When Suzuki launched the first SX4 S-Cross in Ireland, it got a warm reception. However, the car itself never really seemed to take off. We’re hardly seeing an abundance on our streets. According to Suzuki, and some of their customers, the car was not SUV-enough to offer any real competition within the segment.
So, Suzuki has seen the figures and they know that the SX4 S-Cross that they released in 2013 was not a big seller. Fair play to them, they’ve done their homework and they’ve decided to try and fix it with an early facelift. Now, we’ve seen facelifts before that weren’t what you’d call massive, but in terms of looks, the new grille and front on this vehicle makes it look like a completely different machine. It’s not just the looks that have been changed, it’s the engines too. This is a BIG change.
So, what’s new in the 2017 S-Cross? Well, first off, there is the nose job. Wow, it’s different, it’s nice, and it kind of reminds me of what Jeep has to offer. Unfortunately, this nose is not a hint of the future design language of the brand though.
It’s not just the nose that has changed. The bonnet is bulkier and the new air intakes add some aggressiveness. Front-on, this car looks more like an SUV. An American SUV at that. Next up is new LEDs to the front – they’re always good. However, beyond the bonnet and the grille, little has changed to the sides, and the only difference that I could make out to the rear was the introduction of LED lights.
The interior has been brought up to date - slightly. Once again, Suzuki listened to their customers, and the motoring press, who complained about the hard materials of the dash. Things have been made slightly softer, and to be honest, it does look nicer.
The boot is between 430 and 440 litres. It’s not a bad amount of space. The back row is a bit like the Vitara in the way that its sloping roof line means that the taller of us might have some complaints – especially if you opt for the highest trim, which has a double sliding panoramic sun roof. This may have the largest opening area in its category, but the extra bulk under the glass means my head is touching the roof.
The engine line-up still has the 1.6 diesel with its 118hp, but it is available with a new dual clutch transmission. The 1.6 petrol engine has been replaced by a 1.4 litre Boosterjet engine and a 1.0 litre Boosterjet. These can be found in the new Baleno and will be part of the Vitara S when it lands in Ireland. Both of these engines are more efficient than the 1.6 and both of them boast better performance figures. The 1.0 litre model comes with a five-speed gearbox, while the 1.4 gets a choice of a six-speed manual or automatic.
The 3-cylinder, 1.0 Boosterjet engine is actually nice in this machine. However, when you stick the foot down in it, it does become noisy, quietening down at cruising speeds. The 1.0 litre engine is surprisingly frugal too and it has an on-paper fuel economy of 5.0l/100km (56.4mpg). This is good when you consider it only delivers 7 hp less than the 1.6 petrol engine that it replaces and a higher torque of 170Nm – that’s where turbo charging comes in. Our test car came with a 5-speed gearbox, and we’re told that there will be a 6-speed automatic with this engine.
On-paper, it reads as being slow. 0-100km/h in 11 seconds. Bottom line is, if you want a bit more grunt, opt for a bigger engine. While we did get some time with these cars, it’s not what I’d call an extensive test drive. More a “round the block” kind of thing. The steering is weighted well, but on corners if you are driving with a bit of welly, you will definitely feel some roll.
I also drove the 1.4 Boosterjet. It gave more in the power stakes. The only downsides that I noticed was that the automatic box was reluctant to change when I wanted to – which is something I noticed while overtaking, and the engine got very loud during said overtake. This ALLGRIP model offers 140hp and 220Nm of torque. Fuel economy seems realistic enough too at 5.6 l/100km (50.4mg).
There will be three trims available to the Irish market. The lowest starts from €20,995, take a step up and that price will raise to €24,995. The top trim comes in from €28,495. I didn’t drive the 1.6 diesel model, but we’re told that the entry price with that engine is €26,995
This really is a big facelift for the SX4 S-Cross. They deserve kudos for listening to their customers. The engines seem to make more sense. The new nose makes it look buffer – and I for one like it. The question is if these changes are enough to increase their sales volume?