DriveLife ventured to the Hawkes-Bay for the New Zealand launch of the all-new 2022 Suzuki S-Cross. The weather was bleak across the country, which made for a  choppy flight north, but this would allow us to test the new S-Cross in the wet and wild winter conditions New Zealand so often gets. 

Suzuki started the day’s presentation with a state of the nation update, which had similar information that we have heard from other manufacturers about supply chain issues. Logistics issues are still affecting the global market, with one major area being the cost of containers skyrocketing. Containers cost up to 8 x 10 times the rate before COVID, which is affecting all businesses, except the shipping industry, which saw record profits.  Like every other brand, Suzuki is also dealing with supply issues for parts, chips, and materials. 

To add to this, the emissions standards that New Zealand is fighting for are more aggressive than any of the countries that make the cars that are bought into New Zealand, which will cause issues or additional fines across products that are supplied to New Zealand. This could see all manufacturer’s prices jump anywhere from 5% – 10% to cover the costs of the emissions restrictions put in place by the government.

Regardless of all of these issues, Suzuki recently had a record year of sales, shifting 7853 units in New Zealand. This is in part due to the cost of living and fuel going up, with customers looking for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Note, this is not a record profit, just sales, as Suzuki is working hard to keep its products in the same price range they have always been in. This year saw a similar number, with each month of sales on average of 500 units. Suzuki is the number one brand in sales in the light and small SUV market in New Zealand. And last year Suzuki became the number two brand in Japan behind Toyota.

Suzuki are aware they are behind in the EV market. However,  they made a valid point that they entered  the market early, a Suzuki Swift EV could cost double what a normal Swift does. And who would pay for that? Especially when there are more offerings already in that price range. Suzuki did say that the range will expand their offering of hybrid models, and that the future partnership with Toshiba in India will see a range of BEV and EV models coming to New Zealand.

What’s In The 2022 Suzuki S-Cross Range?

The new S-Cross will be available in New Zealand with three model variants, JX Turbo 2WD ($35,990), JLX Turbo 2WD ($38,990) and the JLX Turbo AWD ($40,990). To break this down in simpler terms, there are two models, the JX and JLX. The JX only comes in 2-wheel drive, and the JLX comes in both 2-wheel and all-wheel drive.

Both models have the same K14C-DITC engine, a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine with Booster Jet technology. They create 103kW of power and 220Nm of torque. Both the 2WD and AWD models run the same 6-stage automatic transmission. It was interesting to note the new S-Cross takes a minimum fuel type of 95ron, pushing out of that cheaper 91ron fuel bracket. 

This engine also makes the new S-Cross carbon neutral in the eyes of the Government’s new Clean Car programme. This means there are no extra tariffs or charges when purchasing one. 

Both models are pretty well spec’d, with the JX Turbo having the following options;

  • 7-inch touchscreen infotainment
  • 6 speaker tuner / SD
  • Bluetooth
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • USB Input
  • 4.2-inch LCD driver display
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Keyless entry and push-button start
  • Dual control heated seats, 
  • Fabric seat upholstery
  • Privacy glass on rear doors and hatch
  • 17-inch silver alloy wheels
  • LED headlights with auto-levelling and daytime running lights
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop-go function
  • Engine immobiliser
  • Dual sensor brake support
  • Lane departure warning
  • Weaving alert
  • Blind spot monitor
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Reverse camera
  • Parking sensors
  • Electric stability programme
  • ABS with EBD and brake assist
  • Dual front airbags
  • Driver and passenger side airbags
  • Front and rear curtain airbags
  • Drivers knee airbag
  • ISOFIX child seat anchors

The JLX Turbo has all of those things and more, 

  • 9-inch touchscreen infotainment
  • Satelite navigation
  • 7 speaker tuner / SD
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay
  • ALLGRIP 4-mode drive systems on AWD model
  • Leather-effect upholstery
  • 17-inch polished alloy wheels
  • 360-degree view camera

The S-Cross is available in a range of colours, 7 in total, Cool White Pearl, Silky Silver, Canyon Bronze Pearl Metallic, Sphere Blue Pearl, Energetic Red Pearl, Titan Dark Grey Pearl Metallic and Cosmic Black Pearl, which is only available on the JLX Turbo.

First Impressions Of The 2022 Suzuki S-Cross

The new S-Cross has a modern updated look, which was more apparent when sitting next to the previous generation. The new front end has a much more sophisticated and high-end look. The raised grille and what seems like a flatter bonnet makes the S-Cross look like a much bigger vehicle. 

The rear has changed just as much, making more of a statement than the previous model. The rear taillight bridge across the tailgate again lifts the overall feel of the vehicle and gives it a strong stance. 

I thought the Cayon Bronze Pearl Metallic was a great colour, that really set off features.

What’s The Interior Like In The 2022 Suzuki S-Cross?

The first thing you notice when you are inside the new S-Cross is that it’s very spacious. I shared the drive with another journalist, and neither of us are small men. Even so, we did not feel cramped and both had enough space to get and stay comfortable throughout the road test part of the launch. 

The interior of the JX Turbo vs the JLX Turbo are not substantially different, with the seats being the major difference between the fabric upholstery for the JX and the leather effect for the JLX. Both seats were comfortable with good all-around support, there were no complaints from either of the occupants. 

Space in the back is good too, without changing the driving position, I fit easily into the rear with great leg room. The seats in the rear were not as supportive as the front, but they were just as comfortable. 

Like most Suzuki’s, the driver display was kept simple and two was the central console, with large easy-to-use buttons, clearly outlining what buttons do what. The main display was fluid to navigate, with a great home screen that displayed your nav, radio and fuel consumption. 

The boot was a surprise when you opened it, a lot more space than I had expected. With the back seats up, the boot is a spacious 440 litres, and when they are down this grows to 1230 litres.

What’s The 2022 Suzuki S-Cross Like To Drive?

If I had been told nothing about the S-Cross, told to jump in and drive it, then to give some feedback on the engine, I would not have guessed at all that it was a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine. It does not scream like it’s struggling for power, it actually goes rather well, more like a 2.0-litre to be honest. Even with my foot to the floor the S-Cross picked up without any fuss and propelled me down the road.

Steering is very light in the new S-Cross, with an average amount of feel through the wheel. The steering was good, but I felt with a bit more driver feel, it could have been great. 

Cabin noise is low, and even road noise from the Continental tyres was not very noticeable. The only thing that did break the silence was when I used the paddles to jump down into a lower gear on the back road section of our test. 

Overall the S-Cross handled well in the wet conditions of the day, with only one or two hiccups, which came from the drivers pushing it a bit far on some tight corners. That being said, the S-Cross never missed a beat and we had a couple of fun moments too.

On the driving route set by Suzuki, we passed through residential and rural areas, which allowed us to test it in a wide range of conditions. 

The main thing I was impressed with while driving the new S-Cross was the array of safety features which come as standard. I was able to test a few of these out of our drive, the weave alert which warns you that you are drifting across the lines and helps you back over it and the addition of the new 360-degree camera in the JLX models. This camera has two modes, an outside birds-eye view, and an inside looking out view. The birds-eye view makes sense, great for parking and tight spaces. But none could figure out where or how you would use the inside view. 

What are our thoughts on the 2022 Suzuki S-Cross?

In our short time with the new S-Cross, it was hard to fault it. It’s a jack of all trades but a master of none, which might sound harsh, but it’s not a bad thing. Suzuki has always focused on the light and small SUV market, with value for money being their key lure. The S-Cross is no different, with the top-spec S-Cross being cheaper than the alternative base model from other manufacturers that are several thousand dollars more. 

Compared to the old model, Suzuki has stepped up their game, with more options and features while keeping the cost where it needs to be for their customers. 

In the not too distant future, we hope to have the new Suzuki S-Cross on a full review, where we will dive deep into all the features. Stay tuned to see when this review is published.

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John Galvin (JSG)
It started at a young age with bedroom posters, the Countach of course. This slowly grew into a super car die-cast model collection, fifty five 1:18 models at the last count. At which point it had almost taken full control, the incurable Mad Car Disease ran deep though my veins all the way to the bone. And things for my loved ones just got worse as the cars where now being bought at 1:1 scale, after a BMW, HSV, and couple of Audi's, the disease reached my brain, pushing me over the edge and down the rabbits hole into the world of the bedroom poster.


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