Suzuki SX4 S-Cross AllGrip: Welcome

  • Suzuki SX4 S-Cross joins the Parkers long-term fleet
  • Family-car base with tough off-road system
  • Our version features unique double-sliding panoramic sunroof

The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross – our latest long termer – has something of a split personality.

Primarily a load-lugging family car, it also claims to be an off-roader and with its optional double-sliding panoramic roof, a convertible too (if you squint).

Although prices start at £15,499, our range topping 1.6 DDiS diesel, in SZ5 specification with white pearl metallic paint, costs £23,979.

It also features Suzuki’s AllGrip four-wheel drive, which promises off-road ability fitting of its SUV heritage.

Top spec S-Cross

On top of the standard daytime running lights, cruise control, and air conditioning, the SZ5 trim brings with it leather seats, front parking sensors and HID projector headlamps. So far so good.

The interior is best described as functional

Functional and hardwearing interior

Despite this high specification, the interior doesn’t look as premium as some of its competitors with a fair bit of hard plastic. Then again, it doesn’t cost as much either.

There are two big numbers in the S-Cross spec sheet - the size of the boot and the sunroof. You can stack 430 litres of luggage in the back, while the double-sliding panoramic roof opens to 560mm.

Big load space in the S-Cross

Large load space as standard

Suzuki claims this is a world first, offering “an invigorating open roof experience”, which sounds like something you’d pay for at a spa. Although it would take more than a double sunroof to transform the S-Cross into a Mazda MX-5, it certainly lets a lot of the world in. Thankfully the SZ5 trim adds heated front seats, which will come in useful while testing the big sunroof in these winter months.

Outside the S-Cross’s slippery profile has been designed to minimise drag, so we’re hoping it’ll get near its claimed 64.2mpg on a combined cycle.

Powering that figure is a 1.6-litre diesel engine that puts out 320Nm of torque from 1,750rpm, but with a 0-62mph time of 13 seconds, the S-Cross is no rocket. However, with its clever Allgrip 4WD technology shifting power around according to driving conditions and accelerator input, we’re anticipating an engaging drive.

The S-Cross gets really interesting when you delve deeper into this four-setting drive system. In auto it uses two-wheel drive unless wheel spin is detected. Switch up to sport, and the system will send 20 percent more torque to the rear wheels in response to higher acceleration inputs.

The key to the S-Cross's four different driving modes

Snow setting can be used on any slippery or unpaved surface and sends power to all four wheels in order to find grip. Lock mode acts like a traditional differential lock, sending maximum power to all four wheels to get out of sticky situations like mud or sand.

Although we’re not anticipating any Dakar rally activity in the S-Cross, the ability to power an extra axle will certainly come in useful should it snow, provided we can find it in a drift, that is (it is white after all). That said, without winter tyres it may not be all that impressive.

It’s testament to the usefulness of the S-Cross that already, before I have even driven it out of the car park, I am planning what unusual road surfaces I can subject it to and what adventures I can take it on.

You don’t get that “what if?” curiosity with a normal hatchback. And I suppose that’s kind of the point.

Mileage on arrival: 6,849  Economy: 64.2 (claimed)