Suzuki’s oft-forgotten small SUV is getting a fresh new look.
Leaked photographs of the 2022 Suzuki S-Cross were shared on Instagram by Suzuki Garage ahead of the car’s anticipated reveal on November 25, 2021.
The S-Cross has been visually transformed with a much more modern look.
That’s especially evident at the front, where the current car’s toothy grille and unusually shaped headlights have been scrapped for a more conventional, contemporary fascia.
There are more angular headlights bisected by a chrome element, which links up with a chrome bar across the grille – the latter is reminiscent of the XL6/XL7 sold in developing markets.
The bonnet has lost its centre strakes, and the front end is overall less curvaceous and more aggressive. There’s also a neater front bumper treatment.
The side detailing looks cleaner, with a markedly different C- and D-pillar treatment, plus restyled wheel arch extensions.
Down back, large, clear-lensed tail lights are connected by a bar.
While it looks somewhat larger than the current car, photos of it side-by-side with a Vitara shows it doesn’t appear to have grown much dimensionally.
It does, however, have more of an overtly SUV-like appearance than the outgoing, 2013-vintage S-Cross, which is more reminiscent of a tall hatchback.
The S-Cross replaced the SX4, which in turn replaced the Liana. These models formed a line of hatchbacks (and for the SX4 and Liana, sedans as well) that were a little smaller in overall footprint than rival small hatches but which offered the option of all-wheel drive in some markets.
With each generation, Suzuki’s small car has become more SUV-like.
However, the current model lost its all-wheel drive option locally in 2016 when it was facelifted. European buyers still have the option, while S-Cross models sold there also feature a 48V mild-hybrid system.
Suzuki Australia says it’ll put its hands up for the new S-Cross, and is also interested in returning an all-wheel drive variant to the line.
“I would put my hands up first for an AllGrip model because the capability of the AllGrip technology is outstanding,” said Suzuki Australia general manager Michael Pachota.
The new S-Cross could also herald the introduction of Suzuki Australia’s first electrified model.
When asked if he was interested in bringing over the mild-hybrid options European buyers have, Mr Pachota said he had been “pushing for it for some time”.
“I’d like to think we’d have something in the foundation in terms of the introduction of hybrid into Australia, as a confirmation at least, in 2022,” he said.
Suzuki currently offers mild-hybrid versions of the Ignis, Swift, S-Cross and Vitara in Europe, which are sold alongside the hybrid Swace (a rebadged Toyota Corolla Touring) and the plug-in hybrid Across (a rebadged Toyota RAV4 PHEV).
Though the Australian-market S-Cross comes from the same Hungarian plant as European-market models, ours miss out on autonomous emergency braking despite this feature being available on most local Vitara models.
Any updated S-Cross sold in Australia is expected to offer this feature, while features like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are also likely given their availability across much of the Swift and Vitara ranges locally.
The current S-Cross is sold in Europe exclusively with a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine with a 48V mild-hybrid system, with total outputs of 96kW of power and 235Nm of torque.
In contrast, the Australian model puts out more power (110kW) but less torque (220Nm).
The Indian-market version, built there by Maruti Suzuki, also features a mild-hybrid powertrain, albeit with a naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre four.
Somewhat unusually, Suzuki currently offers two different models each in the light car and small SUV segments in Australia: the Swift and Baleno and the Vitara and S-Cross, respectively.
Suzuki Australia says the Vitara has broad appeal with both younger and older buyers, but the S-Cross appeals more to empty-nesters aged 45 and up.
It’s outsold dramatically by the Vitara – year-to-date, they’re sitting at 289 and 3202 sales, respectively – but Suzuki Australia says it’s handy to have in showrooms, particularly if there are ever supply issues with the Vitara.
With the same turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine and related underpinnings, the S-Cross gives Suzuki a vehicle to steer prospective Vitara customers to.
In its first full year on the market, 2014, Suzuki sold 1733 S-Cross models in Australia, which was anywhere between 200 and 500 fewer sales annually than its SX4 predecessor.
It slumped to 628 sales in 2016 but, rather than continuing to decline each year, it’s ticked upwards in recent years.