Offering a decent drive and economical running costs, the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross SUV is a desirable family motor to rival the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti.
Crossovers are popular in today's motoring marketplace.
But what is a crossover? Well, it's a sport utility vehicle (SUV) with a chassis more similar to a car than a traditional truck-based SUV.
Most come with either two- or four-wheel-drive and having the fundamental elements of a car means a more contented ride.
They also tend to return better fuel economy because of lighter construction and smaller engines.
Suzuki's SX4 S-Cross 'good value' SUV
The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is one of the better value choices of this type of motor, although you may not have heard much about it.
That's because it's pretty new and the Japanese automaker is a fairly small player in the UK car scene.
Suzuki punches pretty hard above its weight though and, if the S-Cross is anything to go by, the manufacturer is only going to grow in strength in this country.
The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is a desirable family motor to rival the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti.
It's a well-made machine, packed with equipment and even at flagship level it only costs £23,549.
'Bold and sporty design'
The SX4 S-Cross's bold and sporty design offers ample room for passengers and luggage.
The design of the front seats offer excellent support and hold you firmly in place, even on tight curves.
Behind the wheel, the instrument cluster, although surrounded by a little too much cheap looking plastic, helps you focus on driving.
For instance, an outsized speedometer and tachometer border a multi information display that shows anything from fuel consumption to time and outside temperature.
High-rigidity in a car's body is essential to handling, comfort, safety and performance.
That's why the SX4 S-Cross incorporates a large proportion of high-tensile steel for strength and lightness, helping to provide greater handling stability.
Petrol and diesel engine options
The engine options are 1.6-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel.
I drove the latter, in top-of-the-range SZ5 DDiS 120 guise and equipped with Suzuki's four-wheel-drive ALLGRIP system.
The four-wheel-drive technology leaves no room for doubt that the SX4 S-Cross is the perfect fusion of family-friendliness, safety and performance.
Don’t get me wrong, it's no hardcore mud-plugger, but it'll handle dirt, grass, snow, sand and a bit more so it's perfect for mini-adventures.
The four-wheel-drive system is so adept because it has a variety of settings – auto, sport, snow and lock.
You can select your desired mode for the terrain you find yourself on via a push and turn dial on the centre console.
Auto prioritises fuel economy in typical driving conditions. The system uses two-wheel-drive by default and will switch to four-wheel-drive if wheel spin is detected.
The sport setting is best for twisty roads. It makes maximum use of four-wheel-drive in response to how hard you press the accelerator.
The snow option is optimal for snowy, unpaved and other slippery surfaces and uses four-wheel-drive all the time.
And lock mode is designed for extricating the car from snow, mud or sand. It does this by distributing high turning power to the rear wheels continually.
Five-star safety rating
Safety equipment hasn't been overlooked either.
Features include seven airbags for occupants, and the bonnet provides impact absorption which lessens injury if the car hits a pedestrian.
The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross has been rated one of Europe's safest cars, receiving the maximum five-star rating from independent crash testing firm Euro NCAP.
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross: Pros & cons
- Good value √
- Practical √
- Comfortable √
- Safe √
- Dashboard plastics X
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross: Fast facts
- Max speed: 108 mph
- 0-62 mph: 13.0 secs
- Combined mpg: 64.2
- Engine: 1598 cc, 4 cylinder, 16 valve, turbo diesel
- Max. power (bhp): 118 at 3750 rpm
- Max. torque (Ib/ft): 236 at 1750 rpm
- CO2: 114 g/km
- Price: £23,549