Sales of crossovers – or SUVs as they’re also called – are booming.
The only downside of that is they’re everywhere. Sure, the Nissan Qashqai’s an outstanding car but there are probably about five of them on your street alone.
What’s out there for people who don’t want to follow the herd? One option is this, the Suzuki S-Cross.
Smaller than the company’s other SUV, the Vitara, it’s been moderately successful since it was launched back in 2013. It lagged behind in the looks department, however, and now Suzuki has revamped it – with more muscular styling and a snazzy chrome grille.
It’s not as pretty as the beautifully proportioned Qashqai but its looks are much improved and haven’t been dulled through familiarity.
More important than its appearance, for many people, is it’s price, which is a good deal lower than rivals such as the Qashqai and Skoda Yeti.
Prices start at around £15,000 – an entry level Qashqai is around £19,000 and a Yeti a grand less than that.
That buys you the 1.0 litre, three cylinder turbo petrol engine, with 111bhp.
There’s also a 1.4 litre turbo petrol engine and a 1.6 litre diesel.
I drove the 1.4 litre Boosterjet petrol model with four-wheel drive and in top spec SZ5 trim, which cost £24,199.
The “Allgrip” four-wheel drive system costs around £1,800 extra but it’s well worth having for many buyers in Courier Country. Not only does it give extra traction in the winter, it ensures no wheel spin when pulling away from junctions during heavy spring showers.
Inside, cabin materials have been improved and there’s a large touchscreen infotainment system.
All models get 16in alloys, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, cruise control, electric heated mirrors and air-con. SZ-T spec adds sat-nav, parking sensors with reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, auto lights and wipers, keyless entry and an upgraded stereo system. Top spec SZ5 models have leather seats, cruise control, panoramic sunroof and heated front seats.
The S-Cross handles well for an SUV and rides smoothly too. It’s not as refined as some rivals but you get used to a little extra road noise.
It’s a little shorter than the Qashqai but squeezes a lot of space into its compact footprint. Legroom in the back is good and the boot’s a useful size.
The S-Cross is good enough to drive, terrific value, and stands out from the crowd.