Suzuki S-Cross long-term test: report 3

The S-Cross is one of the more grown-up and practical small SUVs, but does that make it an easy car to live with? We're finding out...

Suzuki S-Cross Ultra front

The car Suzuki S-Cross 1.5 Full Hybrid Ultra 4W AGS Run by Stuart Milne, digital editor

Why it’s here Hybrids often come into their own around town, and we want to find out if this one is as adept on laps of the M25 as it is on circuits of local ring roads.

Needs to be economical, especially on the motorway, and boast plenty of family friendly touches

Mileage 5792 Price £32,649 Target price £32,012 Price as tested £33,199 Official economy 48.7mpg Test economy 52.4mpg

29 September 2023 – Keeping it simple

Any sailor whose boat uses an outboard motor, and any farmer who runs a quad bike, needs it to just work; they probably don’t have time for gimmicks or frippery. They’d probably enjoy, then, my Suzuki S-Cross, whose interior channels the no-nonsense design ethos of the brand's marine products and all-terrain vehicles.

The S-Cross must surely count among the very most approachable, easy-to-use cars on the planet; if you’ve driven virtually any car built since about 1995, you’ll immediately feel at home behind its wheel. What we have here is a subtle variation of layout used by Suzukis for years – a layout that has presumably been allowed to endure because it works so well.

Suzuki S-Cross Long Term climate controls

Half way up the centre console, you’ll find sensibly sized, boldly labelled buttons for the climate control, big, easy-to-grip rotary knobs for setting the temperature, and a brightly illuminated display that tells you what the system is doing. There’s no need to engage with a touchscreen, nor even to take your eyes off the road; I can easily find the temperature controls and fan buttons by touch alone when I’m cruising on the M25. That's not something you can say of the Volkswagen T-Roc, with its touch-sensitive climate buttons.

Suzuki S-Cross Long Term heated seats

Fancy a bit of cosiness? The heated seats are controlled by huge three-way rocker switches (for low, high and off settings) that feel more mechanical than electronic to use – as if they’re opening a hot water valve. They’re easy to find by touch, too; the switches are shaped in such a way that they can’t be mistaken for anything else.

And yet, despite its apparent simplicity, the S-Cross (at least in my car’s Ultra trim level) actually packs technology in abundance. Advanced driver assistance features, such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance, are at your beck and call. And unlike in many cars, they’re not hidden away in a touchscreen menu but conveniently placed on a secondary switch panel by the driver’s right knee.

Suzuki S-Cross Long Term lane assist

Say, for example, you’re on a country road on which the road markings are so worn or irregular that the lane departure mitigation system is confused, leading to false warnings of crossing the boundary line. Disabling the system is a simple matter of holding your finger on the button until there’s a beep. And once it’s off, it stays off until you switch it back on; in many cars, you have to go through the disabling procedure every time you start the engine. Meanwhile, a warning that the system is disabled glows on the dashboard to remind you.

And, speaking of things that glow, Suzuki has been particularly generous when it comes to control illumination at night. Even the up/down symbols on the steering column-mounted shift paddles for the automatic gearbox light up. In fact, no control that you’re ever likely to want to find is ever left shrouded in darkness, yet the lighting is subtle enough that it’s more reassuring than it is distracting. This all helps to make the S-Cross a stress-free car to drive at night. 

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