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Suzuki S-Cross 2018 review: Turbo

Is the S-Cross the best new small SUV for you?
EXPERT RATING
7
The Suzuki S-Cross is loaded full of features in some places, but misses out on some life-saving equipment.

Want an SUV because you like the idea of sitting a bit higher in traffic but don't need a four-wheel drive off-roader? It has to be small, as well, right? Affordable, too? And have a confusing name, yeah? Then the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Turbo could be the little SUV for you.

'Could be'  because the S-Cross Turbo is not the only small, affordable two-wheel drive out there – Honda's HR-V, Toyota's C-HR and Hyundai's Kona are pretty darn good.

And that's why this review is here, to help you decide if the S-Cross makes the cut in your search for the best small SUV (for you).

Also, forget about the SX4 part of the name. Let's just call it the S-Cross Turbo, because even Suzuki does. I'll explain later.

You may also have some questions about the Turbo part of the name, such as: does this mean it's the fast one, or is it an overpowered beast? I'll get to that, too.

Suzuki S-Cross 2018: TURBO
Safety rating
Engine Type1.4L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency5.9L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$21,888

Is there anything interesting about its design?   6/10

I wish I'd been hiding under the boardroom table when the Suzuki design team was pitching the S-Cross Turbo's styling to senior management. Did it go something like this?

Designer: "From the rear the S-Cross Turbo has clean, contemporary styling. There's the tough looking cladding wrapping under the bumper and skirting under the doors towards the front. And this is where we've gone for something a bit different in updating the grille - teeth. Yes, a big shiny chrome-looking mouth. Everybody else is doing blacked-out grilles and big, body-coloured plastic bumpers, but nothing says 'upmarket, yet striking' like vertical chrome bars."

Board member: "Is it real chrome?" Designer: "No, it's plastic." This is where I start giggling under the table and security throws me out.

The S-Cross Turbo is only 4.3m end-to-end, almost 1.8m wide and just under 1.6m tall. The S-Cross Turbo is only 4.3m end-to-end, almost 1.8m wide and just under 1.6m tall.

There are two grades in the S-Cross line-up - the Turbo is the base grade and above it is the Turbo Prestige.

Telling them apart from the outside is tricky as they look identical – the only difference being the Prestige has LED headlights and its 17-inch wheels are polished. And metal-looking teeth jokes aside they both have a premium air, it's just a shame that look and feel isn't carried through into the interior where the tone is brought down by hard plastics on the dash and doors.

The Turbo misses out on the leather trim found in the Prestige, but its cloth seats are tasteful. However, neither the Turbo nor the Turbo Prestige resemble anything answering to the name 'prestige'.

That said, the interior is simple and stylish with a sensible layout and intuitive controls. I like the flush-mounted touchscreen, and the analogue speedo and tacho dials are clear (not gimmicky). It's grown up, but basic.

Telling the Turbo and Turbo Prestige apart from the outside is tricky as they look identical. Telling the Turbo and Turbo Prestige apart from the outside is tricky as they look identical.

How big is the S-Cross Turbo? Not very. We're talking 4.3m end-to-end, almost 1.8m wide and just under 1.6m tall. The C-HR is closer to 4.4m long, but pretty much the same height and width as the S-Cross Turbo.

How big is the boot? Gosh, you ask a lot of questions. We'll get to that in the practicality section further down.

As for colours, I thought I'd printed out the S-Cross spec sheet in black and white because the four shades available - 'Cool White', 'Silky Silver', 'Galactic Grey' and 'Indigo Blue' are close to monochromatic.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

How much does a Suzuki S-Cross Turbo cost? You're looking at a list price of $27,990 (before on-road costs), which is $2000 less than the Turbo Prestige.

As a model comparison the equivalent Toyota C-HR lists for $26,990 and is a far more refined and better-finished product. So is the $27,990 Honda HR-V VTi-S.

The standard features that come in an S-Cross Turbo are generous. The standard features that come in an S-Cross Turbo are generous.

That price can be a revelation for those thinking a Suzuki is a more affordable way into a decent, small SUV. That said, the brand often does great drive-away deals, so keep your peepers open for those.

What standard features come in an S-Cross Turbo? The list is generous. There's the touchscreen (with Apple CarPlay), sat nav, a reversing camera, cruise control, leather steering wheel, keyless entry and push-button start, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth and iPod USB connectivity, privacy rear windows, and 17-inch alloy wheels.

That is excellent – a lot of that stuff doesn't come on many entry grade prestige cars as standard.

  • Both the Turbo and Turbo Prestige come with 17-inch alloy wheels. Both the Turbo and Turbo Prestige come with 17-inch alloy wheels.
  • Both the Turbo and Turbo Prestige come with 17-inch alloy wheels. Both the Turbo and Turbo Prestige come with 17-inch alloy wheels.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

A big win here for the Suzuki S-Cross Turbo, too. Cabin storage is abundant with a deep centre console bin under the armrest, a giant hidey hole in front of the gear shifter, two cupholders up front and another two in the back, and giant bottle holders in the doors.

  • Amount of space and storage are big wins for the S-Cross. Amount of space and storage are big wins for the S-Cross.
  • Amount of space and storage are big wins for the S-Cross. Amount of space and storage are big wins for the S-Cross.
  • Amount of space and storage are big wins for the S-Cross. Amount of space and storage are big wins for the S-Cross.

The 430-litre boot is up there with the biggest in the segment – the CH-R's luggage volume is 377 litres and the HR-V's is 437 litres.

Room for people is outstanding, as well, with plenty of space for me, even at 191cm, to sit behind my driving position. Only the HR-V, with its clever seating, can 'out-practical' the S-Cross.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

The S-Cross Turbo has, yup, a turbo. But don't get too excited/concerned because unless it was written on the boot of the car you'd honestly never know. I'm not saying it's slow, but I'm not saying it's quick either.

The 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine makes 103kW (about 138 horsepower) and 220Nm, which is enough grunt not to worry about getting up hills with the rest of your posse on board and overtake without fear of running out of puff.

Shifting gears is a six-speed automatic which is more responsive than the CVT auto found in Honda's CH-R and HR-V. The downside to a regular auto is that it's not as fuel efficient as a CVT. How much fuel does a S-Cross use, then? Read on below to find out.

The 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine makes 103kW and 220Nm. The 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine makes 103kW and 220Nm.

Despite the SX4 S-Cross Turbo badge on the back suggesting all-wheel drive, these cars are front-wheel drive only. SX4 was the name used when the earlier model was AWD, with S-Cross added later. Then Suzuki decided to only import two-wheel drive versions into Australia. Clear? No, it's not, I know.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Suzuki says if you were to drive the S-Cross on a combination of open and urban roads you'd see an average of 5.9L/100km, which is not far off the 7.1 my test car's trip computer was reporting. Thing is, if you're just doing urban kays, expect that to stay at about 13L or 14L/100km, as I found.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   6/10

Yes, about that. The S-Cross Turbo scored a maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2013.

Safety has come a long way since then and advanced tech such as AEB, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic alert, which you can get on the Honda CH-R, HR-V and many others these days, is not available on the S-Cross Turbo.

The Turbo scored a maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2013, but is missing some important safety technology. The Turbo scored a maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2013, but is missing some important safety technology.

You're still protected well with seven airbags, ABS and traction and stability controls, but now you know where the S-Cross could do better.

A space saver spare is under the boot floor and if you need to install a child seat there are two ISOFOX points and three top-tether points in the rear row.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 100,000 km warranty

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

The S-Cross Turbo is covered by Suzuki's three-year/100,000km warranty. Servicing is recommended every six months or 10,000km and is capped for five years with the first three visits costing $175 each, before jumping to $359, then $175, $379, $175, $399, $175 and $175.

Six monthly services are unusually frequent compared to the 12-month interval norm.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

The S-Cross Turbo is easy to pilot with good visibility, fairly light steering and enough grunt for overtaking and hills. Handling is a bit below the level set by the CH-R, HR-V and Hyundai's Kona, but ride comfort is good.

That reversing camera's picture is excellent – I'd even go as far as to say it's up there with the best I've ever seen, including that of prestige European cars.

The Turbo is easy to pilot with good visibility, fairly light steering and enough grunt for overtaking and hills. The Turbo is easy to pilot with good visibility, fairly light steering and enough grunt for overtaking and hills.

Do you need all-wheel drive? Nope. It's handy on dirt and gravel, but the good clearance (180mm) will mean the front-wheel drive S-Cross will handle lumpy dirt or gravel roads well. If you plan to go further afield think about a 4WD Vitara if you want to stick with Suzuki.

Verdict

The S-Cross Turbo is easy to drive, super practical with great storage and room, and loaded with standard equipment. But, it has a less refined cabin than its rivals and misses out on their advanced safety features.

Would you buy a Suzuki S-Cross Turbo over a Toyota CH-R or Honda HR-V? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$25,888
Based on 59 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$20,000
Highest Price
$28,480

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Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GL (4x2) 1.6L, ULP, CVT AUTO No recent listings 2018 SUZUKI S-CROSS 2018 GL (4x2) Pricing and Specs
GL NAVI (4x2) 1.6L, ULP, CVT AUTO No recent listings 2018 SUZUKI S-CROSS 2018 GL NAVI (4x2) Pricing and Specs
GLX (4x2) 1.6L, ULP, CVT AUTO No recent listings 2018 SUZUKI S-CROSS 2018 GLX (4x2) Pricing and Specs
GLX (4x4) 1.6L, ULP, CVT AUTO No recent listings 2018 SUZUKI S-CROSS 2018 GLX (4x4) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Design6
Price and features8
Practicality8
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption7
Safety6
Ownership7
Driving7
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$18,222

Lowest price, based on 60 car listings in the last 6 months

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