S Cross - the Swiss army knife of crossover
Built-wise, it may look like a car, but it's really a crossover SUV that is intended to take drivers all over Jamaica. At first glance, it's hard to miss the pronounced chrome-front grille, which gives it an aggressive and fearless appearance. Complementing this are the bold three-dimensional contoured LED headlamps, which are connected to a light sensor and will automatically turn on when it gets dark as long as auto mode is selected. Giving additional lumination are the chrome-accented fog lamps, which come in useful on rainy days.
The theme continues on to the bonnet, where the sheet metal has sharp creases that exude durability. The body of the vehicle rests on 17" chrome alloy rims that help to accomplish seven inches of ground clearance for off-road driving.
The SX4, which has been on the Jamaican market since the mid 2000s, has been steadily gaining traction with its all-terrain approach. Now in its second generation, the SX4 no longer comes in a sedan version, which was replaced by the Suzuki Ciaz.
The layout of the interior is airy with flowing lines that allow the vehicle to have a roomy feel, which gives the driver and passenger adequate space for comfort. The manually adjusted fabric seats are very comfortable, and the headrests are very soft, which contributes to a relaxing ride, especially on long journeys. The general seating position is mildly elevated and will give the driver the impression that he is in a bigger vehicle. Nonetheless, this, along with the steering, can be adjusted in multiple way to ensure that the driver is in a good position.
In the dial cluster is the multi-information display, a small screen which allows the driver to have an easy view of information such as fuel consumption, driving range, drive mode, and parking sensors.
In the centre of the dashboard is a non-obtrusive entertainment system that comes with Bluetooth and USB connectivity. The screen is on the smaller side, and as such, there is a slight learning curve to navigate the different menus. Once this is mastered, it becomes easy to find playlists or access different media input.
Below the infotainment is the dual-climate control systems, which is one of the best A/C units on the market. Even on a hot Jamaican summer day, the temperature had to be turned up because it was getting too cold.
At first, while in auto mode, the 1.6-litre engine felt a bit underwhelming and boring, but that's because it's conserving on gas, which it does a very good job at. In this mode, most of the power is going to the front wheels and it keeps the rev needle as low as possible. Choosing this option will easily allow someone to drive from Kingston to Negril and back on a full tank of gas.
For those who want a more engaging drive, simply turn the drive-mode knob to the right to activate sport mode. This is when the vehicle puts some of the power to the rear, then the vehicle's turbo-like performance kicks in immediately, which gives the driver rapid power to overtake.
The body of the vehicle feels light, but sturdy, which has become customary of Suzuki with their use of high-tensile steel. The effects of this do show up in its good fuel economy and dynamic handling, especially around corners, thanks in part to the 215mm-wide tyres.
Suzuki calls its four-wheel drive system All Grip, which can be manoeuvred by a knob and two buttons located between the armrest and gear lever. It does take a little muscle memory to remember its placement, but it is important to know how to use it. If the driver is looking for instant power to overtake, he can switch to sport mode. If the road becomes slippery, like on a rainy day, he can switch to snow mode, and if the terrain is rocky or uneven, he can press 'lock' when in snow mode.
This is a vehicle that has no intention of misleading the buyer. What you see is what you get, which is a vehicle built with an adventurous person in mind.
What I like:
Very good noise insulation.
Powerful A/C unit
Adjusted rear seatbacks
Infotainment system comes with a learning curve
Model tested: 2018 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross GLX, priced at $4.7m
Size Class: Crossover SUV
Drivetrain: 6-speed automatic
Engine info: Normally Aspirated 1.6 litre gas
Power output: 115hp
Gas tank volume: 47L
Competitors: Mitsubishi ASX, Honda HRV, Mazda CX-3
Available at: Stewart's Auto Sales Ltd, 49-53 South Camp Road. Tel (876) 968-0930
(876) 968-0931 www.suzukijamaica.com