Suzuki could soon count an updated S-Cross and its first electrified model among its Australian line-up.
The current S-Cross has ended production, and overseas reports have indicated a new S-Cross – potentially a significant update of the current car – will be revealed at the end of November.
“If everything goes well and we don’t have supply problems for this model, I hope it can reach dealerships at Christmas,” Juan López Frade, President of Suzuki Ibérica, told motor.es (translated).
Suzuki Australia says it’ll put its hands up for a new S-Cross too, 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.
That’s despite Suzuki Australia’s discontinuation of the all-wheel drive S-Cross in 2016 due to low sales. However, this was also influenced by the then-recently introduced front- and all-wheel drive Vitara range at the time, sales of which Suzuki didn’t want the S-Cross to cannibalise.
Since that time, Suzuki Australia says Vitara AllGrip sales have grown as a percentage of Vitara sales and the company has been ordering more of them.
The updated 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”.
“Even though we have very economical cars and actually the carbon footprint isn’t so bad, in respect to some other players, because we’ve got the technology overseas I’d like to take that extra step from an environmental perspective,” he said.
“And I think yesterday was the time to do that.
“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.”
The former is available with a hybrid powertrain, while the latter offers the same plug-in hybrid powertrain as the RAV4 Prime.
While those models are offered exclusively in the European market, Suzuki and Toyota’s capital alliance could potentially mean Toyota’s hybrid technology is used in further Suzuki models.
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.
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.
The Vitara also offers blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert in its turbocharged variants, while this active safety technology can also be found within the Swift range.
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.
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.