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Suzuki S-Cross 2023 review: Allgrip Prestige

Suzuki S-Cross Allgrip Prestige - a neatly packaged family SUV but does it deliver?

When I first laid eyes on the Suzuki S-Cross Allgrip Prestige, I thought, is it a wagon or an SUV? Technically, it’s an SUV but despite the new rugged facelift, the S-Cross doesn’t seem 100 per cent convinced which category it fits into, either.

However, the new shape (which is more closely aligned with a Subaru Forester than a standard SUV) definitely does it some favours over the previous gen’s styling.

And after a week driving it with my family of three, I found that it’s a neat little package but it doesn’t always deliver.

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What does it look like?

The S-Cross has been revamped and the new styling works well. The previous model had a grille that wasn’t super stylish in its toothiness and chrome accents, but that’s been replaced by squared off edges, a blackened grille and sleek LED lights that makes the front look far more serious.

This facelift also sees a complete redesign on the rear and honestly, this is where the design loses me. I don’t love how rectangular, it is. The lights are also very blocky-looking, creating a discord with the (almost) sleek happenings at the front.

The interior hasn’t been forgotten either and the dashboard looks respectable with the mixed-material panels and cutaways, but on the whole, the cabin is let down by some more traditional looking features, like a rather huge gear shifter and handbrake, which I don’t mind so much. But coupled with plasticky flip-switches, buttons and manual seats… it’s like buying a newly built home but the kitchen is 10-years old. 

  • The S-Cross has been revamped and the new styling works well. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The S-Cross has been revamped and the new styling works well. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
  • The squared off edges and blackened grille makes the front look serious. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The squared off edges and blackened grille makes the front look serious. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
  • In the back, the lights are very blocky-looking. (Image: Glen Sullivan) In the back, the lights are very blocky-looking. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

 

 

How does it drive?

It’s the little engine that could! Surprisingly, both Allgrip models share the same engine specs but it performs fairly well given the engine-to-body size ratio.

Having said that, you do need to drive it a bit hard to wring out the power. It’s responsive at lower speeds and has enough kick to get up a steep hill without whining.

Unfortunately, the ride is a bit bumpy from the stiff suspension and the bumps will be more noticeable on a country road, so urban dwellers will get the most comfort.

Both Allgrip models share the same engine specs. (Image: Glen Sullivan) Both Allgrip models share the same engine specs. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

You’ll also never forget that this only has a six-speed auto transmission as the gear shifting isn’t very smooth.

The cabin can get loud with road noise, but you can converse easily with passengers, and youngsters should still be able to hear you without too much repetition.

Leaning into the wagon vibe, the S-Cross doesn’t feel like an SUV to handle, which makes it well-suited to city life, and simple to park. The Prestige also comes with a 360-degree camera view, which takes out most of the guesswork.

  • The S-Cross is responsive at lower speeds and has enough kick to get up a steep hill without whining. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The S-Cross is responsive at lower speeds and has enough kick to get up a steep hill without whining. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
  • The ride is a bit bumpy from the stiff suspension, so urban dwellers will get the most comfort. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The ride is a bit bumpy from the stiff suspension, so urban dwellers will get the most comfort. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

How spacious is it?

Front passengers will benefit the most in terms of headroom and legroom. The panoramic sunroof (only available on this model) does shave off some headspace but occupants in the back seat will notice this the most.

I feel fairly squished in the back seat and I’m 168cm tall (5'6"), so taller individuals might be in a spot of trouble for comfort.

The storage is pretty basic for a car of this size and you’ll be hard-pressed to fit much in the shallow glovebox or middle console.

Front passengers will benefit the most in terms of headroom and legroom. (Image: Glen Sullivan) Front passengers will benefit the most in terms of headroom and legroom. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Expect a fair amount of your cabin essentials to be on the seat with you or at your feet.

The boot is a good size for this class at 430L when all seats are in use but even though you can lower the cargo floor, it still feels a tad too shallow.

When the cargo floor is at its highest position, it creates a level load space, which should make it easier to slide items like a pram in and out. The deep pockets on the sides aid in stopping smaller items rolling around, too.

The boot capacity of the S-Cross measures at 430L. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The boot capacity of the S-Cross measures at 430L. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

How easy is it to use every day?

It’s not hard to operate but there are things that start to irk you over time. Like the doors. They feel as if they’re not oiled and are cumbersome to open/close. So much so, that I’ve had to help my five-year old get in and out, which cramped his sense of independence.

The tech is a bit disjointed to use (more on that below) and while the panoramic sunroof is lovely, the grey shade doesn’t diffuse the light all that much. Which, will be awesome during the colder months but might get annoying during summer when you want a break from the glare of the sun.

The back seat lacks a few amenities to make it truly comfortable. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The back seat lacks a few amenities to make it truly comfortable. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The seats are firm and wide but it’s a shame that even in the ‘top-spec’ model, they remain manual and there’s no additional lumbar support on the front seats. The front passengers do enjoy heated seats, though.

The back seat lacks a few amenities to make it truly comfortable, like directional air vents, extra storage or USB ports. Besides the handy compact size of the S-Cross, the usability can feel basic at times.

How safe is it?

The new facelift sees an overhaul of the safety features and S-Cross now has items I like to see on a family car, like AEB, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.

The airbags remain the same, at seven, but at the time of writing, this particular model hasn’t been rated with ANCAP. Which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unsafe, but it’s something to consider.

Front passenger space will be cramped when a 0-4 rearward facing child seat is installed. (Image: Glen Sullivan) Front passenger space will be cramped when a 0-4 rearward facing child seat is installed. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

When you turn on the car, a 360-degree camera ‘welcome’ screen pops up and it’s a nice reminder to check your surroundings before starting your journey.

There are ISOFIX mounts on the outboard rear seats and three top tether child seat mounts but you’ll really only fit two seats side-by-side.

It was fairly easy to install my harnessed booster seat but front passenger space will be cramped when a 0-4 rearward facing child seat is installed.

When turning on the car, a 360-degree camera ‘welcome’ screen pops that reminds the driver to check their surroundings. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
When turning on the car, a 360-degree camera ‘welcome’ screen pops that reminds the driver to check their surroundings. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

What’s the tech like?

Hmm. Despite being the ‘top spec’ model, the tech doesn’t always feel like it. The 9.0-inch multimedia system is not super intuitive to use at first, although you do get used to it. But it can be laggy, which is annoying.

It does have built-in satellite navigation, though, which is always a plus to have. The S-Cross has wired Android Auto and it was easy to connect my iPhone 8 Plus to the wireless Apple CarPlay. Maybe because I’m a little blind I like how big the Apple graphics are on the screen!

The instrument panel is a bit boring in design, and unfortunately, not customisable.

The 360-degree view camera is great to have and the parking sensors seem accurate. All in all, it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

 Inside is a 9.0-inch multimedia system. (Image: Glen Sullivan) Inside is a 9.0-inch multimedia system. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

How much does it cost to own?

Like some other brands, Suzuki has pared back the S-Cross line-up to just two models and finally beefed up some of the safety features on both. The Allgrip Prestige is the top model, and will cost you $44,490, before on-road costs.

The Prestige only adds five extra features on top of the base variant: a 9.0-inch multimedia system (as opposed to the standard 7.0-inch), synthetic leather-accented seats, wireless Apple CarPlay, a 360-degree camera, and a panoramic sunroof.

Unless you were desperate for these features, you could save yourself $5K by opting for the Allgrip model.

The Allgrip Prestige is the top model, and will cost you $44,490, before on-road costs. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Allgrip Prestige is the top model, and will cost you $44,490, before on-road costs. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The official combined fuel cycle is 6.2L/100km and I achieved just shy of that at 6.3L. Now, my driving style might contribute to that but I did push the engine this week, so that’s pretty impressive econ. If you’re in the city, I’d expect that to be higher.

The S-Cross comes with Suzuki’s five-year/unlimited km warranty, which is standard for this class, but it also comes with five-year roadside assistance, which is a nice bonus.

It has five years capped-price servicing and services average $397, which is pretty standard for this class.

The S-Cross comes with Suzuki’s five-year/unlimited km warranty. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The S-Cross comes with Suzuki’s five-year/unlimited km warranty. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Servicing intervals are every 12 months or 10,000km, whichever occurs first and that could be painful if you clock a lot of kays every year.

The Prestige offers a decent features list but the price tag isn’t as competitive as it could be considering the overall finish on the S-Cross still feels a little old-school. Its nearest rivals, the Kia Seltos and Nissan Qashqai offer similar features but their designs feel modern and crisp.


The Wrap

The S-Cross Allgrip Prestige is a mixed bag. There are things I like and things I don’t. The design might not age well and the interior is already feeling old-school compared to the competition, but it’s easy to drive and the engine has proven to be a surprising win for this. Those new safety features also push it forward as a contender if you want the practicality of an AWD without the big body that goes with it. This just scrapes a 7/10 from me. My son liked the sunroof but did miss those extra amenities in the back seat and didn’t like how hard it was for him to open the doors, so he gave it a 5/10. 

Likes

Gusty little engine
New safety tech
Boot space

Dislikes

Laggy multimedia system
Finish achieves mixed results
Squishy backseat

Scores

Emily:

3.5

The Kids:

2.5

$31,998 - $45,490

Based on 67 car listings in the last 6 months

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