Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The S-Cross’s 1.0-litre Boosterjet petrol engine is also used by the Vitara and Swift hatchback. It’s powerful enough for the S-Cross to feel comfortable in and out of town but has to be worked hard if you need to sprint down a slip road to join fast-moving motorway traffic. An automatic gearbox is available, but it limits performance somewhat, as does Suzuki’s optional four-wheel drive system, badged Allgrip.
Should you need more punch, the Allgrip-only 1.4-litre Boosterjet is noticeably punchier and will better suit those dealing with heavy loads and higher speeds. The optional automatic gearbox has less of an impact on performance than it does on the smaller engine. However, regardless of gearbox, the 1.4 still can’t match 1.5-litre versions of the Volkswagen T-Cross for pace.
Suspension and ride comfort
While the S-Cross is impressively resistant to pitching and wallowing over bumps and undulations, it doesn’t feel especially composed over poor road surfaces. It thuds noisily over broken tarmac and potholes, and the car’s body becomes noticeably unsettled. Build up speed and the effect of such road imperfections feels less pronounced, but expansion joints on the motorway still send a shudder through the car.
The heavier four-wheel-drive models are slightly smoother at lower speeds, as is the SZ4 trim level, due to it having 16in alloy wheels (all other versions ride on 17in wheels), but no S-Cross is as comfortable on UK roads as a Skoda Karoq or Nissan Qashqai.
No small SUV offers the last word in handling dexterity, but the S-Cross corners rather tidily. Its suspension manages to keep body roll under control and the front tyres grip the road reassuringly. If the front begins to run wide during fast cornering, it’s easy to bring the S-Cross back on course by lifting off the accelerator.
Overall, the steering is precise, consistently weighted and, at lower town speeds, light enough to make parking easy. However, when enthusiastic driving is concerned, it’s not great at communicating how the front wheels are faring under pressure, and doesn’t inspire confidence.
Noise and vibration
Press the 1.0-litre's dashboard-mounted starter button and the little three-cylinder engine awakens in a gruff manner, but once under way it grows smoother and settles down to an almost imperceptible thrum. However, the prize for overall refinement goes to the 1.4-litre engine. It’s impressively smooth and quiet at low speeds and occupants will feel very little vibration even when you work it hard.
At motorway speeds, those models with the largest alloy wheels will kick up a little road noise, and you’ll hear a bit of chatter as the wind whips around the S-Cross’s door mirrors. Generally, the S-Cross is some way behind the best-in-class Volkswagen T-Cross when it comes to quietness on the road.