Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • One engine – a mild-hybrid petrol
  • Two- and all-wheel drive
  • Manual gearbox only

Keeping things simple in the current engine line-up is a single choice of power – a 1.4-litre 48v mild-hybrid Boosterjet petrol engine.

Petrol engines

Like most modern turbocharged motors it punches well above its weight in terms of power, so you shouldn’t be put off by the relatively small capacity.

This is further enhanced by 48v hybrid technology (more on this later) which contributes to a total system output of 129hp and 235Nm of torque.

That means a 0-62mph time of 9.5 seconds for the all-wheel drive model, while the two-wheel drive S-Cross is marginally slower at 10.2 seconds.

In day-to-day driving this engine feels responsive and quick to pick up – thanks to a small amount of extra shove from the hybrid system.

This uses a 48V lithium-ion battery and integrated Starter Generator (known as an ISG) to reclaim energy normally lost while slowing down. This can be used to keep things like the air-con and infotainment running while the engine switches off at low speed, or deployed as you pull away for smoother and punchier acceleration.

As a result the SX4 S-Cross feels quite quick off the line and responds well to a prod off the accelerator, although this sensation fades as more momentum is gathered.

Engines no longer available

From launch the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross could be had with a choice of a petrol or diesel engines, both 1.6 litres in capacity. Following the 2016 facelift, the original petrol engine was dropped and replaced by turbocharged Boosterjet powerplants in 1.0- and 1.4-litre sizes.

Available from 2013 to 2016, the 1.6-litre petrol engine made 120hp with 156Nm of pulling-power. In two-wheel drive configuration with the manual gearbox it hit 62mph from standstill in 11.0 seconds with a top speed of 111mph, while the optional CVT transmission meant a sprint to 62mph in 12.4 seconds and a top speed of 105mph.

When in all-wheel drive format the figures changed again – the manual car reached 62mph in 12 seconds and did 108mph flat-out, while the CVT-equipped car took 13.5 seconds and 102mph respectively.

The two turbocharged Boosterjet engines were introduced in autumn 2016 as the petrol-engined choices. A 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit made 111hp and 170Nm of torque, making it surprisingly adept at hauling the S-Cross around without sounding or feeling strained.

There were three transmission options: a five-speed manual with a top speed of 112mph and a 0-62mph time of 11.0 seconds flat, while those figures became 106mph and 12.4 seconds with the optional six-speed automatic. Stick with the manual but plump for AllGrip all-wheel drive and you could expect to see 109mph and 12.0 seconds for the 0-62mph dash.

Offering a bit more zip was the 140hp 1.4-litre, four-cylinder Boosterjet also found in the Suzuki Vitara S. Despite having 220Nm of torque at its disposal from just 1,500rpm, it was not signifcantly quicker than its 1.0-litre alternative.

AllGrip was standard on the 1.4-litre and the performance was the same for manual or auto – 124mph top speed and a 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds.

Badged DDiS – for Diesel Direct injection System – Suzuki’s most economical SX4 S-Cross produced 120hp and a healthy 320Nm of torque from 1,750rpm.

In two-wheel drive configuration, it would hit 62mph in 12.0 seconds, with a top speed of 112mph. In all-wheel drive form the same sprint took 13.0 seconds with a top speed of 109mph. Both came with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Handling

  • Sharp and agile handling
  • Car feels light on its toes
  • AllGrip adds dynamic appeal

Based on the excellent Swift’s underpinnings, the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross handles very well, notwithstanding the degree of body-roll when cornered enthusiastically and the over-assisted steering.

The result is a surprisingly good driving experience, particularly if you pick the AllGrip all-wheel drive model.

This comes with four modes to tailor the way the car feels – Auto is primarily two-wheel drive, with the ability to call upon the rear tyres if the fronts begin to spin.

Snow and Lock modes give progressively more traction and are four-wheel drive as a default. The latter claims to mimic the effects of a limited-slip differential, by sending engine power only to the gripping wheels.

Finally there’s Sport mode, which makes the car feel more responsive and fun to drive. The road-holding ability, particularly while cornering hard, is much more pronounced.

Suzuki claims that both suspension and brakes have been tuned for UK roads and it does seem to cope well, transmitting few of the ruts you’ll experience in Britain to the occupants’ seats.

As part of the 2016 makeover the SX4 S-Cross’s ride height was raised by 15mm – not enough to negatively impact ride or handling, but the bolder stance gave the Suzuki more of a SUV look than the tall hatchback appearance it had before.