Quick Drive & Review Of The: 2013 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross ALLGRIP

Good diesel and petrol engines, both very frugal on fuel. Decent build quality overall, with refined ride and good equipment levels. Competitively-priced too.

Rear headroom not great in rear either if you’re especially tall. A few cheap plastics and trim pieces about.

Line up of Suzuki SX4 S-Cross models.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross exterior & interior

Suzuki invited us down to their U.K. press drive day of the new (2013) SX4 S-Cross. With only a few hours to try a couple of different models, there’s no point pretending this is going to be an in-depth write-up Nope, that’ll come later, so keep an eye out for it. For now, here’s our quick review of the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross.

So, the SX4 S-Cross is a brand-new model for Suzuki, and it’s a ‘C’ segment crossover car. It’ll be available in either two-wheel-drive or Allgrip 4WD guise, and is going to be competing directly against cars like the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage, in terms of price, size, CO2 emissions and equipment levels.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 2013. The 1.6 petrol engine is shown here.

There are four equipment levels – SZ3, SZ4, SZ-T and SZ5 – available with either a 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine,  or a 1.6 litre DDiS turbo-diesel engine. Both are 4-cylinder with 16 valves. There’s also the option of the aforementioned 4-wheel-drive ALLGRIP models, but this is limited to only the SZ5-spec petrol, and the SZ5 and SZT-spec diesels.

The price of the SX4 S-Cross is extremely competitive, starting off at just £14,999 for the SZ3 petrol with a manual gearbox, and £16,999 for the SZ3 diesel manual. The prices top out at just over £23,500 for the DDiS SZ5 ALLGRIP Manual, and a thousand pounds less for the petrol ALLGRIP CVT (automatic) respectively.

The 2013 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is a decent-looking vehicle.

The SZ3 features some good kit as standard, such as daytime running lights, seven airbags and tyre pressure monitoring, air conditioning, power-adjustable, heated wing mirrors and 16″ alloy’s and cruise control with speed limiter, so it’s not a basic car at all, even at the ‘lowest’ grade.

The petrol SX4 S-Cross gives you a choice of a 5-speed manual transmission or the rather good 7-speed CVT ‘box, which I’ll talk about later. The diesel can only be had with a 6-speed manual transmission though.

Sliding panoramic roof of the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross review

The SX4 S-Cross is quite a nice-looking car, I believe. It’s got a slight look of the Honda CR-V if I’m honest, but there’s a few more swage lines and trim pieces that make it more interesting. It’s definitely leaning towards a more Japanese style, rather than the Germanic clean look of an Audi or Volkswagen, but that’s certainly no bad thing. It’s not a huge vehicle, but then it’s not meant to be. You’ve got a size that’ll mix in city traffic easily, and one that isn’t too big for the stupidly-narrow parking spaces in car park’s either.

First off, I borrowed the SX4 S-Cross in the range-topping 1.6 DDiS SZ5 ALLGRIP manual spec. There’s full-leather seats in the front and rear, and these are deep and comfortable. There is no electric adjustment on the front seats, but I got it in a comfortable position for the hour-long drive.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 2013. Interior front seats are comfortable.

I found the rear seats were well padded and comfortable, with an adjustable back section that can be angled to your want. The head-room might be a wee bit low for tall passengers in the rear. Not uncomfortably so, but it’s worth noting.

Rear seating of the 2013 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

There are hard plastics on the upper sills of the doors, which didn’t feel nice to the touch, but the rest of the trim was decent enough and was put together well instead of cheaply. The dash is neatly laid-out, and you’re not overwhelmed by controls either. And while there’s a lot of black trim about, slight hints of silver brighten thing up – but only a little. An immediate issue I noticed was that the silver surround of the air vent in the dash on the driver’s side reflected the outline onto the door window, right across where the wing mirror is viewed, making for a degree of distraction.

The driver’s console has a couple of blue-edged dials, which look good and not cheap or gaudy. The steering wheel is thick and grippy, but could have done with a little more padding for comfort. It has a user-friendly controls for the usual stereo controls, cruise, speed limiter, telephone calls, and you’ll quickly pick up their uses after even a short time in the car.

Interior controls of the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 2013

Look up, and you’ll see (though) the apparent world-first panoramic roof. Not the first in that sense of course, but because the two panels both slide back, opening up a large section of the roof. It’s a nice touch actually, and passengers will especially enjoy it.

The boot area is quite cavernous, with 430 litre’s rear-seats up, and 875 with the seats down. I  didn’t like the flimsy parcel shelf, or the way it fitted, but it’s a trivial matter really.

Boot area of the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 2013

Drive time…

Start up the 1.6 litre DDiS engine using the starter button, and it bursts into life quickly. Suzuki have done well with the sound deadening and insulation on the SX4 S-Cross, and it’s a quiet and decently-refined place to be inside, with little intrusion of engine or road noise.

The DDiS has 120 PS (118 hp), which isn’t a massive amount, but then it does have the usual high torque advantage that diesel’s put out, with 236 lb ft (320 Nm). The surrounding route I used near the venue for the press day were a mix of winding, hilly country roads, taking in a mix of speed limits, and a short section of dual carriageway.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross on a country road

My impression of the DDiS is that is did not pull like a 1.6 litre engine at all, but instead performed like you’d expect a 2.0 litre diesel to. Certainly, you’d absolutely have passengers thinking it was a much larger unit than it is.

0 – 62 mh (0 – 100 kph) isn’t too quick at 12.0 seconds (13.0 for the ALLGRIP), but I don’t think that’ll be an issue for its buyers at all. It gives satisfactory push once rolling, and I had zero trouble getting up long, steep sections of road. Suzuki like to point out that the SX4 S-Cross drives like a car, and while that’s true to a degree, I still found that it was wallowy when taking bends at speed – not in an off-putting or worrying way, or like an old-school 4×4, but there’s room for improvement I say.

Steering feedback isn’t too bad, and it’s certainly going to be fine for people looking to buy into this segment of car. Braking was positive and reassuring, and I couldn’t find anything to grumble about on the short road test.

Regarding the ALLGRIP 4WD system, I obviously couldn’t test it really on the normal roads. The only real thing I can say is that on a gravel-bound section off the road, I accelerated hard and found that it kicked in quickly, and sending power to the rear wheels and limiting slip efficiently. The four-mode 4WD system is a simple dial, which I really liked.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross ALLGRIP is good for soft-roading

Twist it left for Snow mode, which then makes the Suzuki drive in 4WD continually, right for Sport – which actually works well, instantly opening up more power for overtaking – then there’s an Auto button, which is the normal mode and will bring in traction from all four wheels when it determines it is needed. Finally there’s, a Lock button, for help getting out of more boggy or slippery terrain.

According to one of the Suzuki PR guy’s, this isn’t meant for heavy off-road use, and is more akin to something like the CR-V’s capabilities, as the ground clearance is only between 165 – 170 mm (6.5″) depending on which spec you choose.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross gets stuck into the rougher stuff

Fuel economy of the 1.6 DDiS is really very good indeed. The DDiS version has a kerb weight of just 1,370 kilograms (3,020 lbs) which no doubt helps things in this department. Official figures are; Urban: 54.3, extra urban: 72.4 and combined: 64.2. The 2WD version gets slightly higher mpg too. That’s amazing for a car this big! Also a definite thing to note is that the 2WD and 4WD ALLGRIP will cost a mere £20 and £30 vehicle tax per year in the U.K, due to their ultra-low CO2 emissions.

Next, I tried the same spec of SX4 S-Cross (SZ5 ALLGRIP), but this time with the 1.6 litre petrol engine, and the automatic CVT gearbox.  The petrol has the same horsepower as the DDiS at 120 PS, but there’s obviously much less torque – in fact it’s half the amount at 115 ft lb (156 Nm).

Still, I found it to be nippy enough and it didn’t struggle too much, although if you’re below the 2,000 rpm mark, you find there’s very little acceleration if you’re in anything apart from first or second. Stats are 0 – 62 mph in 11 seconds for the manual, and 12.4 for the CVT. Again, not blisteringly quick eh, but that’s fine here.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

The automatic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) gearbox is, as mentioned, a 7-speed transmission. As well as the usual auto shift lever, it also features paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, which I thought at first was a bit of a strange thing to have on a car like this, but you quickly find you get used to them, and start to use them more – especially when it comes to hilly sections of road, or for overtaking when you need to give it some stick.

The CVT is a smooth transmission, and again I couldn’t find much fault – at least on the short test drive I did.

The SX4 S-Cross 1.6 petrol is surprisingly frugal on fuel, and sips at the petrol rather than sucking it. Suzuki’s quoted miles per gallon figures for the CVT are as follows; Urban: 41.5, extra urban: 60.1 and combined: 51.3. The CVT is actually slightly better than the 5-speed manual, but only by a couple of mpg. The ALLGRIP versions are only slightly less good by around 4 – 5 mpg. I managed around 46 miles-per-gallon on the windy country roads where a good amount of acceleration was needed to get up the hilly bits. Pretty good.

U.K. vehicle tax will cost you between £105 and £125 depending on the model (2 0r 4 wheel drive) and which gearbox you have. Bear in mind the CVT has the lowest CO2 emissions.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross review

Overall thoughts

Overall, I liked my short time in both versions of the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross. I think it’s a well-build car with plenty of appeal. It’s a neat design with a comfortable, spacious interior and loads of tech and kit as standard, while the price against rivals is highly competitive.

The ride is good, although a little too wallowy for my liking, but on a motorway run it’s going to be a refined and quiet experience. Both the 1.6 litre engines are good, although I’d be very tempted to go for the diesel over the petrol, simply because it has twice the torque. It’s a pity the CVT ‘box doesn’t come with the diesel though…

Our choice: SX4 S-Cross 1.6 litre DDiS SZ4 Manual: £18,249. Alternatively, if you get bad winters: 1.6 litre DDiS SZ-T ALLGRIP: £21,549


Model  2013 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross
Trim levels  SZ3, SZ4, SZ-T, SZ-T ALLGRIP, SZ5 ALLGRIP,
Standard stuff  7 airbags, 16″ alloy wheels, ESP (Electronic Stability Programme), daytime running lights, tyre pressure monitoring, air con, cruise control & speed limiter, power & heated door mirrors
Price  £14,999 to £23,549
Engine’s 1.6 litre petrol or 1.6 litre turbo-diesel
Drive, Gears  Diesel: 6-speed manual only | Petrol: 5-speed manual or 7-speed CVT automatic
 Fuel economy (mpg)  (Depending on spec) DDiS;Combined: 67.2 mpg | 1.6 litre petrol; Combined: 51.3 mpg
 OUR CHOICE  SX4 S-Cross 1.6 litre DDiS SZ4 Manual: £18,249. Alternatively, if you get bad winters: 1.6 litre DDiS SZ-T ALLGRIP: £21,549
U.K Release Date  Suzuki SX4 S-Cross on sale from: 1st October 2013
Website’s  Suzuki U.K.

Check out our other car reviews here

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

13 responses to “Quick Drive & Review Of The: 2013 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross ALLGRIP”

  1. Colin

    So, what was the radio/satnav like? These are essentials for me, and I have read all the reviews of this car and nobody bothers to test these most important things. It looks like a Garmin, the graphics of which I don’t like at all. And the radio and speakers; good, bad, indifferent, we need to know?
    And I reckon this car is actually expensive, given the design-light interior totally devoid of colour, and that poor lost little media interface. Driving lights and tyre pressure monitors are legal requirements now so are nothing to make a fuss about. The car has lots of airbags and is strong, but you failed to mention that. And the essential parking sensors and rear camera only come on the top models. Fail. Plus, it looks from the Suzuki website that a ‘proper’ media set up, by Pioneer, costs over £1000 more on top of the already steep price. A horror if true.

    So, ground clearance nothing special, looks decidedly ordinary, interior dull, media interface cheapskate, and price high, considering.

    Great Fiat engine though.

  2. Colin

    I wasn’t ‘arsy’. Cheek!

    But I’ll keep an eye out for a more detailed review nonetheless. I still think it looks ordinary and I believe it would be hard to find in a car park, but never mind, the days of distinctive car design are pretty much over anyway.

    I have had a good look at one and I like the car, but that sun roof is a no-no, and without it there can be no LEDs or halogen lights. Fail Suzuki.

    At £17K tops – sans roof and fully kitted – this would be a great car.

    Sorry to be arsy, but I cut to the quick.
    Thanks. C

  3. Alisha


    Thanks for a very informative review. I have read one report of the TPMS sensors malfunctioning when winter tyres are swapped for the summer ones (leading to ESP and Hill Hold control warning lights coming on). Would you be able to comment on this issue when you come to do a more detailed review of the S-Cross? I’m interested in the 1.6 petrol but am holding off until I know more about this potential problem.

  4. Alisha

    Hi Chris,

    Sorry for not getting back to you earlier, I was away. Thanks a million for taking the trouble to contact Suzuki on my behalf! It’s a bit disappointing that Suzuki has not equipped the car with the more flexible TPMS system that allows the vehicle to recognize two sets of sensors without reprogramming. That would allow me to change to winter tyres and back without having to visit the dealer each time and obviously without the associated expense.

    Also, it’s reassuring to know that the Hill Hold Control issue is a minor niggle fixed under warranty; again I’d have hoped that this would have been set properly at the factory with no need for subsequent adjustment.

    On a different note: I was wondering whether you could give me any advice re. colour and trim. From the photographs I’ve seen online, I quite like lime (and perhaps blue), but unfortunately was not able to see a car in either colour at the dealer’s. I’ve seen the car in metallic white (which I liked but worry that dirt will show) and silver which is nice but boring. Have you seen an S-Cross in lime (or blue), and if so, what did you think? Another consideration for me is resale value and I worry that lime or blue might be less popular colours.

    I have a similar question about trim: SZ4 offers a few extra bits over SZ3 that I’d like to have (roof rails, fog lamps, tweeters, bluetooth) but also a few other things I could do without (esp. keyless start which I don’t particularly like as it is one more thing that can go wrong). Is it worth plumping for the SZ4 trim, though, to increase my chances of selling the car at a good price later on?

    Finally, any chance you might post your more detailed review of the car this month (December)?

    Best wishes,

  5. Alisha

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks very much for the additional info re. tyres. It’s good to know that the vehicle will recognise new tyres automatically without need for a re-set at the dealer’s. The winter tyre service offered by Suzuki sounds fantastic, I’ll have a chat with the dealer. Colour-wise, crystal lime and boost blue metallic both look very appealing in the photos, it’s just a bit of shame I can’t see them ‘in the metal’ to make sure I like the hue! I hear that these cars are quite susceptible to chipping, and I’ve actually seen a couple of (not very old) SX4s that had a lot of rust esp. at the door sills, so I’ll be reading your reviews of paint sealants with a lot of interest if I decide to go ahead…

    Best wishes,

  6. Colin

    I had a drive in the top of the range Diesel, and I was very impressed indeed. The headroom is indeed poor with the glass roof, but the next model down has most of the goodies without the complicated roof. A pity that only the top of the range car has LEDs though, and a self-dipping rear view mirror and xenon lights.

    But, it is an easy car to get perfectly comfortable in and it does what it says on the box. I drove it hard and loved every second, the handling was excellent and the performance of the Diesel surprising, as were the brakes. The instruments are very smart, and the DAB radio (essential in 2013) performed well. And the economy? I got 59 mpg, mostly in town but with a brief excursion to seventy. And this with three up and a cold engine. I was really going for it too. To say I was impressed by the drive would be to damn the car with faint praise.

    The fact that it has done excellently in the crash test, and this with such light weight, suggests that the quality of the engineering belies the rather dull looks.

    I think the colour range could be better, with a decent red metallic, but all in all I am very impressed indeed by this car. The Fiat 500 Trekking, with the same. 120 hp engine (only in Europe at present) offers 9 mpg worse fuel consumption! So, thumbs up to Suzuki for producing a clever, light, safe, well handling and very economical car.

    It’s on my list for next year.

  7. Alisha

    Hi Chris,

    Unfortunately, none of my local Suzuki dealers participate in the steel wheels+winter tyres+storage scheme, and Suzuki customer service do not have a database of participating dealers.

    Regarding TPMS valves and sensors, Suzuki customer service have confirmed that the S-Cross uses a rubber valve stem direct Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Typically, in this system each tyre is fitted with a TPMS sensor mounted inside a rubber valve. Whenever a tyre is removed, either because it’s worn or to switch to winter tyres, the valve-cum-sensor unit must also be replaced. According to website tirerack.com: “Attempting to reuse the original rubber snap-in valve and valve core may result in an air leak.” These valves may be “disposable” but they’re certainly not cheap. A local dealer quoted £60 inclusive of VAT for 1 x replacement valve and sensor, which quickly adds up if it’s the case that a new valve and sensor must be used each time a tyre is swapped! This makes switching to winter tires and back each year completely uneconomical. One would have to either buy a set of steel wheels+winter tyres+valves and then find somewhere to store them when not in use or else fit all-weather tyres. In addition, each sensor is fitted with a non-replaceable battery whose life expectancy depends on driving conditions. One article I read states, for example: “frequent on-off cycling of a TPMS, tire pressure sampling frequency and temperature extremes, will significantly shorten battery life.” As to whether the ECU will recognise a new sensor, the Suzuki official response above indicates that the S-Cross is equipped with a self learning system. If possible, I’d love to see a demonstration of how this works!

    Concerning the Continental Conti Eco Contact 5 tyres which come as standard on the S-Cross, I think they’re meant to contribute to the S-Cross’s high fuel efficiency and low CO2 emissions. However, Autoexrpess did a 2012 group test and its verdict was: “Curiously poor wet road performance isn’t balanced by dry grip and fuel economy excellence”.

  8. Colin

    Winter tyres are essential as far as I am concerned. Suddenly this car, as do most others, becomes problematic. They should fit the new all weather tyres as standard and remove the conundrum. A full set of winter wheels, tyres and sensors is unaffordable, and even the 4×4 comes only with summer tyres, as far as I know, and without the proper tyres the 4×4 feature is practically redundant. 2×4 with winter tyres trumps 4×4 without every time. Mmmmmm? Now what?

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