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Former budget SUV’s big price shock


Australians love compact SUVs and Suzuki has long been a favourite with buyers, thanks to the Vitara and Jimny.

The S-Cross hasn’t proved as popular, but a new improved model could turn things around. We see if it’s up to the task.


The S-Cross range starts at $40,990 (before on-road costs) for the Allgrip and $44,490 for the Prestige variant we tested.

That price represents a jump of more than $10,000 over the previous front-wheel drive only version.

The new price also puts it up against some big names such as the Toyota Corolla Cross, Kia Seltos and Subaru Crosstrek, which offer all-wheel drive and hybrid power for similar or less money.

It’s a well styled SUV with chrome grille highlights, roof rails, LED headlights and smart looking 17-inch alloy wheels.

There are plenty of mod cons such as a nine-inch central display – up from seven-inches in the base version – that is compatible with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto. Bluetooth, voice commands and sat-nav are all standard.

Metallic/premium paint costs $695 and is the only optional extra.

Suzuki covers its cars with a five year/unlimited km warranty. Servicing is on the pricey side at almost $2000 over five years and intervals are below average at 12 months or 10,000km.


Step into the S-Cross and the cabin feels light and airy with good forward vision and a high seating position.

The Prestige grade adds leather accents to the base version’s cloth seats, but owners of both will have to make do with manual adjustment. Both front seats are heated.

It’s a practical cabin but lacks the pop and polish of rivals.

It has easy to use and reach climate and volume controls in the centre dash that complement steering wheel-mounted driver controls. There is plenty of storage and cupholders throughout.

Hard wearing plastic surfaces dominate the interior, which feels less sturdy than rivals. A leather-wrapped steering wheel is a nice touch and a panoramic sunroof lets in the light.

The rear seat leg and head room is tight but it wins back points for a decent sized boot.


The S-Cross has a decent level of safety kit but rivals provide more for less money.

It’ll automatically brake if it detects a potential collision and warn you if you’re wandering out of your lane. But unlike rivals, it won’t steer you back into your lane if you wander.

Other useful safety tech includes blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.

There are six airbags where rivals often have seven or eight.


On the road the S-Cross is an adequate performer.

Its small 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine delivers 103kW and 220Nm through a six-speed auto and all-wheel drive.

On paper it looks a little underpowered, but the S-Cross is significantly lighter than rivals, which levels the playing field.

The auto works well with the engine and makes the most of the modest levels of grunt.

Its lower weight combined with firmish suspension mean the S-Cross doesn’t feel as tied down and substantial as others in its class. It can feel jittery over consistent smaller bumps and thump over bigger road imperfections.

Light and quick steering makes it feel agile when driving around town and its compact size makes it a cinch to park in urban areas.

Suzuki claims fuel use of 6.2L/100km, which trumps the Kia Seltos AWD (7.4L/100km) and Subaru Crosstrek (7.2L/100km) but is shaded by the growing cohort of similar priced hybrids such as the Toyota Corolla Cross AWD (4.4L/100km).


The Suzuki S-Cross is a solid all-rounder but it isn’t the cheapest, most efficient or safest compact SUV on sale.


Subaru Crosstrek S AWD, from about $46,000 drive-away

Rugged, safe and well equipped but its engine lacks punch and it’s expensive to service.

Toyota Corolla Cross GXL Hybrid AWD, from about $46,500 drive-away

Extremely fuel efficient, great to drive and cheap to maintain. Cabin lacks the panache of some.

Kia Seltos Sport+ AWD, from $41,990 drive-away

Good looking with a punchy turbo engine and backed by a seven-year warranty. Expensive to service and has some overbearing safety tech.


PRICE About $45,490 drive-away

ENGINE 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, 103kW and 220Nm

WARRANTY/SERVICING Five years/unlimited km, $1985 over five years

SAFETY Six airbags, auto emergency braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, radar cruise control

SPARE Space saver

THIRST 6.2L/100km

LUGGAGE 430 litres


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