S-Cross indicates Suzuki’s performance perspective
If you agree with the premise that ‘every picture tells a story’, then you will understand the logic of driving an S-Cross on the rain-lashed roads of the Scottish Highlands, through the lovely City of Edinburgh, on Kielder’s scenic, mostly gravel forest drive and the back-street cobbles of Halifax. However, the trek did not stop there, as we hit the peaks of the Pennines, lapped Anglesey’s beautiful Trac Mon racing circuit, tackled The Great Orme’s Marine Drive toll-road, at Llandudno, and visited spectacular Snowdonia.
The English Lake District did not escape our attention, nor did the picturesque Cotswolds, the tank-testing Army roads across Salisbury Plain and several of southern England’s busy arterial routes. The actual shooting schedule was just five days, although it took around eight days to edit the material, lay on a music track and produce a descriptive voice-over. The end result was around 11 minutes of Suzuki travelogue documentary, during which the petrol-powered S-Cross performed faultlessly, returned around 43mpg and remained comfortable and argument-free (difficult in such a compressed programme).
Whether surrounded by reindeer at Aviemoor, seeming to drive from a Highland loch (a pure ‘set-up’), setting a speedy race circuit time, or winding through woodland trees, our bright red S-Cross took each take in its capable stride. Driven like a rally car through Europe’s largest forest complex at Kielder, or across Salisbury Plain, as the Army Chinooks played military games in the background, the ALLGRIP four-wheel-drivetrain underscored its stability and surefootedness.
At all times, the car’s manageable proportions and fluent suspension set-up allowed us access to each successive trial, to achieve our primary pursuit of condensing Suzuki life in myriad locations and beauty spots all over the UK. Yet, while eminently ‘at home’ on tortuous back-doubles and mountain drives, long-legged gearing and efficient aerodynamics meant that motorway driving was not the slog it could have been. When needed, the S-Cross charged up the fog-bound, highest road pass in Scotland, to the West Highlands coastal settlement of Applecross (Bealach na Ba) but was happy to trawl along busy tourist routes like the Fosse Way, into the Cotswolds.
Neither steep descent, nor circuit visit, presented braking issues and the slick manual gearbox and all-wheel traction ensured that a slimy slipway photo opportunity into the River Ness estuary at Inverness was disaster-free, even though we could barely stand upright on it.
Naturally, as the pictures highlight, the travelogue was carried out in 2014 but the latest 1.0-litre and 1.4-litre BoosterJet versions of the S-Cross only serve to enhance an already superior and cost-effective 4x4 and crossover proposition. The new models are even better than ever and represent excellent value-for-money in the class, without following slavishly a fashion for high-riding 4x4s that are not! There is heaps to admire about the immensely capable S-Cross.
Luscombe’s summary: Very few cars prove to be 100% reliable in Customer Satisfaction surveys. However, the Suzuki S-Cross has managed that rare and gargantuan task. Dependability equates to brand loyalty in S-Cross terms.
Next week, Iain recalls his first drive in the enticing Swift Sport.
TPMS, the safety monitor that picks up where most people do not
Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) are a practical, EU-approved ‘short-cut’ to something that all drivers ought to attend to but frequently forget to, as they check your Suzuki’s tyre pressures electronically and warn of any air losses.
Passive safety is a primary consideration in all new cars. Combine it with active safety and the dawn of incident-free motoring becomes an achievable nirvana. The first European volume car manufacturer to equip its cars with TPMS was Renault, in the 1996 Scenic model, although Porsche had developed a system a decade earlier for its rare 959 supercar. While it was an option initially on pricier models, it was adopted as law for ALL new passenger cars sold in Europe after 1st November 2012.
Although some new car buyers feel terribly short-changed, when they discover that their choice of vehicle has no spare wheel in the boot, broader consensus makes us question the last time we experienced a need to fit one at all. Losing the vital locking wheel-nut key was a sure-fire distraction and most deflations tend to happen in the worst places at the wrong times. Yet, I am not alone in having great difficulty recalling when my car last endured a punctured tyre. It was years ago!
The TPMS is devised to reduce traffic accidents, to reduce poor fuel consumption and to reduce excess tyre wear arising from under-inflated tyres. However, it does not absolve the responsible driver from making customary manual checks of their car’s tyres. Our poorly degraded road surfaces and the wince-inducing effects of hitting a kerb can introduce damage to the tyre-walls that a TPMS will not recognise. It is only be careful checking of the inside edges that you can be sure about both tyre lumps, tears and wear and wheel damage situations.
Most Suzuki owners will be aware of the TPMS read-out that appears, when it needs to, on the small digital screen located between the speedometer and rev-counter. When you depress the small on-board computer button, located in the lower-right segment of the instrument panel, you can access the current status of several monitors, of which tyre pressures is one. You will find the recommended tyre pressures for your car in either the Owner’s Manual, or on an information panel on the driver’s door jamb.
While it is always better to let your vehicle’s service department deal with resetting the system, should you suffer a loss of tyre pressure, a light loss can be corrected by using the air-lines at most service stations. However, it is worth being aware that they are not always the most reliable of air providers, despite the fact that it might cost you up to 50p for the privilege to self-inflate.
When the TPMS alert displays, it is advisable to take action as soon as feasible, because, for safety’s sake, even though your car remains drivable, it will not allow you to access any other on-board computer functions, until the pressure loss is resolved. However, as it will display the actual pressures (in lbs ft, psi), you only need to be concerned should one, or more, of the numerical read-outs drop below 15psi, at which time you need to take extra care on-route to the garage.
Luscombe’s summary: If you want to learn more about Suzuki’s Tyre Pressure Monitoring technology, a member of our team will help you to understand it, reprogram it and explain its safety relevance.
Next week: Iain takes a closer look at connectivity.
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