ON THE ROAD – IAN LYNAS DRIVES THE SUZUKI S-CROSS FULL HYBRID
The Suzuki S-Cross was replaced last year, a new version with stylish design, compact and easy to manage dimensions and good on-road performance and, as I discovered recently, good off road performance too!
I had the opportunity to drive the new model off road at the Heart of England, an activity centre close to Birmingham Airport and although the course used by Suzuki was relatively mild; on standard road tyres the S-Cross did very well. I have no doubt in my mind that few will ever elect to take their S-Cross off road, but over slippery roads and especially in winter having ALLGRIP selected four wheel drive will be a bonus. This system is fitted as standard for the Ultra grade and incorporates four driver-selectable modes for safe, enjoyable driving on diverse surfaces. It appeared in the S-Cross model at first launch in 2013 and has proved very successful. The system was enhanced by the addition of a feed forward function that allocates torque to the rear wheels before any slippage can occur and the system’s four driver-selectable modes are; Auto which prioritises fuel economy in typical driving conditions and uses two-wheel drive by default and it switches to four wheel drive if it detects wheelspin. The Sport mode is optimal for twisty roads and makes maximal use of four-wheel drive in accordance with accelerator inputs. At low and mid-range engine speeds, the system alters the accelerator/torque characteristics to optimise engine response and cornering performance. The Snow mode is optimal for snowy, unpaved, and other slippery surfaces and uses four-wheel drive by default. It optimises four-wheel drive control in accordance with steering and accelerator inputs to promote traction and stability on low friction surfaces. The Lock mode is for extricating the car from snow, mud, or sand. A limited slip differential is fitted which helps brake any slipping wheel and transfer torque to the gripping wheels. Worth noting on conventional full time 4WD vehicles, feedback control allocates torque to the rear wheels after detecting front wheel drive slippage.
Safety and security is paramount from this company and the new full hybrid S-Cross features a high level of active and passive safety equipment, seven airbags fitted as standard, Dual Sensor Brake Support, Lane Departure Prevention, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitor, Adaptive Cruise Control and Traffic Sign Recognition are fitted as standard on all full hybrid models, light impact absorbing body; speed limiter;ESP and tyre pressure monitoring system. One of the major changes for the S-Cross is the 140V hybrid power supply with EV which joins the existing 48V mild hybrid system; the 140V system is on the Ultra model while the Motion version uses the 48V system and the mild hybrid 1.4 litre continues with a manual transmission. The 1.5 litre petrol engine in the Ultra certainly performed well under all driving conditions and I enjoyed the Auto Gear Shift (AGS) that automatically shifts the manual transmission with gear ratios that are optimised to help provide a good combination of performance and fuel economy. This enables you to enjoy both the direct driving experience of a manual gearbox and the shifting ease of an automatic transmission. There is an advantage, lower component weight versus a conventional torque converter type automatic and this transmission also has a manual mode with steering wheel mounted shift paddles. Thanks to the suspension set up, front is MacPherson strut design the rear wheel suspension incorporates a beam design which provides superior rigidity and ride comfort. In the braking department, S-Cross has ventilated disc brakes at the front and solid disc brakes at the rear. Summing a great all rounder which benefits from the adoption of the availability of full hybrid, which will please many who may have or will shy away from a full EV and the added bonus is an extremely well appointed highly practical, compact vehicle.
The S-Cross Full Hybrid is on sale now in N.I. with sales commencing in the ROI in January.