S as in Suv, but also as Suzuki’s symbol which dominates the wide grille. And X as in Cross, underscoring its all-terrain vocation, harking back to that SX4 that originally inaugurated the range more than fifteen years ago. The Japanese sport utility reaffirms its belonging to the livelier niche of the SUV segment, even in this new version of the middle-class S-Cross Hybrid, gaining, in all its versions, a mid-level hybrid drive. This upgrade, by now overdue, restores freshness to a project that was starting to show its age, considering the 2014 platform shared with the Vitara, but infused with renovated energy and technical contents, capable of expressing an all-round eco-friendly mobility.
Japanese with Italian flair
Suzuki in body and soul. With the S-Cross Hybrid, Japanese engineering takes on a new challenge with this latest version of its middle-class sport utility, making headways in the SUV B-segment market. Hair of the SX4 presented in 2006, well known on the Italian market due to the parallel marketing under the Fiat Sedici banner, and first updated in 2014 thanks to the platform that we find in part today as well as for the first facelift, Suzuki has relied on its Turin style centre, to confirm that distinct combination between sporty and elegant that meets much of the European consensus and taste.
With a 2.6 metre wheelbase and overall length of 4.3 (1.78 metres wide and 1.58 metres high), the S-Cross Hybrid features a compact body leaving adequate room for five passengers, without sacrificing interior volume and cargo capacity. Not a great difference in style over the previous version, apart from the refreshed design and indispensable contents for a car of this level, including full LED headlights, front and rear. On the wide front grille, the manufacturer's logo stands out unmistakably, framing the details of the light clusters with chrome mouldings, enhancing its dynamic appearance. Square wheel arches are home to rather discreet wheels up to 17 inches, while the ground clearance, contained at 17.5 cm, seems a balanced compromise between off-road attitude and comfort on everyday routes. Let's not forget that Suzuki has a long tradition in off-road mobility as evidenced by the permanent all-wheel drive transmission with 4x4 Allgrip Select system while, the entry level versions have to rely on a humble front-wheel drive only, which penalizes the vehicle on natural terrain while keeping the appeal of this model intact. The 1-metre panoramic roof can be opened alternately at the front or the rear and provides a great feeling of roominess to an already generous interior.
Sporty-looking finishes, with mixed leather/fabric upholstery, underscore the S-Cross' off-road character. From the large 9-inch central display, all on-board functions can be monitored, including interaction between the two powertrains, as well as connectivity, entertainment and navigation management. Through the switch located on the central tunnel, on the other hand, the level of response offered by the 4x4 Allgrip Select all-wheel drive can be programmed on four modes optimized to take on as many road conditions: Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock.
The seating offered by the rear sofa allows two degrees of backrest inclination, which can also be folded down separately to expand the luggage compartment capacity from 430 to 665 litres. In the boot we find the now ever-present emergency repair kit, but Suzuki also provides accommodation for a spare wheel, obtainable at the customer's request.
Hybrid or petrol
In the transition between internal combustion and electric mobility, hybrid technology represents the most logical intermediate step. And that is precisely the concept behind the new generation S-Cross, equipped with a mild-Hybrid to upgrade its technical specs without exaggerating on either side. Thus, the main drive is entrusted to the modern 1,373 cc Boosterjet four-cylinder petrol unit, compact and all-aluminium, 129 hp of maximum power and just under 24 kgm of torque between 2,000 and 3.000 rpm, powered by direct injection and low-inertia turbocharger, 16-valve distribution with variable timing and high compression ratio, capable of optimizing efficiency and fuel demand under all conditions, allowing for an average mileage between 18.9 and 15.4 km/litre, depending on version.
Mid-level hybrid technology does not deviate from the solutions generally adopted in this segment. That is, a synchronous electric unit with permanent magnets, which acts as an alternator with charging, starting and torque delivery functions, connected to the transmission via a belt, that provides an additional 10 kW (13.6 hp) and 53 Nm of torque to assist the engine. In this case, however, the voltage rises to 48 volts (as opposed to the 12 volts generally found on competitors), allowing greater acceleration and a significant help in engine torque delivery.
Two six-speed transmissions available, manual and automatic while the Allgrip Select permanent 4x4 all-wheel drive, if present, automatically distributes torque to the rear axle at the first hint of any slippage, according to a diversified response based on one of four programs set by the driver.
Comfort and handling have been entrusted to a classic mixed suspension scheme, with a MacPherson strut and coil spring at the front and a Torsion beam with coil spring at the rear, although the stiffer calibration of springs and dampers produce a setup designed more for driving on tar roads, roll-free despite the almost 1,400 kg mass on the all-wheel-drive version, 100 kg heavier than the 2WD version.
Among the features highlighted by the manufacturer we find a complex array of devices devoted to active driver assistance, on the S-Cross we find the LDW - Lane Departure Warning and LDP - Lane Departure Prevention; WA - Weaving Alert driver attention monitoring, the TSR - Traffic Sign Recognition and so on. The sophisticated ADAS system is operated by sensors and four cameras, providing a 360° view around the car, with visualization on the central display to monitor blind spots when manoeuvring in tight spaces, as much in urban parking lots as in the most delicate off-road stretches.
Equipped on all versions with alloy wheels and 215/55 R17 tires, the only possible approved variant listed in the booklet are 215/60 equivalents, possible on alloy wheels or more classic 16-inch steel ones, designed for specific off-road use, where even the S-Cross can express all of Suzuki's off-road DNA.