New Suzuki Across 2020 review
The Suzuki Across is essentially a rebadged Toyota RAV4, but it brings plug-in hybrid power to the Japanese brand for the first time
Suzuki has used its relationship with Toyota to good advantage with the Across. It’s a tempting model, especially if you plan to run it as a company car and take advantage of the low tax rates – assuming your company is willing to spend over £45,000 on it. It’s quick, well built, easy to live with and spacious. But we found the ride a bit too firm for us, while the forthcoming identical Toyota version will certainly beat it on warranty, if not price.
Suzuki (which is helping Toyota in the Indian market by way of return) has made a couple of mild cosmetic tweaks to the RAV4 – spot the grille and bumper changes – but otherwise the Across and its Toyota counterpart are identical.
And that means some impressive stats. With an 18.1kWh battery on board, electric only running will stretch to 46 miles according to official WLTP figures (which also claim an average mpg of 282mpg). And with our test returning an impressive 3.2 miles/kWh, that all-electric range is eminently achievable.
CO2 figures are super-low at 22g/km, resulting in an impressive Benefit in Kind tax rate of just 6 per cent versus at least 10 per cent of most plug-in rivals. That could result in real savings if your firm is happy to stump up £45,599 for your company car in the first place.
Performance is good, too; a 0-62mph time of 6.0 seconds again beats most rivals, while it’ll cling on to electric power as much as possible without resorting to the 2.5-litre petrol engine until the battery is exhausted or you really stamp on the throttle.
The RAV4 is a car we like, so much of that fondness carries over to the Across. Quality inside is good with nice soft-touch plastics where you want them most and everything screwed together well – as you’d expect from a car built by Toyota. The interior design is a big step up from Toyotas of the recent past, too.
There’s space aplenty in the front, back and boot – the latter offering 490-litres of luggage room, which may be 90 litres down on the standard hybrid RAV4 (giving a clear indication where the bigger battery has gone) but still a decent size and shape.
The powered hatch reveals an easy to load flat floor and seats that fold down to grow the boot space to 1,198 litres. There are plenty of useful storage spots around the interior, too; in front of the driver, passenger, in the doors and between the seats. And it’s a car that’s easy to get in and out of with wide-opening doors that open and shut nicely, too.
The one-size-fits-all spec includes heated leather seats and steering wheel, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control with lane keep assist and a whole host of active and passive safety features that all go some way to justifying that high price.
As the Across makes use of Toyota’s latest TGNA platform, it actually handles okay for a large plug-in hybrid SUV. The E-Four 4x4 system provides good grip on slippery wintery roads, while the transition from electric to petrol power is seamless and quiet – this is a refined car.
However, the 300kg extra weight of the bigger battery has had a big effect on the usually plush ride of the standard RAV4 – it’s firm, bordering on the harsh.
We could feel the extra weight, even on newly re-laid surfaces on our test route, with a constant fidgeting interrupted by the occasional thud if you go over a bigger bump or pothole. It makes you thankful for the excellent Toyota build quality otherwise we’d be wary of rattles over time. We’d recommend a decent test drive to make sure you – and anyone you carry in the car – can live with it.
It’s a shame, really, because otherwise foibles are few. The digital instrument panel is overloaded with information and could do with a single, clear mph read-out, but otherwise the Across is a car with plenty of easy-to-use appeal.
Until Toyota names its price for the RAV4 plug-in, the Across looks expensive to buy, if not to run – it’s up in Evoque plug-in hybrid territory. It also comes with a three-year 60,000 mile warranty, while the Toyota will get five years and 100,000 miles of cover.
|2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol plus 18.1kWh battery
|CVT automatic, four-wheel drive