Suzuki S-Cross: First road trip

  • S-Cross copes as a family wagon thanks to large boot, comfortable ride and spacious cabin.
  • Simple ideas make life on the road easy, although awkward handbrake position irritates.
  • Fuel consumption impresses, with over 53mpg indicated and 50.5mpg calculated in the real world.

The S-Cross may be a vehicle of many uses, but our long term appraisal of it begins with its most basic and important role: driving for hundreds of miles loaded up with passengers and luggage.

Families (even a small one like mine) ask a lot from a car, but those questions can usually be distilled down into one big one - does it make my life easier or harder?

With this in mind we packed in two adults, a pushchair, several bags, and a young baby in a car seat, and drove it to a weekend retreat hundreds of miles away.

Thanks to a number of clever features (and some simple ones too) the S-Cross settled into its most natural role of family-wagon very well.

The S-Cross boot is more than big enough for a pushchair

For a start the cavernous boot is a great shape for carrying all the standard equipment that comes with a small child. The S-Cross has a wide aperture and a small lip, and was large enough that we didn’t have to remove the seat or any wheels from our pushchair. There was also space either side for other items, such as my suitcase.

Plastic tunnels through the rear seat cushions help guide the Isofix base into place, so my fingertips were spared the normal exploratory digging around to find the mounting points. We are also used to having to move the front passenger seat close to the dashboard in other cars to fit the child seat in. However, there was plenty of leg space in the S-Cross for front and rear occupants.

Isofix guides make life so much easier

The satnav system was easy to use after some digging around in the settings to enable programming on the move, as the controls were locked while driving. This is a good safety feature but a bit of a pain if you have to take an unplanned diversion and have a passenger to tap in the new instructions. 

All the directions were clear, especially on the motorway, where you are given a very realistic image of the junction and the lane you need to be in.

Also making use of the main screen is the reversing camera available with SZ-T and SZ5 models. This comes into its own when trying to park with a full boot obscuring the rear windscreen, though the infotainment system does need to be on for it to work - but the radio can be muted at the time.

Sunrise through the very useful reversing camera

The S-Cross rides like a much more expensive car and makes a long journey really comfortable, especially when coupled with the soft leather seats of our SZ5 spec car.

There are loads of storage spaces for supplies, with bottle pockets in the front door bins to stop drinks from rattling around, and two good sized cup holders between the front seats. You can still extend the armrest forwards, even with tall drinks under it. As a trade-off, this does make the handbrake a little hard to access, but it’s not unusable.

Indicated fuel economy was a little lower that what Suzuki promises, but the 53.5mpg the S-Cross reckoned it achieved is a respectable figure, especially when you consider the size of the car and how much we packed into it.

Closing in on the S-Cross's claimed fuel economy of 64mpg

I am still getting to grips with the power delivery, as the diesel engine in our car produces its peak 320Nm of torque at 1,750rpm. When pulling away you often get a huge surge of power as the turbo kicks in, without having pushed down any harder on the accelerator, which is especially noticeable in first gear. It can be avoided with a bit of throttle modulation but often results in a boy-racer get-away from a set of traffic lights if you’re not ready for it.

It's reasonably noisy in the upper reaches of the rev range, but it cruises quietly just below 2,000rpm and has plenty of power before down there so you rarelynotice.

The personality of the S-Cross is already starting to surface - it gets the job done without making too much of a song and dance about it, and as such, makes light work of a long journey.

Mileage: 912

Fuel economy: 50.5mpg (calc)