Suzuki S-Cross: sliding roof under the magnifying glass

  • "The world’s first double sliding panoramic sunroof" claims Suzuki
  • Glass panels slide over each other to reveal a massive 56cm opening
  • Brings loads of light and, when the weather is warm, fresh air into the cabin

A glass roof is one of those features in a car that I’m always happy to see, a bit like heated seats or a bootlid that opens itself.

The extra light from a big window in the ceiling makes the cabin seem more spacious and bright, very useful if the interior is trimmed primarily in black materials like my Suzuki SX4 S-Cross long termer. My family love them too - more light makes it easier to buckle the seatbelt of a wriggling toddler, and the open sky is infinitely more interesting to a baby in a car seat than a plain roof. 

As an added feature, the two glass panels that make up the roof in the S-Cross can be opened to reveal a 56cm aperture that sits somewhere between sunroof and full-convertible.  

Excellent - but slightly baffling

Suzuki describes this as the world’s first double sliding panoramic sunroof and promises an “invigorating open roof experience”. However, despite being impressed with its engineering, in January I didn't really see the point.

So what’s it for? Well, in the television advert for the Suzuki S-Cross, a man uses the big glass roof to skilfully pilot a remote control helicopter as the car drives along. We don’t have a remote control helicopter at Parkers towers, but we do have a kite, and I can confirm that the S-Cross is one of the best cars I have ever tried to fly a kite from.

Knots in the line didn't help matters

The open roof also makes it quite easy to take directions from a photographer positioned on an elevated walkway while on a shoot, but as these are fairly niche requirements, I decided to go for a drive.

At low speeds, travelling with the roof open is very pleasant. You get lots of fresh air, especially with the windows open, and on a warm day it is considerably more comfortable than having an air conditioner blowing at you.

A bit like a Tardis, the opening looks bigger on the inside

However, from about 40mph the wind noise gets rather loud and you’re better off closing the roof to its “tilt” setting. It’s a shame this couldn’t be sorted at higher speeds as it would be great while blasting down a b-road. It’s also not quite wind-in-your-hair motoring as the roof line is too high up.

There is a fabric roller blind that extends across the roof so you can cover it up if you want to, but it’s not the nicest thing to look at and the glass is tinted anyway. I have yet to use it in 1,500 miles of motoring.

Roller blind: I've never used it

Both fabric and glass are controlled by a simple switch in the roof liner. It moves forwards and backwards to move the cover or the glass and you can also tilt the first panel open by pressing the switch it in.

The roof opens quickly and quietly and works at all speeds and the button is easy to find and operate without having to look at it.

Easy peasy controls to operate the roof

Open or closed, the glass roof will cost you at least £2,250 as it is only available in range topping SZ-5 trim. Of course this does bring a few other upgrades such as parking sensors, heated leather seats, and HID projector headlights.

Although not worth the price premium on its own, the glass roof is a good thing and makes upgrading to SZ-5 spec even more tempting when viewed alongside the other benefits.

Curiously, and perhaps revealingly, I now find myself slightly disappointed when I get in a car with a glass roof and discover it doesn’t open.And as the weather warms up I suspect my opinion of the open roof will too. It’s not quite a soft-top but is a nice enhancement to a summery drive.

Mileage: 1,680

Fuel economy: 51.88mpg (calc)