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Suzuki SX-4 S-CROSS (2013 - 2016)

THE JOY OF SX (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

Introductionword count: 106

Suzuki has a long heritage in SUV-style vehicles of all kinds, but back in 2013, it wasn't at the forefront of the fashionable trend for so-called 'Crossovers', cars that bring a little extra lifestyle and practicality to the kind of ordinary family hatchback that many families would otherwise have to have. With this SX4 S-Cross, the company aimed to put itself back into play, this car larger and better suited to buying trends of the time than its rarely seen predecessor. Today, there's certainly a place for it for used car buyers shopping in the Qashqai class, but is it worth a place in your garage?

Modelsword count: 19

5dr SUV (Petrol - 1.6 118bhp / Diesel 1.6 120bhp - trim levels 'SX3', 'SX4', 'SX-T', 'SX-T 4GRIP', 'SX5')

Historyword count: 217

Suzuki's SX4 S-Cross. Back in 2013, this was where the brand first got serious about Crossovers. Think of cars in this segment, family hatches with extra space and SUV attitude, and you don't tend to think of Suzuki. Which must be frustrating for the Japanese brand, given that their initial entrant in this sector, the MK1 SX4 of 2006, actually pre-dated the original Nissan Qashqai that most people think pioneered this class of car. That first generation SX4 was a little too small, a little too shy and retiring and a little too poorly promoted to set the sales charts alight the way its Nissan competitor did, but Suzuki watched, learned and came back fighting. This SX4 S-Cross proved to be a much more competitive proposition. It's certainly helped that the design was all Suzuki's own. The original SX4 of 2006 was developed in conjunction with Fiat, who badge-engineered their own version and probably compromised the end result. With this MK2 version, the Japanese maker was free to think bigger, not only when it came to this car's size but also in terms of efficiency and technology. As a result, they promoted this as the Crossover that's 'perfect for families without being just a family car'. But what exactly does that mean? We're going to find out...

What You Getword count: 837

This SX-4 S-Cross model may not be quite as eye-catching as the motorshow concept car that gave it its name but it's still better aesthetically tuned into the needs of the Crossover market than its neatly styled but rather forgettable first generation SX-4 predecessor. To some extent, that's due to the fact that the SUV part of the styling equation was a little more overt in MK2 guise. But it's probably mostly because, though still compact, this car proved to be a size bigger than before, leaving commentators like us with the headache of whether to classify it as a supermini-based model (like a Ford EcoSport or a Vauxhall Mokka) or a family hatch-sized Qashqai-class example of the breed. Family customers less concerned with segment semantics will probably simply recognise in this car the Qashqai they liked the look of but found they couldn't really afford. This Suzuki does, after all, deliver nearly all of what you get in that car - as long as you like the way it looks. Is this quite as eye-catching as Nissan's class favourite? Perhaps not, but there's little here to offend, the huge headlamps and gentle curves intended to convey a sense of strength and solidity emphasised by modulated lines running down the sides from the front bumper to the rear combination lamps. The styling's all Suzuki's own this time around. In contrast to the first generation SX4, styled by Italian design house Giugiaro, a car that was originally due to be called the 'Aerio', until that word was discovered as being Grecian for breaking wind. But we're getting way from the matter at hand - which is just how different this car is from its first generation predecessor. Previous owners still tempted to doubt that have only to lift the tailgate and inspect a boot area nearly double the size - 430-litres, about the same as you get in a Qashqai and around 20% more than you get in smaller Crossovers - Mokkas, EcoSports, MINI Countrymans, Peugeot 2008s and the like. Of course it's not big enough for a third seating row (you have to stretch to a bigger, much pricier Crossover like a Mitsubishi Outlander or a Hyundai Santa Fe for that), but you can at least make good use of the space available thanks to a neat false floor that lifts to reveal hidden storage. There's also a pair of lidded cubbies hidden behind the rear wheelarches, plus shopping bag hooks and a 12V power supply. Only if you need more space than the basic boot area provides might the S-Cross disappoint, for pushing forward the split-folding rear bench only increases your capacity up to 875-litres - around half what you'd get from a rival Peugeot 3008 in the same configuration. It does help though, that if you position the false boot floor properly, you can get a totally flat loadbay You can't increase the basic boot space by sliding the rear bench backwards and forwards, but the backrest does recline in some models and if you were to put it into an uncomfortably vertical position, Suzuki says you'd get an extra 10-litres of trunk capacity. It's more important to note that you get more significantly room here for legs, elbows and shoulders than you would in a smaller Crossover. Knees too, thanks to the careful way the front seatbacks have been moulded. As usual in the Qashqai class, two adults will be fine - and three won't be too uncomfortable at a squash - provided they're not too tall. Vertically challenged folk will especially struggle if they happen to be seated in a plush variant equipped with a twin sliding panel panoramic sunroof that eats into ceiling room, so if you're tempted by that and fancy this feature, test the back of the car in question out first. If you can live with the roofline, this sunroof is certainly a nice thing to have, offering one of the largest open apertures in this segment. And up-front? Well, it's much like the outside really, an inoffensive but quite effective piece of sensible design that was decently screwed together by the Hungarian factory. There are a few more contoured and padded surfaces than Suzuki has provided in the past, but still nothing that'll especially surprise or delight you, though there are blue-ringed dials and silver trim around the air vents to try and lift the ambience. There could be a little more cabin storage, the door pockets being shallow and the glovebox size limited, though you do get a reasonably-sized bin ahead of the gearlever. At least the switchgear is commendably intuitive, with no buttonfest to baffle you upon first acquaintance. We would recommend that you try and stretch to a variant fitted with the infotainment touchscreen, which not only includes the expected satellite navigation set-up but also offers an easier way to access entertainment than the rather fiddly stereo you get on baseline models. More exalted brands could learn a thing or two from this system's simplicity.

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