Fiat 500L Trekking vs Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

11 Feb, 2014 10:56am

The supermini-based Fiat 500L Trekking is the latest to jump on the SUV bandwagon. Can it uproot the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross?

SUVS have huge appeal these days. Wherever you look, there are cars that embrace the chunky styling and tall ride height synonymous with off-roaders. And buyers can’t get enough of them, so manufacturers are keen to jump on the SUV bandwagon.

Fiat 500L Trekking review

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross review 

Take Fiat, for example. The only four-wheel-drive model it currently sells is the Panda 4x4, but in an effort to quickly expand its SUV portfolio, it’s introduced the 500L Trekking.

It’s based on the 500L MPV that was launched in 2012, and while it retains that car’s running gear, it gets a raised ride height, chunky styling add-ons, all-weather tyres and a revised traction control system that’s designed to optimise grip for slippery conditions. So where does this new model fit in?

To measure its abilities, we’ve lined up a car that was a revelation when we first tested it – the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross. It has the space, performance and pricing to give the Trekking a tough work-out, so can the newcomer chop it down to size?

Head-to-head

Practicality

While the Suzuki has the bigger boot with the seats up, the Fiat has more user-friendly touches. The back seats split 60:40, and slide back and forth. Both cars have false floors, but the 500L has more room underneath, while bag hooks on either side of the boot opening are a handy addition.

Running costs

Both cars have 50-litre fuel tanks, but the SX4 has a longer range as it’s more efficient. Band B road tax means you’ll pay £20 a year compared to £105 for the Fiat, while company car tax costs are also cheaper for the Suzuki.

Options

If you’re keen to customise your car, the 500L is the model to go for. There’s a wider variety of exterior colours, including contrasting white or black roofs, plus you can upgrade the audio to a £600 HiFi by Beats stereo. Another party piece is the Lavazza 500 Espresso Experience. This £150 option adds a coffee machine that sits between the front seats, and includes a pair of bespoke coffee cups designed to fit into the 500L’s cup-holders.

1st place - Suzuki

It's another victory for the SX4 S-Cross. While it can’t quite match the Fiat for cubby storage, and is pricier, it’s worth the extra for
its lower running costs and better performance. Add in more standard kit, a decent boot and engaging handling, and it’s a tough act to beat.

2nd place - Fiat

The Trekking is the best model in the 500L range. Its chunky add-ons give the awkward looks a lift, and its interior is more stylish than the SX4’s. Yet the engines aren’t up to scratch – even the most powerful 1.6 Multijet is overworked, and running costs are higher, too.

Suzuki SX4  Fiat 500L
S-Cross SZ-T Trekking
On the road price/total as tested £19,749/£20,179 £19,590/£21,440
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000) £9,124/46.2% £7,050/36.0%
Depreciation £10,625 £12,540
Annual tax liability std/higher rate £670/£1,339 £742/£1,485
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles) £1,261/£2,102 £1,781/£2,969
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost 19/£319/B/£20 15/£309/D/£105
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service £120/£220/£150 £164/£234/£164
Length/wheelbase 4,300/2,600mm 4,270/2,612mm
Height/width 1,575/1,765mm 1,679/1,800mm
Engine 4cyl in-line/1,598cc 4cyl in-line/1,598cc
Peak power/revs  118/3,750 bhp/rpm 104/3,750 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs  320/1,750 Nm/rpm 320/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission  6-spd man/fwd 6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel 50 litres/space saver 50 litres/space saver
Boot capacity (seats up/down) 430/875^ litres 343-400/1,310 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight 1,305/565/1,500kg 1,440/N/A/1,100kg
Turning circle 10.4 metres 10.7 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery 3yrs (60,000)/1yr AA 3yrs (60,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealers 12,500 miles (1yr)/149 21k miles (1yr)/160
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos. 29th/19th 30th/28th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars 92/80/72/5 94/78/65/5
0-60/30-70mph 9.7*/9.2 secs 13.5*/13.8 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 3.4/4.8 secs 4.8/6.3 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th 6.2/7.6 secs 8.2/11.3 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph  111mph/1,800rpm 109mph/2,000rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph  52.0/37.8/10.4m* 69.9/51.0/12.1m*
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph 68/48/63/69dB 72/51/63/68dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range 59.6/13.1/656 miles 42.2/9.3/464 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined  55.3/76.3/67.2mpg 50.4/68.9/60.1mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined  12.2/16.8/14.8mpl 11.1/15.2/13.2mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket 127/110g/km/17% 179/122g/km/19%
Airbags/Isofix/parking sensor/camera Seven/yes/rear/yes Six/yes/rear/£270
Auto box/tyre monitor/stab/cruise ctrl No/yes/yes/yes No/no/yes/no
Climate control/leather/heated seats Yes/no/no £300/part/£175
Met paint/panoramic roof/keyless go £430/no/yes £850/£550/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth Yes/yes/yes/yes £500/yes/£100/yes

Disqus - noscript

IMHO "Gopping" would be a more appropriate name for the FIAT than "Trekking"! However the Suzuki is not particularly good either.

BMW Mini have some odd looking models but they have not yet made a car that's as ugly as a 500L.

Broadly I agree but do think the Countryman and Paceman are at least as ugly as the 500L, principally because the BMW vehicles have some dreadful detailing. Both the latter IMHO look "better" in photographs than reality whilst the reverse is true of the FIAT

Bit odd that the FIAT is marked down because its engines "are not up to scratch" because the diesels in both cars are FIAT's 1.6 Multijet. Maybe the SX4 had the new Multijet 2 and the 500L was using the older generation engine. Or maybe the 500L is a bit lardy?

True! Having seen the 500L both in the showroom and on the road it is far better looking in the metal.

The Suzuki is a light weight,1085 to 1190kg. I'd like to see the petrol models back to back also.

Would take the S-Cross (in petrol form). It's clearly the best all rounder.

Having seen a 500L this morning my thoughts that these are better in reality than in pictures have firmed up. It is at least tolerable whereas the Countryman is never ever better than a gargoyle. In particular the alloys look like cheap retro fits from a motor accessories shop.

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