22 September 2016

Major upgrade to S-Cross

A substantially revised Suzuki SX4 S-Cross will go on sale in Ireland in mid-October, with new engines and transmission options, writes Brian Byrne. It will be priced from €20,995.

The most significant sheetmetal changes are to the front end, which has a completely new grille design and a taller look. The ride height has been raised by some 15mm. Completely new LED headlights add to the new stronger look and LEDs have also been used in the rear lights, which retain much of their original style.

The interior of the car also gets a refresh, with softer dashboard materials addressing some complaints about those used in the model up to now. The overall effort was to meet suggestions that the original S-Cross 'didn't look enough like an SUV'.

But the most important and interesting changes are under the hood, with the inclusion of a version of the 1.0 Boosterjet petrol turbo engine recently introduced with the Baleno, as well as a similarly turbocharged 1.4 with 140hp on tap. The CVT automatic previously available has now been changed to a conventional 6-speed automatic, preferred by Europeans. A 1.6 diesel will still be available in Ireland, but Suzuki will be mounting a strong campaign to get across a message of the efficiency and other advantages of the petrol cars.

Along with the revised S-Cross and the new Vitara S launched earlier this year, Suzuki in Ireland and the UK will be expecting strong performance from the small and compact SUV sector, already representing around half of the brand's sales in the markets. A new Ignis to be shown at the upcoming Paris Motor Show will launch early next year and provide a unique challenge to Fiat's Panda 4x4.

In further plans, a completely new Swift is being launched next summer.

In the UK, Suzuki is on track to have a record sales year in 2016, while in Ireland sales are up 56pc against the same period last year.