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Suzuki launched their 2020 model year S-Cross with Hybrid Technology and recently I spent a week behind the wheel of a model which has become a firm favourite since it first took to our roads back in 2013.

The heart of the latest model is an eager and responsive new 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol engine featuring Boosterjet technology which offers a much wider spread of torque from around 2,000 rpm. Very akin to the basic principle of the 12V Hybrid system that Suzuki pioneered in 2016, which is now fitted to all manual transmission Ignis models and all Swift models, the newly developed 48V Hybrid powertrain for S-Cross remains very lightweight in design and its components add less than 15kg to the overall weight of the vehicle. This new higher-powered Suzuki system consists of a 48V lithium-ion battery, Integrated Starter Generator and 48V-12V (DC/DC) converter to power components requiring lower voltage including lights, audio and air conditioning. The ISG acts as both a generator and starter motor, is belt driven and assists the petrol engine during vehicle take off for a higher level of torque with 235Nm available from 2,000rpm and up to 3,000rpm. The compact and high-performance lithium-ion battery stores electrical energy recovered from deceleration and braking and incorporates an idle stop function operated via the Integrated Starter Generator. This battery, as well as the DC/DC convertor unit, is located under the front seats to assist overall weight distribution.

Having tested the S-Cross in an earlier form, handling and comfort is improved with the latest version. The 48V system also has new additional features which are Torque-fill control to raise engine response and Torque boost to make acceleration even smoother. These features enhance driving feel by adding torque from the electric motor to engine torque during acceleration. Based on engine speed and throttle position, the engine ECU judges when you accelerate and then uses electric motor assist to add additional torque and thereby bolster acceleration. In summary, a typical condition where Torque-fill control is utilised is when you press the accelerator quickly as the electric motor is able to supply additional torque to the petrol engine without delay.

Emissions and economy are key factors for most and this Suzuki caters well with 20 percent lower emissions and an equal percentage improvement in fuel economy, all very good news; now that is good news for most. Key to success is to offer the customer what he or she wants and there are three grades to pick from, SZ4, SZ-T and SZ5, the SZ4 was my test vehicle. While it is the entry level model, it still presents a very acceptable level of standard equipment. A nice feature and one which will be appreciated in summer comes with the SZ5, a double sliding panoramic sunroof. A useful option with the SZ5 for when the going gets tough is ALLGRIP Select four wheel drive. While the S-Cross may be smallish dimension wise, good packaging means that you get 430 litres of boot space. With ample room for five occupants with their luggage, ideal for families or the business user who requires a compact well appointed compact car.

The S-Cross is one of Suzuki’s world strategic models and makes strong statements in styling, impact safety, driving performance and handling. When Suzuki created the first S-Cross they combined their compact car knowledge with technologies honed for SUVs. The result, the S-Cross features distinctive crossover styling, 4WD performance and drive enjoyment. With the latest model, standard equipment across the range is comprehensive and the SZ4 model (as tested) includes seven airbags, LED projector headlights for low and high beam, Radar Brake Support, Auto headlights and wipers alloy wheels, DAB Radio with CD, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, Adaptive Cruise Control, dual-zone auto air conditioning and front and rear electric windows. Move up to the SZ-T which adds 17 inch polished alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, keyless entry with start button, white stitching for seat trim fabric, Smartphone link audio and navigation system. The range topping SZ5 adds leather upholstery with heated front seats and panoramic sunroof (already noted) and further choice with body colour. Summing up, Suzuki have produced a good all rounder, designed to cater for a wide audience.

Ian Lynas

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