The 1.4 petrol is a strong performer, but the diesel is the better bet.
The S-Cross’s 1.0 petrol engine is actually the same as the one found in the firm’s latest hatchback, the Baleno. It’s powerful enough for the S-Cross to feel comfortable in and out of town, but if you want to sprint down a slip road to get up to speed, or overtake in fast moving traffic, it has to be worked hard.
The 1.4 on the other hand is quicker and stronger, so it's perfect if you often venture onto the motorway. It’s also smoother at low revs, introducing less vibration into the cabin. Around town its hushed tones make it a far more relaxing drive than the gruff sounding 1.6-litre diesel.
The diesel isn’t quite as quick in an outright sprint, but it does have slightly better low-down shove, endowing it with impressive flexibility. This makes it easier to drive in the real world, because it will accelerate cleanly without you constantly needing to change to a lower gear.
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross ride comfort
Unfortunately, while the S-Cross’s body might be well controlled, its suspension doesn’t do such a good job of keeping things settled over poor road surfaces. The suspension reacts harshly and noisily to broken tarmac and potholes, and the car’s body becomes noticeably unsettled, too. As the speed builds, the initial bump absorption gets better, but expansion joints on the motorway still clunk inside.
The heavier four-wheel-drive models are slightly smoother and quieter at lower speeds, as are SZ4 cars with the smallest 16in alloy wheels (all other versions ride on 17in wheels), but every S-Cross suffers the same fundamental problems with its ride. A Skoda Yeti and Nissan Qashqai are more comfortable over UK roads.
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross handling
No small SUV is the last word in handling prowess, but the S-Cross does a pretty tidy job through tight bends, and isn’t too far behind the Skoda Yeti. It manages to keep its body nicely controlled, and the front wheels are reasonably grippy.
Like most front-wheel-drive cars, start to push hard and eventually the front wheels will wash wide. However, when that happens, it’s progressive rather than snappy. All-wheel-drive models have slightly more grip.
The steering is probably the weakest link, because it doesn’t quite let you know how the front wheels are faring under pressure. For the most part, though, it’s precise, consistently weighted and, at lower town speeds, light enough to make parking easy.
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross refinement
This is one of the S-Cross’s poorest areas, the major culprit being the 1.6-litre diesel engine. It’s noisy from idle and even at medium revs there’s a bit of clatter and vibration in the cabin. Floor the throttle and the noise reaches frustrating levels.
The 1.0 petrol is better in this respect. Press the starter button on the dashboard and the little three-cylinder engine wakes in a gruff manner, but once underway, the engine smoothes out and settles down into an almost imperceptible thrum.
However, the prize for overall refinement goes to the 1.4 petrol. At low speeds the engine is impressively smooth and silent, and even when worked hard, very little vibration is transferred to the cabin.
At high speeds on the motorway, there’s some road noise in those models with the largest alloy wheels, and some slight noise as the wind whips around the S-Cross’s door mirrors. In this respect, the Suzuki is some way behind the best-in-class Nissan Qashqai.
With a turbocharger to boost power, the smooth and nippy 1.4-litre petrol is actually the best of all the SX4 S-Cross engines. However, because it’s only available with 4WD it is the least green and least economical unit in the S-Cross line up.
The S-Cross’s 1.0 petrol engine is actually the same as the one found in the firm’s latest hatchback, the Baleno. It’s powerful enough for the S-Cross to feel comfortable in and out of town, but if you want to sprint down a slip road to get up to speed, or overtake in fast moving traffic, it has to be worked hard. As with most three-cylinder engines, there are some vibrations through the controls, but this is no worse than in some of its rivals.This engine doesn’t pack much of a punch, but there’s enough power and torque for it to feel comfortable in and out of town. It needs to be worked hard to really get a move on, but at least it stays relatively refined when doing so.
Our pick 1.6 DDiS diesel
Choose the diesel and you’ll benefit from a small increase in torque (low-rev pulling power) over the petrols, a feature that makes the S-Cross relaxing to drive. It’s also cleaner and more economical than the petrol engines; therefore it is cheaper to own and to run whether you’re a private buyer or a company car driver. It’s noisy under acceleration, though.