Suzuki Across long-term test: report 2

Can a plug-in hybrid SUV make sense for someone who covers a lot of motorway miles? Our senior photographer is finding out...

Suzuki Across interior

The car Suzuki Across 2.5 PHEV E-Four E-CVT Run by Will Williams, senior photographer

Why it’s here To see if plug-in hybrid power can suit someone who covers lots of miles, yet still remain as practical and appealing as a conventional large SUV

Needs to Carry all my camera gear and still have room for my family, while also lowering my running costs and functioning as a mobile office when needed

Mileage 2750 List price £45,599 Target Price £45,599 Price as tested £45,754 Test economy 59.4mpg Official economy 282.4mpg  Options selected Type 2 charging cable (£155)

17 October 2021 – Fast and frugal

Everyone loves a car that’s practical because it makes it easier to live with. And for someone in my line of work, practicality is key.

After all, we photographers need a big boot to lug all our gear around in, and that gear often extends to ladders, cameras, travel cases, tripods and cleaning kit – all of which is big, bulky and heavy. We also want cars with comfy seats and good driving positions, plus a decent infotainment system so we can stay in touch with the office.

My Suzuki Across is, so far, ticking every one of those boxes with slightly arrogant ease. In fact, I’d say it's fitted into my life better than almost any other car I can recall. I’ve never before had a vehicle that does all the day-to-day workmanlike stuff so well, yet can still embarrass a hot hatch on a decent road. You see, the Across is rather powerful, which isn’t what you'd necessarily expect from something based on the Toyota RAV-4.

Toyota RAV4 Fuel economy

Even when the car is fully loaded with all my kit, the performance from the 2.5-litre petrol engine and dual electric motors is exhilarating – 0-62mph takes just 5.9sec. That acceleration is particularly useful when you’re joining a motorway or overtaking slower traffic on country roads.

You might be waiting for a ‘however’ here, but you’ll be waiting a bit longer because I’ve even managed to solve the hurdle of charging the Across at home. You see, I’ve fitted a Pod Point charger on the wall of my house, and it’s capable of reliably adding 46 miles of range when I plug it in at night.

That means I can put my foot down when I need to without seeing my running costs skyrocket. In fact, despite not being known for having a light right foot, I’m averaging 64mpg, and achieved a record-setting 130mpg on a town run recently.

Pod Point wall charger

I also like how quiet the Across is when it’s running on electric power. It emits a low-volume noise that’s a cross between a Star Wars TIE Fighter and Darth Vader’s menacing breathing. Some electric cars I’ve driven sound incredibly dull, emitting a whine to let others know you’re coming. This one has a bit more character to it, which a lot of my passengers have enjoyed.

However – oh yes, there it is – there is one problem. I’ve identified an intermittent high-pitched squeak coming from a sliver of silver trim on the steering wheel. As you'd expect, that can get annoying, and it seems to get worse as the weather gets colder. The car's next service is due in a few weeks, so I’ll mention it to the dealer then.

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