2024 Suzuki S-Cross review | CarExpert
2024 Suzuki S-Cross review | CarExpert

2024 Suzuki S-Cross review | CarExpert

February 20, 2024


The Suzuki S-Cross is a very viable option for those looking for a small, safe, and reliable SUV.

Unfortunately for Suzuki, it has been left off most people’s consideration list due to the competitive nature of the segment and – until recently – the price. Suzuki is now taking at least $2500 (up to $3500) off the price of the S-Cross, which makes it a more compelling and competitive choice for buyers who may have otherwise overlooked the little SUV.

Now it’s also available with front-wheel drive, dropping the drive-away price below $40,000. We need to take another look at what it has to offer.

The third-generation S-Cross looks a bit more expensive than it actually is. With a sophisticated exterior design, it arguably outdoes the first-generation S-Cross – known as the SX4 – penned by Italdesign and Giorgetto Giugiaro, the team responsible for the Ferrari 250 GT, along with plenty of Maserati and Lotus vehicles.

The model you see here in its absolute base form is actually not a Japanese car. Suzuki is a well-known Japanese brand that has created cult vehicles like the Swift and Jimny (and plenty of others), but this S-Cross is actually built in Hungary and exported here.

While some European brands are now owned by and make cars in China (hello Volvo, Polestar), charging premium pricing utilising significantly cheaper labor, Suzuki remains a Japanese brand making cars in Europe. Figure that one out.

If buying a European-made car means anything to you, that’s a tick for the new Suzuki S-Cross.

How does the Suzuki S-Cross fare vs its competitors?

View a detailed breakdown of the Suzuki S-Cross against similarly sized vehicles.

Suzuki S-Cross cutout image



How much does the Suzuki S-Cross cost?

Here is where things get a little complicated, because Suzuki Australia and Suzuki Queensland are two different companies and right now, it’s the Queensland distributor doing up to $3500 off the price of an S-Cross.

On any S-Cross AWD model you will get a $2000 factory discount plus a $1500 Coles-Myer gift card (which you can also use at Shell fuel stations). Those figures drop to a $1500 factory discount and $1000 Coles-Myer Gift Card for 2WD models.

Suzuki S-Cross pricing:

  • 2024 Suzuki S-Cross 2WD: $39,990 drive-away ($37,490 with discount in Queensland)
  • 2024 Suzuki S-Cross 2WD Plus: $42,490 drive-away ($39,990 with discount in Queensland)
  • 2024 Suzuki S-Cross AWD: $44,490 drive-away ($42,490 with discount in Queensland)
  • 2024 Suzuki S-Cross AWD Plus: $46,990 drive away ($44,490 with discount in Queensland)
  • 2024 Suzuki S-Cross AWD Prestige: $47,990 drive away ($45,490 with discount in Queensland)

To see how the S-Cross shapes up against its rivals, use our comparison tool.

What is the Suzuki S-Cross like on the inside?

The interior of the S-Cross is perhaps where a few buyers might find themselves wondering if they should look elsewhere.

There’s no denying some competitors present a more modern layout and infotainment, but the question has to be asked – is there anything wrong with simplicity? Sometimes less is more, and the S-Cross embodies that with a simple, yet extremely ergonomic and useable interior.

The base model comes with more than you actually need, especially in Queensland, with features like heated seats – an almost unnecessary addition on an entry variant. The cabin has a tall roof that can accommodate four large adults in comfort, while the seats and abundance of storage and cupholders make the S-Cross pleasant inside.

It could definitely do with a fully digital instrument cluster instead of the analogue dials and tiny display it has, though.

You still get a pretty decent 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The base car doesn’t get wireless CarPlay; you need to upgrade to the Plus variant for that and a larger 9.0-inch system (in addition to a surround-view camera, leather upholstery, and a better audio system), but it does the job.

You can add wireless CarPlay with a dongle from Amazon for about $75, so that shouldn’t hold you back, but the leather seats and better camera might entice some to upgrade.

We would like to see Suzuki consider changing the way it laminates the screen. It seems to have used the same methodology as Honda, where the display itself sits back from the finishing glass, allowing for a layer of reflection when in direct sun.

Additionally, switching the now antiquated USB-A port to USB-C seems like a good idea.

The interior itself is well put together with no obvious gaps in quality. We would like to see soft plastics on the door cards where you naturally rests your elbow, but outside of that the switchgear, controls, and the cabin have a very Japanese-quality feel to them.

Despite being a small SUV, the S-Cross is spacious for a family of four, and with the boot allowing for a decent 430 litres of storage (expanding to 1230L with the rear seats folded) it can definitely handle the weekly shopping haul and a small pram.

The dual-tier boot floor allows for a choice between a flat-loading lip or additional space. It also offers small storage tubs, a 12V socket, and a space-saver spare under the floor.

What’s under the bonnet?

All Suzuki S-Cross variants are powered by the same engine, a 1.4-litre ‘Boosterjet’ four-cylinder turbo petrol engine generating 103kW of power and 220Nm of torque.

Unlike the all-wheel drive models from launch, the variant tested here send all of that to the front wheels. We expected that to create some challenges, but as you’ll see below the base model doesn’t feel like it’s missing out.

What makes this engine work better is that Suzuki uses a conventional six-speed torque-converter automatic with paddles instead of the continuously variable transmission (CVT) some of its competitors use. This may bring a small fuel economy disadvantage in some situations, but it allows for a much better driving experience.

According to Suzuki Australia, the S-Cross uses 5.9 litres per 100km, equating to emissions of 145g/km. In real-world testing during our time with the car, that seemed very achievable.

How does the Suzuki S-Cross drive?

Despite the base model S-Cross losing its all-wheel system, the average driver would struggle even to realise the gutsy 1.4-litre engine is hooked up to only the front wheels.

The S-Cross is a well-balanced package that delivers on Suzuki’s promise of making fun and engaging cars to drive.

Utilising a conventional six-speed automatic helps make this small SUV feel more lively and ready to go than if it had opted for a CVT like some of its competitors.

Suzuki has decided to include paddle shifters on the steering wheel, but we can assure you these will likely never be used outside the honeymoon period.

We tested the front-wheel drive S-Cross during some of the heaviest rain Brisbane has had in the last few years and even drove it through a few puddles that ended up being more like mini rivers, and at no point in time did the lack of all-wheel drive affect the car’s grip or driveability.

Of course if you intend to go to the beach or go soft roading on country roads, the extra $2500 for all-wheel drive is probably worth it. If this is an urban crawler that’ll spend its life going to Coles and dropping the kids at school, save yourself the money and you’ll have no regrets.

Although the engine and transmission are in sync and up to the task, the best commendation we can bestow on the S-Cross is its excellent visibility and driving position. Despite not exactly being a large and super high-riding SUV, the S-Cross features excellent ergonomics and outward visibility, undoubtedly one of the best in any SUV in its segment.

The seating position allows the driver to see almost over the whole front of the S-Cross without having to be a giant, while the side view through the A-pillars and rearward visibility both remain excellent.

Another surprise for us in the S-Cross was the very supple ride. Given Brisbane is a pothole-infested city, where rain washes away half the roads each month, the S-Cross was a surprisingly well-sorted and engineered package when it came to traversing dreadful bitumen.

Though it presents a little bit more body roll in tight corners than you may expect from a Suzuki, the upside is the ride is soft and well-suited to Australian roads.

From a driving perspective, the S-Cross is a genuine surprise. It has a fuel efficient but gutsy engine that’s well coupled to the rest of the drivetrain, riding on a soft package that almost feels as though it is engineered for Australia’s poorly surfaced roads – perhaps Hungary is no better?

What do you get?

S-Cross + S-Cross AllGrip highlights:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Automatic LED headlights
  • Daytime running lights
  • Front fog lights
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Keyless entry and start
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Roof rails
  • 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment
  • Satellite navigation
  • Wired Apple CarPlay
  • Wired Android Auto
  • DAB radio
  • 6-speaker sound system
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Manually adjustable fabric seats

S-Cross Plus adds:

  • 17-inch polished alloy wheels
  • 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Satellite navigation
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay
  • 360-degree cameras
  • 7-speaker sound system
  • Leather-accented upholstery

S-Cross AllGrip Prestige adds:

Is the Suzuki S-Cross safe?

The Suzuki S-Cross’s five-star ANCAP safety rating was first awarded in 2013, and has expired as of June 2022.

Nonetheless, the Suzuki comes with an array of safety features that would suggest to us it would maintain a strong rating if it was tested today.

Standard safety features include:

  • 6 airbags
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Lane departure warning
  • Parking sensors front, rear
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Reversing camera
  • Weaving alert

S-Cross Plus adds:

How much does the Suzuki S-Cross cost to run?

Suzuki Australia and Suzuki Queensland (different distributors) provide a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty with roadside assistance and capped-price servicing.

Maintenance is required every 12 months or 10,000 kilometres – whichever comes first. The first five services will set you back a combined $1945.

CarExpert’s Take on the Suzuki S-Cross

The Suzuki S-Cross is the sort of SUV you can buy with a sense of confidence it’ll never give you any problems while providing a safe and enjoyable ownership experience.

When it launched in Australia, the price was limiting given the disparity between this model and its predecessor, but now the markets have adjusted and a cheaper (equally good) front-drive has presented itself with an additional $2500 saving, the equation has one again changed in its favour.

If you are in the market for a small SUV, take the time to give the humble S-Cross a go and if it suits your needs, try and get the best deal possible.

Who knows where the final price may go?

Click the images for the full gallery

BUY: Suzuki S-Cross
MORE: Everything Suzuki S-Cross


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