmark, though this E-Four system (as Suzuki and Toyota call it) won’t be as effective for off-roading as Suzuki’s usual AllGrip mechanical setup.

What’s the difference between this and the RAV4?

Very little. Obviously, Suzuki’s restyled the front grille and headlights, but the remainder of the car appears identical – right down to the alloy wheels.

However, those wheels are only available on top-spec Dynamic RAV4s as an optional extra, so it would appear Suzuki’s pitching the Across towards the top end by offering only higher-priced, highly-specified models. This aligns with the tactic of only offering the plug-in hybrid rather than the cheaper self-charging variant.

2020 Suzuki Across - interior

Suzuki promises a nine-inch infotainment touchscreen – the same as the RAV4 plug-in and an inch larger than the standard RAV4 – with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. Bi-LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping aids and rear cross-traffic alert will also come as standard.

Will it be just like the RAV4 to drive?

We can’t imagine there’ll be much, if any difference whatsoever in how the Across and the RAV4 conduct themselves on the roads – Toyota builds these for Suzuki, after all, so there’s not much scope to personalise the chassis tuning for Suzuki customers.

We’ve not yet driven the RAV4 plug-in hybrid, though, so we can’t yet comment on whether it’s different to the standard model in terms of dynamics.

At least it’ll be powerful, and we’d expect the total power output to mirror the RAV4 plug-in’s 302hp.

2020 Suzuki Across

Suzuki claims an all-electric range of 47 miles – around nine miles more than the RAV4 plug-in – and  CO2 emissions as 22g/km. That latter figure is lower than any of its plug-in rivals including the Ford Kuga, Kia Niro PHEV and Mitsubishi Outlander. No fuel economy figures have yet been released, though as with most plug-in hybrids you can expect a headline figure in the hundreds of mpg. More realistic figures depend entirely on the style in which the car’s driven, and particularly the length of the journeys.

What this means for you

If you always wanted a Toyota RAV4 but for whatever reason, prefer Suzukis, here’s the car for you.

No, really – Suzuki dealerships are often in more rural locations and tend to be smaller, family-owned businesses, making customer loyalty a real selling point. These customers will soon have a large and cutting-edge plug-in hybrid SUV to choose from.

For the rest of us, the Across might be a more difficult sell, as it’s a Toyota RAV4 but with a shorter warranty and less choice in terms of specification and drivetrain. Pricing and full trim details will arrive soon, and we’ll be interested to see whether Suzuki’s managed to change this – a healthy price cut would certainly make this appealing.

Further reading:

>> The best hybrid SUVs

>> What is a plug-in hybrid?

>> Toyota RAV4 review