2014 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 Long-Term review – A 3.5 Month Test

Introduction to the Suzuki S-Cross

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 Long-Term Test review-0226

Late 2013 saw the release of the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross. As a C-segment crossover, it’s up against some tough competition and slap-bang in the middle of a fast-expanding marketplace.

With only getting a couple of short drives in the petrol and diesel models at the UK launch (you can read our original ‘Quick drive’ review of the S-Cross here) and with winter bearing down quickly, Suzuki were decent enough to loan us their range-topping 2014 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 – with proper winter tyres fitted – for long-term test to see what it’s like to live with, and how it copes over the harsh months.

We’ll update the review every couple of weeks, with photos and information such as its fuel economy, milage, where it’s been used and what for, how we’re finding the comfort level, what’s irritating us and what we like, and lots more – all exactly the sort of things you’d notice if you owned one, in fact.

Specs and equipment

Model (as tested)  2014 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5
Spec includes  17″ alloy wheels (16″ steel with winter tyres fitted to tester), rear tinted glass, two-stage opening panoramic roof, LED running lights + automatic HID projector headlamps, electric heated door mirrors, 7 airbags (front, front side, driver knee & curtain), 4-mode 4-wheel-drive (ALLGRIP), ABS, ABD, Brake Assist, hill hold, tyre pressure monitoring system, keyless entry & start, engine auto stop/start (EASS), 2-stage heated front seats, dual-zone air con, satellite navigation (European maps included) with Bluetooth for phone/music, DAB, MP3/WMA CD player with AUX port See website for more info
Options fitted Steel wheels: £228.64, Avon winter tyres: £340, Towbar, electrics & adaptor: £503.15
 Laggage capacity  Rear seats in place: 430 litres | Rear seats down: 875 litres
Price  (Dec. ’14) £23,549. £24,052.15 with tow-bar option
Engine  1.6 litre DDiS turbocharged diesel, 4-cylinder in-line, 16-valves,
Power, Torque  Power: 118 hp @ 3,750 rpm | 236 lb ft (320 Nm) @ 1,750 rpm
Drive, Gears (as tested)  ALLGRIP 4-Wheel-Drive | 6-speed manual
Ground clearance, Wading depth,  Towing Capacity  Clearance: 170 mm (6.5″) | Wading: N/A | Braked towing max: 1,500 kg’s (3,306 lbs)
Top Speed, 0 – 60 mph, Euro NCAP  Max speed: 108 mph | 0 – 62 mph: 13.0 seconds | Euro NCAP rating: 5/5 stars
Fuel economy (UK mpg), CO2  Urban: 54.3, Extra urban: 72.4, Combined: 64.2 | CO2: 114 g/km
Weight (kerb) 1,370 kgs (3,020 lbs)
Websites  Suzuki UK

Update 1: December 1st – 20th (2014)

Total milage at start: 6,612 | Test milage this update: 480 | Average UK mpg: City & Country: 47 / Motorway: 57.9

False boot floor, good equipment level

Badly-placed & dim boot light

It’s just in time that the S-Cross has arrived. As the calendar clicks over to December 1st in the UK, the temperature has taken a dive as quickly as a cheating footballer, and with it gale force winds and cold rain seem to be hammering us on an almost daily basis. It’s unpleasant, to say the least. Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 with winter tyres With that in mind, and the fact there are already flurries of snow arriving too, I’m glad Suzuki decided to send us the top of the range SZ5 ALLGRIP version. Why? A list of winter-easing comforts is why: the aforementioned 4-mode ALLGRIP all-wheel-drive, two-stage heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, sharp automatic HID headlamps with washers to keep them clear of all that road salt build-up, plus front and rear parking sensors and a good-clarity reverse camera for when visibility is bad and I’m trying to squeeze into the last remaining parking space on the packed street.

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Extremely handy when you’re caught out in that delightful cold, lashing rain is the S-Cross’ keyless entry, locking and start. Instead of having to press the key fob to open the S-Cross, as long as it’s in close vicinity to the car, you can simply press one of the small black buttons on the doors or boot lid, and the cars opens.

It’s also push-button too. Keyless is an underrated yet brilliant feature, as it means you don’t have the hassle of removing your gloves or digging through your bag or pockets to find your key in order to dive quickly out of the bad weather.

In the first few days of having the S-Cross, I loaded my dog’s large-sized cage into the Suzuki, and at first found it wouldn’t fit without the rear seats being folded. Ah! Bad news if I need to transport friends too. After a bit of head-scratching and cage-shuffling, I discovered the S-Cross’ boot has a false floor and underneath there’s room to store/hide gear, but when not being used can be dropped down a few inches into this space, allowing more room for box-shaped objects. And then the cage fitted perfectly. What an entirely practical feature that is!

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Something I noticed almost immediately which irritates me every time I go to the car at night though: the single boot light is side mounted, low down, and has a ridiculously dim bulb fitted. With any equipment loaded, it is rendered almost useless as it’s easily blocked out and you’re left feeling around in the dark. It’s so utterly rubbish that I now keep a torch in there. Really, there needs to be a light at each side plus one in the headlining, and it also needs to be an LED, not an old-school bulb.

If it was my own car, I’d simply buy an LED bulb and swap the old one out. Aside from that, the S-Cross is running well, and as the weather continues to worsen and the temperature digits drop on the Suzuki’s gauge, I’m glad it’s packing full-on winter tyres and 4-mode ALLGRIP 4-wheel-drive system. More to come on the next update…

If you own a Suzuki S-Cross yourself, let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment using the section below.

Update 2: December 21st (2014) – January 10th (2015)

Total milage on clock: 7,840 | Test milage this update: 748 | Average UK mpg: City & Country: 44 / Motorway: 50

Comfortable front seats, good fuel economy, capable long-distance cruiser, torquey DDiS engine

Could do with rear vents, auto headlamp washers annoying, overly-obtrusive TPMS warning

Since I mentioned in the previous S-Cross update that the temperature was falling, the UK weather has been utterly bizarre, reading -1˚C on the Suzuki’s temp gauge one day, and a positively tropical 14˚C on it just a few days later. Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 Long-Term Test update 2-0198 I mention this because this update the S-Cross has been driven in a wide variety of weather conditions, and on as wide a variety of roads in them, and it has shown itself to be a stout little crossover, impressing us with its ability to feel solid and resilient through the worst of it.

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To tee off, for the first time I had chance to (briefly) test the ALLGRIP 4-wheel-drive system as the road was coated with a thick and very slippery frost. Flooring the accelerator in the different modes from a standing start gave the results. These are only initial findings until (hopefully) we get a decent amount of snow and ice.

The ‘Snow’ setting made it feel like the 4wd was much more positive and quick to respond than the ‘Normal’ mode, but still gave very slight sideways AWD drift, but ‘Lock’ mode got rid of that altogether, making for entirely stable, arrow-stright acceleration. More on the ALLGRIP system in another update.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 ALLGRIP 4-wheel-drive system This update, we’ve used the Suzuki S-Cross on a few long trips out, and it’s proved itself in several ways. Firstly, at least sitting up front all who’ve either driven or been a passenger in the S-Cross have been really impressed with the level of comfort it offers. The front seats don’t have adjustable lumbar support, but they’ve been well designed, and over 500+ miles of travelling we’ve never found the front seats uncomfortable in any way (the 2-stage heating is brilliant when it’s cold outside), and there’s also ample leg, elbow and head room too.

2-stage heated front seats are an excellent feature.

Heated front seats are an excellent feature.

Rear passengers report decent enough leg room, and the seats are okay comfort-wise, albeit slightly flat – deeper cushioning wouldn’t go amiss. With the cold weather arriving, it’s hard to get the temperature in the Suzuki right for those in the rear. You’re too hot up front because you’re having to blast the warm air out high for them to get any benefit.

So, the S-Cross could really do with B-pillar mounted vents, or one mounted in the rear of the front armrest, and this would make a huge difference to the comfort level. Still, a lot of new cars don’t have rear vents either, so it’s forgivable.

Also notable is that the S-Cross suspension and chassis is surprisingly well set up, as it flows really well across bad road surfaces, and doesn’t bang or crash through potholes and cracks. Secondly, it’s actually pretty decent through the bends, and doesn’t really wallow or roll, driving much more like a car than a crossover.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 Long-Term Test update 2-0232 Fuel economy has been more than satisfactory too. On a trip to Derbyshire, (in England) we travelled through heavy rain and high winds on an eclectic mix of roads, which included stretches of motorway, towns, country and up and down steep, winding, single-lane routes where constant brake-accelerate-brake-accelerate shaves away the any decent average mpg quickly. Still, over the entire trip the 1.6 litre DDiS turbo-diesel gave us an good average of just over 50 miles-per-gallon.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 Long-Term Test update 2-0240 A 4.5 hour round-trip to the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, on a day which saw hurricane-force winds hitting the country, and artic trucks struggling to say straight (and upright), we again managed to hit 50 mpg without effort, even with gales buffeting the Suzuki hard.

On a side point, after using it for all these journeys, I’ve found the built-in satellite navigation (which includes European mapping if you’re in the UK) works really well, with clear graphics and an easy-to-use menu system. Issues I found this month with the S-Cross: the above-mentioned lack of rear heat ventilation, the headlamps washers spray automatically when the lights are on and you spray the windscreen more than a couple of times. It’s irritating as it uses loads more screenwash and also covers the screen after you’ve just cleared it, plus there’s no way to stop it happening.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 Long-Term Test update 2-0229 One more thing: the TMPS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) came on when the cold weather hit, and the large bright-orange message on the binnacle display would not go away (only very temporarily when you hold down the info display button), hiding all the fuel economy data, and distance-to-empty figure.

It’s useful, but why can’t it simply flash up, and then just keep on a small warning lamp instead of blaring it out until you pump up the tyres. Annoying. These are small points though, and overall the Suzuki S-Cross ALLGRIP SZ5 continues to grow on us, as we like its durable feel, impressive fuel economy, torquey turbo-diesel engine, practicality and comfort level.

Update 3: January 11th – February 14th 2015

Total milage on clock: 8,724 | Test milage this update: 780 | Average UK mpg: City & Country: 45 – 47 / Motorway: 50 – 53

Suzuki’s ALLGRIP system impresses in snow & over rough terrain, S-Cross has character

Heater fan sounds ‘whiny’ at certain setting, first and second gears stiff when gearbox cold (but there is an easy cure)

2014 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 Long-Term review update 3-0575 In the time I’ve had the S-Cross on test these past few weeks, a rather beautiful 2015 Range Rover SDV8 Vogue SE came for review, and was mine for a whole ten days. Make no mistake, the Rangey is the pinnacle SUV world and I don’t care what type of car you’re into, it’s so good you can’t help but be impressed.

With options the Range Rover was worth an eye-watering £96,000. To put that into perspective, you could buy four range-topping Suzuki S-Cross 1.6 DDiS SZ5 ALLGRIPs for that! Without question, any who travelled in or drove the RR loved it for many different reasons, and I must admit to naturally feeling fairly sad when it was taken back.

The little (in comparison) red S-Cross was sat waiting for my return, and I was tinged with guilt in thinking it was going to be a real come-down after being spoilt by the hyper-luxury of the Range Rover. However, after loading my gear into the boot, firing the engine into life and setting off, I was surprised that after just a couple of minutes driving I was thoroughly enjoying the Suzuki again.

2014 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 Long-Term review update 3-0578 The S-Cross is a very likeable car. It rides and handles smartly thanks to its nicely set-up chassis and suspension, the 1.6 litre turbo-diesel provides an ample 236 lb ft of torque at a usefully-low 1,750 rpm, and I’ve found it is one of the rare modern cars to have a personality – something I’m always on the lookout for. It’s one of those cars that makes you want to load up with gear and go for an adventure in, and that’s partly the reason I recommend getting the S-Cross with the ALLGRIP 4-wheel-drive system.

And on that, a couple of days of snow provided us with fun testing the Suzuki’s 4×4 settings. A quick bleary-eyed morning peek out of the blinds to the road below showed the bright red paint of the S-Cross as a stark contrast to the white snow, which was falling thick and fast. It was time to pull on some boots and a big jacket and go play out in the Suzuki.

Heater set to max, and heated seat on high, I set off. With even the main roads finely blanketed with the white stuff, I twisted the ‘Drive Mode Select’ controller left, into ‘Snow’ mode. This can be selected at any speed, and sets the system into permanent 4-wheel-drive mode.

Interior of the 2014 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 How does it work? Whilst the ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) suppresses wheel spin and helps the vehicle track straight, while sensors monitor the steering angle, throttle position and more. Further to this, a computer anticipates vehicle motion based on how you’re driving the car, and before a skid occurs the optimal amount of drive power goes to the rear wheels to stabilise the car. Exceptionally clever stuff, and it allows for so much more confidence over slippery roads.

Having a set of either all-season or full winter tyres helps enormously, so be aware of this before you go rampaging up some steep snowy country road. Arriving at a suitably scenic place where we could get some photographs taken of the S-Cross in action, and it was a case of pulling off the road to do so. The area was boggy from the ground not being frozen as the snow settled, and it’s somewhere easy to get stuck as you can’t see what you’re driving over.

2014 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 Long-Term review update 3-0585 From previous experience driving there, the landscape can look deceptively flat and easy to drive over. However, just off the road as well as it being boggy in places, covered over by the snow are deep troughs and small craters, which wheels can easily slip into, plus the banks back up to the road are short, but acutely steep.

This catches a lot of drivers out in the winter, and on a day when there are a lot out sledging, there can be literally dozens of cars stuck and waiting to be towed out at any one time, and usually ends with the Police closing the road to anything but 4x4s. After driving off the road, I engaged ‘Lock’ mode to ensure that the S-Cross gave as much traction as possible over these obstacles, and it’s immediately clear that this works exceptionally well.

Basically, Lock mode makes sure that torque to the front and rear wheels is almost a 50:50 allocation. It also uses the ESP so that should a wheel – or wheels – start to slip or are off the ground altogether, the brakes to it are applied the them, the engine is controlled to limit torque reduction, and therefore allowing torque to the wheels with grip. Find out more about how the Suzuki ALLGRIP 4WD system works here.

In the time you’ve realised a wheel is slipping, the computer has done about a zillion calculations to sort it all out. Again, it’s impressive and the system worked excellently over the deep delves and up the steep embankment. As we were about to leave, a large and knackered old Talbot Express motorhome turned up, whose owner then unwisely decided to turn the faded cream behemoth around by reversing off the edge of the road. Needless to say, the weighty old beast got stuck immediately, and sat there spinning its wheels like a hippo treading water – but to less effect.

Pulling a motorhome with the 2014 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5

The gradient back to the road was slight, but enough to make the smoking, spluttering Talbot flounder uselessly. Feeling sympathy for the owner, I offered to tow out the motorhome to which the driver agreed but was decidedly (and vocally) dubious that our little S-Cross would do so.

Rope attached, Lock mode engaged, drive forward slowly, and the Suzuki pulls the motorhome out with barely a slip of the tyres. Impressive, considering the road consisted of packed snow, and the Talbot (non)Express probably weighed 700+ kilograms (1,500 lbs) more than the S-Cross.

So, while the Suzuki isn’t exactly a full-fat off-roader, the ALLGRIP system works superbly well should you want/need tackle rough or slippery ground – within reason, of course. I’ve tested a fair amount of 4x4s and SUVs, and this ALLGRIP system exceeded my expectations. Suzuki’s accumulated knowledge of 4×4 systems (from years of producing vehicles with them on) clearly shows, and they’ve not relented on pushing forward technology-wise in this department.

Two negative this update: Firstly, at a certain fan speed (2 bars, on the display), there’s a low-volume but still audible high-pitched whine coming from behind the dash. At a lower or higher speed it disappears, but as it happens 2 bars are a good setting, so it’s slightly irritating. Sounds like a quick spray of WD40 on the part would do the job, but if it were my car I’d be taking it back to Suzuki to do.

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Secondly, since the weather got colder the S-Cross’s first and second gears have become particularly stiff and crunchy to select – especially first gear though. Once the car has been running a while, they’re easier to use, but the problem is still evident. After mentioning this to Suzuki, they immediately say they know what the problem is: gearbox oil viscosity – which is what I’d guessed it at.

Apparently, a few of the earlier ones need the oil changing to a different viscosity (which the newer ones already have in), and this rectifies the issue straight away. Admittedly, I’ve driven other manual S-Cross’s, and the gear changes were fine so I’m fairly certain this will do the trick. Let me know if you have similar issues, dear reader.

At the end of this particular period of testing though, I’m still very much liking the Suzuki S-Cross 1.6 DDiS SZ5 ALLGRIP. The more time I have it, the more I think I’d quite happily own one at some point.

Update 4 (final): February 15th – March 15th 2015

Total milage on clock: 9,504 | Test milage this update: 780 | Test milage total: 2,892 |Average UK mpg: City & Country: 45 – 48 / Motorway: 50 – 53

Our time with the 2014 Suzuki S-Cross SX4 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 has come to an end with this final update, and if I’m honest there was a wee pull of the heart strings as it was taken away. The S-Cross has been with us for three and a half months in total, and in that time it has served us brilliantly. For some of this final update, I’ll be going over what I love about the S-Cross, and what could be improved on.

Through the harsher days of winter in February, the Suzuki was always a welcome car get back into, no matter what I’d had on test the week before. As the short-term cars went back, I’d grab the key to the S-Cross, and go out to find it sat waiting, usually filthy from the salted roads.

2014 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 4x4 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 Long-Term review buying guide update 4

The steel wheels aren’t exactly attractive, but with a set of chunky winter tyres fitted, covered in mud and road grime, it gives the S-Cross somewhat of a tough, purposeful look – more of a work horse than a show pony. Popping the boot lid, I’d chuck my half-ton of gear into the decently-roomy boot; huge Mountain Equipment stow bag full of random gear, a large box of winter travelling essentials, a sizeable warm snowboard coat, camera tripod, camera bag, 30 litre rucksack, and any other odds and ends I needed.

I filled the deep side pockets of the boot with other necessary cold-weather stuff like a screen cover, a Peli torch (because of the Suzuki’s crappy boot light), gloves, two litre bottles of water and more. If I took my dog in the car, I’d dump all that gear on the rear seats, drop the false floor down to give him more headroom, and angle the seats forward to give him more space.

2014 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 4x4 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 Long-Term review buying guide update 4-0231

With the winter wind biting, I’d slide into the S-Cross, fire up the 1.6 litre turbo-diesel, set the heated seat to max, and not long after setting off warm air would be blowing out of the vents, even if the weather was really cold outside.

I always get the sense the Suzuki is a welcoming car, and as mentioned in the previous update, it’s definitely got character. The more time I spent in this crossover, the more I appreciated how decently it drove and rode. For instance, I had the Jeep Grand Cherokee on test, which has some great stuff going for it. However, getting back to the Suzuki S-Cross after that made the huge Jeep feel positively slow and cumbersome in comparison.

The reason I say this is because the S-Cross 1.6 DDiS is actually a very nippy thing to drive. In Sport mode, even at motorway speeds it’ll accelerate at a rate so brisk it’ll surprise you. Around town it zips about in a lively manner more akin to a hatchback than a crossover, and it genuinely felt light and nimble as I darted in and out of traffic, headed down narrow roads and around tight, twisting corners.

At the same time, it’ll do a long motorway driving with ease, the seats keeping you comfortable while cruise control allows you to relax more. Admittedly, there’s more road noise than I’d like at around 70 miles-per-hour, but some of that could be down to the deep grip on the winter tyres.

When I opened my front door to find snow and ice covering the road, the Suzuki’s ALLGRIP 4-wheel-drive and its simple-to-use ‘drive mode select’ system made the S-Cross into a highly effective harsh weather beater.

2014 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 4x4 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 Long-Term review buying guide update 4-6459

With this being Britain, and the weather changing hour-to-hour, in March some mornings saw heavy frost but by mid-afternoon there’d be bright sunshine and it would be comparatively warm. Any sunlight in winter is always welcome amongst the seemingly neverending drab, overcast skies, and the Suzuki’s double-opening panoramic glass roof would provide refreshing air and heartening sunshine.

All the above make the Suzuki S-Cross an incredibly good car to live with on a day-to-day basis, and instead of ‘cracks’ starting to show after a while – as in me noticing more and more annoying niggling stuff about the car – it just continued to impress and be enjoyable to drive.

When I wasn’t using the S-Cross because I’d have other cars on test, the Suzuki would be used by someone else in the meantime, who put a fair few miles on the clock over the thee and a half months we had it. They liked the S-Cross as much as I did, and found the same stuff true; it’s a great all-rounder that gives excellent value for money, and overall it’s just very easy to drive and an all-round liveable car to own.

2014 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 4x4 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 Long-Term review buying guide update 4-0571

In total, we put almost 2,900 miles on the S-Cross over the test term, and it was used almost every day of the trial period we had it. The oil barely dropped below the full mark on the dipstick, it used no water, and aside from the gearbox oil which really needed to be changed to a different viscosity because of the notchy first and second gears (which I talked about in the previous update), there were zero mechanical issues.

So, in summary here’s a list of what I liked and thought could be improved on the 2014 Suzuki S-Cross SX4 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5:

Liked

  • The false boot floor, deep side pockets and reclinable rear seats make for good storage room and excellent practicality.
  • Good equipment level: the SZ5 is the highest grade and comes packed with good stuff including leather seats, 2-stage heated front seats, dual-zone air conditioning, heated & power side mirrors, two-stage opening panoramic roof, LED running lights + automatic HID projector headlamps, keyless entry, locking & start, and a great little touchscreen sat nav system.
  • The S-Cross offers big value for money, and personally I liked the range-topping SZ5 for its high level of equipment and leather seating. If you can’t afford a brand-spanking new one, compromise by buying a year-old SZ5 for less money than a new lower-spec version.
  • It’s a safe car, with a 5-star Euro NCAP rating, 7 airbags (front, front side, driver knee & curtain), and ABS, ABD, Brake Assist, hill hold and a tyre pressure monitoring system, amongst its safety features.
  • The front seats are comfortable and roomy, and the rears aren’t half bad either.
  • The 1.6 litre turbo-diesel DDiS engine provides plenty of torque and power, easily adequate for the S-Cross, and the fuel economy is highly impressive both around town or at higher speeds.
  • The S-Cross is a fun thing to drive, so as well as doing the daily grind without issue, there’s plenty of go from the diesel, sharp turning, and a nice suspension and chassis set-up which provides a good combination of comfort and decent sportiness.
  • Suzuki’s ALLGRIP system and 4-mode ‘drive mode select’ impresses in bad weather, ice, snow and over rough terrain.
  • I felt the S-Cross had plenty of character about it, which always makes for a more enjoyable car to live with.

Needs improvement:

  • An incredibly badly-placed, dim light makes seeing into the boot on night a difficulty. So difficult that I actually kept a torch in the car to makes things easier.
  • The S-Cross needs rear ventilation. On cold days passengers complained of being chilly, and blasting hot air out isn’t really practical as those in the front start to melt with the heat. Surely they aren’t that expensive to fit at the factory?
  • The automatic headlamp washers are annoying, as they waste a load of screenwash every time you operate the windscreen with the headlights on. A manual control would make much better sense.
  • The overly-obtrusive and super-bright orange TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring system) warning really got on my nerves by being permanently on show until the tyres were pumped back up a few PSI. It stupidly hides the fuel economy data and distance-to-empty figure when it’s on too.
  • For whatever reason, the heater fan started to sound faintly whiny at a certain speed setting, and to make it disappear the fan speed had to be on slower or faster than needed.
  • First and second gears were always stiff and more difficult than they should be to select, mainly when the gearbox cold, but it was always quite obvious even when warmed up too. However, Suzuki reassure me that the cure is a simple matter of having the gearbox oil changed to a different viscosity.
  • Road noise at motorway speeds is more obvious than I would have like, especially on older sections where the tarmac wasn’t was good. The deep and wide tread of the full-on winter tyres will have had a bearing on this though.

2014 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 4x4 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 Long-Term review buying guide update 4-0206

If you own a Suzuki S-Cross yourself, or have any questions about the car, let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies

27 responses to “2014 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP SZ5 Long-Term review – A 3.5 Month Test”

  1. Nick Stewart

    Any Update on the S-Cross? Suzuki are updating the car later in the Year and I’m looking to buy one so keen to read your comments!

  2. mdavies

    Hi Nick. Our next update should be published this Friday (13 Feb). Thanks for your interest.

    Chris (Editor)

  3. Nick Rouault

    Hi

    I brought a petrol version of this car with the ‘Allgrip’ option a couple of weeks ago. It has the same spec as per the car being tested. The car is last years car with 30 miles on the clock and now has 535 miles and the engine is starting to bed in nicely now. Both my wife and I are very pleased with the car in general, We had a 2005 Toyota Avensis 2.0 VTEC Tourer T-spirit previously and were looking for a new car that was a little smaller and easier to park in town. We are getting 34mpg which is pretty good as we live on an Island with a speed limit of 40mph.

    I would recommend that you test driver the car as you might be pleasantly surprised with what you get for your money.

    Nick

  4. Nick Stewart

    Nick, good to read your comments on the S-Cross. I’m in Scotland so the Allgrip will be perfect for the bad weather and country roads once I get some All-Season tyres on the car. I think the only problem I’ll have is with the sunroof as I hear headroom isn’t great and I’m quite tall. If I fit in the car, I don’t see any other reason not buy it.

    Nick

  5. Giorgio

    I own s-cross 1.6 diesel since January 3rd 2015.I’ve already reach 2000km.So…let me tell you some things for the car.First of all,I enjoy a lot travelling in the highway because it’s very stable,comfortable and with a lot of torque running through its gains.6th speed 130km/h with 2200 rpm.overtaking other cars is a piece of cake.Twisty roads?no problems..choosing “sport” in the roundy selector next to the hand brake and the s-cross is being transformed into a beast..snowy and icy road? “Snow/mud” selection and the smile coming to your face..smooth like a teddy (only with winter tyres of course).. Deep mud? Stuck in the beach??”Lock” is the word…and you will jump out in a sec.. All passengers enjoy travelling as is very spacious with huge for this category boot with double floor..I bought it without sunroof and I’ m very happy..lot of space for the head and no burning in the summer as I live in Greece.. Economy is not my priority so 6.7 liters per 100km mixed cycle is OK for me as my right leg touching the floor..he he.. Very happy for my choice..
    And the long termer test is very comprehensive and very objective as I read it..Thanks..

  6. Giorgio

    Thanks Chris..Can’t wait for your next review..I forgot to verify the comment about the stiff and crunchy gear selection between 1st and 2nd gear..I’ll be back with a new comment as I continue living with s-cross…

  7. Ben

    Thanks for your review. My wife and I are currently considering the Suzuki as our next car purchase. Can I ask how you’ve found the general build quality of the interior … any rattles etc? Do you also happen to know if the sat nav includes european mapping? Cheers!

  8. Mike Waring

    Had mine since last Sept and enjoy – top spec 4×4.
    One gripe The Hill Start Disabled warning light is on – virtually all the time! Main dealer has re-set (more then once), fitted new swicthes, even the ECU. Can’t them fault but they admit defeat. Have referred back to Suzuki – await their response with interest. (PS: Same happened with an identical loan car I had!).

  9. Mike Waring

    Further to my above message went to Suzuki customer services as suggested by my main dealer who was stumped.

    Response was frankly shocking.

    Try another dealer

    We cant help – cant do diagnosis on line

    Take it back to dealer and try again.

    Pretty shoddy response in my view. What do you think?

  10. Pete Allen

    Bought a SUZUKI S CROSS SZ-T 1.6 DDiS All Grip.at the beginning of February this year and it has crunchy / baulking 1st and 2nd gearchanges just as you describe, told my supplying dealer about your correspondence with Suzuki but he knew nothing and showed me an e-mail reply from them to say that there was no known problem or oil issue. Is there any more reference you can give me maybe to sort the issue out.

  11. Martin

    Hi Chris.
    I have an S Cross SZT DDIS with just 10K on it. As previous comments, mine has the gearbox problem. So far it has been back to the dealer under warranty for the gearbox oil to be changed. This hasn’t improved the gear changes around 2nd gear, in fact I would say it is marginally worse.
    It is now booked in for another fluid to be tried in order to gain improvement ( this oil has a “new” part number according to my dealer). I have been offered a courtesy car until this is sorted out.
    I’m not happy, but what are my options?
    Martin

  12. Martin

    The saga continues.
    Following a second change of gearbox oil, and 170 miles ( to work new oil around the box) I still have a car with bad gearbox. Still especially bad when cold, improving when warm, but always notchy/baulking around 2nd gear. Occasionally a crunch of badly meshed gears when changing up from 1st to 2nd.
    I am returning the car to the dealer and leaving it with them to sort it out. I don’t want them to rebuild the box, I don’t want an essentially new car (10.5k) with a repaired gearbox.
    We will see.

  13. artan

    i recently had my suzuki sx4 s-cross serviced. now, the information display shows no information at all. i dont know if they had it reset or something happened, but can i fix it myself so that it shows the gearshift, clock etc. so that i dont have to send it back to the dealer just for this. thank your very much

  14. Jarkko R., Finland

    Hi!
    I own a year and half old S-cross allGrip 1,6 petrol engine with manual gearbox.
    I am wondering an extra sound or resonance, which can be heard always a moment the engine is running approx. 1500 r / min and when the drive is on. Regardless of whether the engine is cold or warm. There is no sound if the four-wheel drive is in the locked position.

    This extra sound is so minimal, that the suzuki dealer´s service could not hear it – they told there is nothing wrong, but I am afraid that something is wrong in the 4×4 system or somewhere else. What do You think, is this kind of sound normal in Suzuki allGrip system? The gearbox and the whole car works perfectly well still. I am very pleased with the 4×4 (except the sound).

  15. Jarkko R., Finland

    Hello Chris,

    Thank you for your answer about the strange noise in my car.
    Today the X-cross was again in the suzuki´s authorized service for troubleshooting the noise I described in my earlier message.
    Well, they told me now (third time in the service) that the noise is normal in these suzuki models and comes from 4 wheel drive transmission line. The Cardan shafts [or sthg] has normally some loose when it is not in use (and of course most of the time 4×4 is not on, even in wintertime).

    I told them on the first time that in my opinion the noise comes from the rear transmission line. The first time they did not hear anything strange and the second time I drowe the car with the mechanic and he heard the noise and said it´s not normal. That time they fixed the electrical engine pre-heaters power wire´s attachment – good, but it was not the reason of the noise.
    I am not very happy with this noise, even it is quiet. Seems there is nothing more I can demand from the dealer. I might try to test drive another similar s-cross and if it has not this noise….

    Kind regards, Jarkko

  16. Tony

    I have an SZ5 top of range 2 years old with a manual gearbox 16000 mls on it when bought, one owner from new, and found your comments on the gear change interesting, as I thought it was just me getting used to a new car, Also I found the clutch took some getting used too, as sometimes the gears
    wouldn’t go in properly. hope fully it’ll get better as the miles build up.

    Kind regards Tony,

  17. Jarkko

    Hi Chris!
    Finally my S-cross is fixed by the suzuki dealers mechanic. They changed some parts in the differential gear and the strange sound disappeard. There was too much loose.
    Have to say it was very hard case for me (customer).
    Thank you for your tips too.
    Regards Jarkko

  18. Anthony J Patton

    I have a top of the range sx4 s cross 2014 reg, it has the allgrip system fitted. We wanted to be a little different from the crowd
    The car is well built and feels really solid. It is easy to get in and out of and comfortable on long journeys.

    We have owned several Suzuki cars over the last 30 years and have had no trouble with any of them.
    Our Hampshire dealer gives first class service at the purchase stage and then through their service department

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