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Car group tests

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross vs rivals

Can the new Suzuki SX4 S-Cross beat established Skoda Yeti and Nissan Qashqai rivals?

The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is the latest example of how the company has always gone its own way with its range of nippy city cars, sharp superminis and durable 4x4s. With the all-new S-Cross it's now it’s jumping head-first into the established family crossover class. 

While the SX4 name is familiar from Suzuki’s high-riding hatchback, the new model is larger, with space for five and a generous boot. For its test debut, we’ve lined up the top-spec 1.6-litre diesel SZ5 against two rivals that will give it a tough time. 

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Suzuki SX4 S-Cross review

Nissan Qashqai review

Skoda Yeti review

First up is the Skoda Yeti. It’s long been one of our favourite crossovers, as it offers practicality, decent handling and – if you go for the GreenLine model tested here – low running costs. Meanwhile, the Nissan Qashqai set the template for crossovers and it’s still going strong. We try the 1.6-litre diesel in 360 trim, which gets a decent amount of kit, including a surround-view camera system.

So can the new Suzuki make a dramatic impact on this competitive class – or will the established cars maintain their dominance?

Boot space 

Only 14 litres separate the three cars’ boot capacities with the back seats in place. The Suzuki just has the upper hand, with 430 litres. Its back seats are easy to fold, and it offers a flat floor once they’ve been lowered. The Skoda gains an advantage as its rear seats are removable. Taking them out frees up 1,760 litres – although the seats are heavy and need to be stored somewhere. The Nissan has a high floor, yet there’s no storage space beneath.

Parking aids 

The Skoda has rear parking sensors, while the Suzuki gets a rear camera and sensors all round. The Nissan has front, rear and wing-mirror cameras that provide a bird’s-eye view, but the on-screen display is on the small side.

Running costs 

During its time on test, the Suzuki returned an impressive 59.6mpg, plus it emits the least CO2 here, too, at 110g/km. So while the Skoda is over £1,000 cheaper to buy, SX4 S-Cross drivers will enjoy lower company car tax bills. One downside of Suzuki ownership is that service intervals are only 9,000 miles apart. The Qashqai can travel twice as far before needing a dealer check, while the Skoda has variable intervals (from 10,000 to 20,000 miles, depending on your style of driving).

1st place - Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 

This verdict was a close call, but the SX4 S-Cross clinched victory. There are some niggles about rear passenger space and cabin storage is limited, but these negatives are outweighed by the big boot, lively driving dynamics and low running costs. The top-spec SZ5 model is loaded with kit for a great price, too. There are four trim levels – SZ3, SZ4, SZ-T and SZ5 – plus a choice of 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines. Top-spec SZ5 cars offer an optional ALLGRIP four-wheel-drive system or a CVT automatic. 

2nd place - Skoda Yeti 

The Yeti’s getting on a bit, although it’s still a spacious and sharp-handling crossover. It’s just not at its best in GreenLine spec. The ride is firm, while the noisy engine is underpowered and not as economical as you’d think. This should hopefully be addressed with an updated version next year. You can also buy a Skoda Yeti Adventure special-edition model, based on the SE-spec Yeti. It adds new alloy wheels, a black roof, sat-nav, a DAB radio, special seat trim and Adventure logos. It costs £18,640 in 2.0 TDI 110 2WD form or £21,215 as a 2.0 TDI 140 4x4.

3rd place - Nissan Qashqai 

While the Qashqai remains a very good car, it finishes third here simply because its rivals are so strong. It handles well, the 1.6 dCi engine mixes performance and economy well and there’s a decent amount of kit. But a high list price spoils things financially and the smallest boot on test limits practicality.

 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS SZ5Skoda Yeti 1.6 TDI Elegance GreenLine IINissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi 130 360
On the road price/total as tested£21,749/£22,199£20,665/£20,665£23,590/£23,590
Residual value (after 3yrs/36k miles)£9,809/45.1%£9,175/44.4%£10,120/42.9%
Depreciation£11,940£11,490£13,470
Annual tax liability (std/higher rate)£738/£1,475£742/£1,484£847/£1,695
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,298/£2,164£1,630/£2,716£1,415/£2,359
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost19/£334/B/£2012/£301/C/£3022/£351/C/£30
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£120/£220/£150£499 (3yrs/30k)£109/£169/£229
    
Length/wheelbase4,300/2,600mm4,223/2,578mm4,330/2,630mm
Height/width1,575/1,765mm1,691/1,793mm1,615/1,780mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,598cc4cyl in-line/1,598cc4cyl in-line/1,598cc
Peak power/revs118/3,750 bhp/rpm104/4,400 bhp/rpm128/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs320/1,750 Nm/rpm250/1,500 Nm/rpm320/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission6-spd man/fwd5-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel50 litres/space saver55 litres/repair kit65 litres/space saver
Boot capacity (seats up/down)430/875* litres416/1,580 litres410/860* litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,305/565/1,500kg1,335/620/1,400kg1,498/415/1,400kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient10.4 metres/N/A10.0 metres/0.36Cd10.6 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/1yr3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers9k miles (1yr)/149Variable/13518k miles (1yr)/225
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos29th/19th2nd/7th12th/11th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./starsN/A92/78/46/55/4/2/N/A^
    
0-60/30-70mph9.7/9.2 secs**12.2/12.4 secs9.9/9.6 secs**
30-50mph in 3rd/4th3.4/4.8 secs5.2/8.6 secs3.7/5.1 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th6.2/7.6 secs13.0 secs/N/A6.9/7.9 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph111mph/1,800rpm109mph/2,100rpm118mph/2,200rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph52.0/37.8/10.4m**56.5/40.6/10.7m57.7/41.7/7.9m**
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph68/48/63/69dBN/A64/47/62/68dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range59.6/13.1/656 miles47.5/10.4/575 miles54.7/12.0/782 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined55.3/76.3/67.2mpg54.3/67.3/61.4mpg51.4/72.4/62.8mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined12.2/16.8/14.8mpl11.9/14.8/13.5mpl11.1/15.2/13.2mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket127/110g/km/17%159/119g/km/18%138/119g/km/18%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSeven/yes/yes/yesSix/yes/rear/noSix/yes/rear/yes
Automatic box/stability/cruise controlNo/yes/yesNo/yes/yesNo/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yesYes/part/no
Met paint/4WD/xenons/keyless go£430/£1,800/y/y£495/no/yes/no£525/£1,555/n/n
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yes£1,630/£175/£1,630^^/yYes/yes/no/yes
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