Suzuki: 2014 S-Cross Limited AllGrip review

Suzuki: 2014 S-Cross Limited AllGrip review

Up to now the expanding breed of crossover vehicles have passed over my head without any interest, whatsoever.

I’ve dodged the temptation of owning any cars such as the Ford Territory or any Q-series Audi models, however realising the advantages of sitting up in traffic, and having a good loading capacity came about with the arrival of the 2014 Suzuki S-Cross AllGrip equipped with a CVT automatic transmission.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI learned to drive in the era where the sedan ruled, and the practical option was the station-wagon variant, and that was pretty much it.

The light bulb moment about the modern crossover came when my wife took me shopping and I realised what I had been missing out on.

Shopping is where our hard earned dollars go, and we the male of the species often have to sort out the transport, installation, programming and any warranty issues that might pop up from said retail therapy.

Her indoors gets the thrill of the chase also known as the purchase, and I get the challenge of making it happen. Its just OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlike playing a support role to the main character if you get my drift.

Purchase number one for the day was a rollaway bed for a guest arriving at short notice, and this slid straight in the rear of the S-Cross without need for lowering the back seats.

Purchase number two was at the demonic garden centre where it could be a packet of seeds but not this trip. No it’s six 40 litre bags of expensive green waste now called compost.

Do the rear seats in the S-Cross need to be dropped yet? Well no.

Once upon a time it was, ‘will it fit’ where today its ‘when won’t it fit?’.

In many cases this size of vehicle will carry more than the old station wagon would, and that’s a big tick to practicality.

I had previously driven the front-wheel-drive drive S-Cross variant and to be fair these appeared similar in many respects to the original SX4, although the cabin area is more capacious and fresh with up to the minute styling.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe AllGrip arrived as a long term review car and this meant we could live with it and get to know it better.

The AllGrip version of the S-Cross is a cost effective and sensible solution for those who want to visit the snow-clad mountains or need better grip on loose chip and dirt roads but don’t need the bulk and heft or fuel cost of a bigger SUV.

Its not a four-wheel drive system as in heavy-duty mud plugger, but AllGrip is a more intuitive use of the driveline which been developed with the future in mind as its not aggressive, which usually means high tyre wear.

In Auto mode, its completely effortless with no thinking involved, as the vehicle sorts out everything for you although you can switch between Snow or Sport modes. Simple, effective and efficient.

Being Auckland there was little in the way of snow to test the drive mode and a quick gallop up SH16 to Wellsford, and back showed the Sport mode lifted the engine revs to get more response to the driver pressing for action. Good for the twisty bits but a little tiring after a while.

Its detractors might see the negative for Suzuki S-Cross as being underpowered, but like all things it has a reason for being, and sporting grunt is not invited to the party.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe engine is the very durable 1.6-litre M16A that features in Suzuki Swift Sport albeit detuned for crossover application, and extremely fuel efficient when combined with CVT and cruise control. A claimed 5.8L/100kms had us zeroing the odometer to see if the 1730kg gross weight would allow the car to be that miserly.

The compromise is always going to be performance when you ask a smaller size engine to do a job of moving such a sizeable mass.

With CVT you will get engine revs climbing at different times to a standard automatic transmission where gearing is fixed, and you make the ‘go’ sound with your accelerator, clutch operation and gear changes.

The CVT works this out for you and the benefit is seamless cruising on motorways and open roads, until something steep gets in they way.

The average fuel use is extremely good for the amount of people and luggage you can pack into the S-Cross, which really is the point of the exercise.

The automatic headlights and wipers are most welcome in this level of vehicle, as many will be purchased for the family bus or a ‘see me out’ chariot. The less distractions the better for this application and anything automatic is a bonus.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALikewise the double DIN size audio unit with reversing camera standard makes sure reversing is safe for everyone, while the touch screen cycles well through Radio, CD audio, Media and Phone connectivity with ease.

The first service check at 1,000kms came round quickly and I called back through to Wingers Suzuki in Greenlane to have the levels checked.

As the S-Cross comes from a European Suzuki factory there are a few small differences to the usual Asian assembled fare. The trim and finish are slightly different if not better without the usual price penalty.

The best bit is standard fitting of Continental Conti Eco Contact5 tyres. These will surely help with minimal rolling resistance from the very quiet and plain looking tread pattern.

However, the 205/50R17 tyres on alloy rims provide a ride that is comfy, yet handling that is positive and assured when pressed to perform. The performance heritage of the Continental brand is immediately obvious.

The S-Cross is built in Europe without the price penalty faced by other European brands with the top of the line Limited offering very good value at $35990+ORC.

This is due to Suzuki NZ buying S-Cross in local currency at a fixed price which gives it market price stability.

You could spend more dosh on a European crossover to show off to your friends, or be sensible and purchase an S-Cross.

For the first part of this vehicles review the average fuel economy for mixed around town and motorway kilometres came in at a respectable 7.1L/100kms over three weeks using 95 RON and tyres at specification pressures.

The Suzuki S-Cross is mostly good in my opinion, although hopping back into the current Swift Sport afterwards reminded me that my taste is for performance more than practicality. But then I’m not the shopaholic.

Words and pictures:


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