What's the used Suzuki SX4 S-Cross hatchback like?
Suzuki has long since made rugged off-roaders, but they haven’t always made family-friendly ones. However, the SX4 S-Cross definitely falls into the latter category, offering the choice of two or four-wheel drive in a car that’s not far off the size of a family hatchback.
You have the choice of a 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines in pre-facelift examples, while two turbocharged petrol engines (1.0 and 1.4) were added to the range in 2016 to replace the 1.6.
The diesel is a little bit noisy, particularly at idle and when accelerating, while the petrol engines are smooth, even when worked hard. The 1.6 petrol comes with a five-speed manual gearbox, which means that it isn’t quite as refined on the motorway as a later 1.0 or 1.4 would be, since those came with six-speed 'boxes. However, the 1.6 has peppy performance and quite good fuel economy anyway, so it’s no great shame.
To drive, the SX4 S-Cross is remarkably agile, with four-wheel drive versions managing to hold a tighter line in corners than the front-wheel drive cars. Body roll is kept in check, but that does come at the expense of ride quality.
The car isn’t particularly brilliant at staying settled over poor road surfaces; sharp, mid-corner bumps tend to unsettle it and thumps from potholes and motorway expansion joins can be heard more than in rival cars.
The steering doesn’t let you know a lot about what the front tyres are doing, but it is at least precise, consistently weighted and light enough to make parking easy. All models suffer from intrusive wind and road noise.
Interior quality isn’t up there with the Yeti because the SX4 S-Cross uses a lot of hard plastics, making it feel cheap. The infotainment system fitted to mid-range SZ-T and above can’t match the slicknes of rival systems, either, but it is at least quick to respond and simple to operate - although the touch-sensitive sliding volume control isn’t very easy to use while driving.
Space for the driver is plentiful and there are lots of storage areas. Rear seat room isn’t so generous; two adults can sit in the back (although the panoramic glass roof on top-spec cars robs head room) but three is a push due to the large hump in the centre of the floor. Boot space is near the best in the class, with an extra storage space under the boot floor.