First Drive: Suzuki S-Cross
Can tough new styling help the S-Cross achieve its fleet potential? Alex Grant finds out.
SECTOR Crossover PRICE £14,999-£24,349 FUEL 49.5-68.8mpg CO2 106-128g/km
When Suzuki launched the latest S-Cross in 2013, the aim was to provide a high-value rival to the Nissan Qashqai, and to bolster the brand’s contract hire and leasing volumes. Those volumes are up, but it’s a different crossover that’s doing the legwork.
Similarly priced, more clearly defined, visually, as a compact SUV and available with the same engine options, the Vitara now accounts for 85% of Suzuki’s company car sales in the UK, and that’s weighted towards top trim levels. Updating the S-Cross is an attempt at redressing that balance, without cannibalising from its stablemate – most of the upgrades are visual, comprising a 15mm ride height increase and more assertive front-end styling than the slightly doe-eyed launch model.
There are plenty of fleet-relevant engine options, though most are likely to take the 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel which is unchanged from the old car. Don’t overlook the 110bhp 1.0-litre Boosterjet turbo petrol, though; at 113g/km and with a £1,500 P11d advantage, it’s as interesting in terms of running costs as it is entertaining to drive, though on-road fuel economy is compromised slightly by the lack of an overdrive sixth gear. Suzuki’s electronically-controlled four-wheel drive is relatively accessible, too – a £1,850 price hike with CO2 from 114g/km for the diesel, or £1,800 and 119g/km for the petrol engine.
While it’s a little smaller than its closest rivals, it stacks up well for value. Fleet sales have been weighted towards the near-top-of-range SZ-T version, which now has sat nav, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and LED headlamps amongst its standard equipment, yet is priced at under £21,000 for the diesel version. It’s a price advantage strong enough to overlook the plasticky cabin and lay the foundations for the S-Cross to truly find its feet in fleet.