The first snowfall of winter had been forecast for the nearby Pennine hills but I had no fears of getting stuck for I had the latest four wheel drive Suzuki SX4 S-Cross with its very impressive new body on my drive writes Bryan Longworth.
Fortunately the snow did not arrive but having the Suzuki was very reassuring and the facelifted S-Cross looked really good especially with that very distinctive new grille up front along with other improvements that have given this vehicle much more street cred and showroom appeal.
A new aggressive front can make all the difference to the image of a car and there is no doubt that Suzuki stylists have achieved this objective in much the same way as stylists from certain German and Korean motor manufacturers also successfully facelifted models with new grilles.
As well as the grille there are LED lights at the front and rear which provide a sharper look along with a refreshed interior and there is higher ground clearance which provides the S-Cross with a more purposeful appearance.
My test car was the S-Cross 1.0 Boosterjet SZ-T with four wheel drive costing £21,299 and which was powered by the 1-0 litre three cylinder petrol engine that produces a top speed of 109mph a zero to 62mph time of 12 seconds with CO2 emissions of 119g/km and a combined fuel consumption of 57.6mpg.
With a five speed manual transmission the turbo charged three pot power unit did an extremely good job in providing lively motoring and had quite a sporty sound to it especially when accelerating and pulled well even with three passengers on board over a variety of driving situations.
The four wheel drive system which Suzuki aptly calls ALLGRIP has four modes selected by a central rotary control with Auto for economical driving using two wheel drive which automatically switches to 4x4 if it detects wheel spin.
Then there is Sport mode which is optimal for twisty roads with Snow mode obviously for when driving in snowy and slippery conditions with Lock mode for extricating the car from snow, mud or sand.
This model which Suzuki say is specifically for fleet buyers but which is also available to retail customers has a spacious boot and plenty of standard kit on board including satellite navigation, rear parking camera, front and rear parking sensors, climate control and LED Projector headlamps.
There is a very comfortable and well equipped cabin with an easy to see and operate central touchscreen and well designed controls and instruments including an informative trip computer plus a very comfortable driving seat that offered a commanding view of the road ahead. Grumbles?
It may have been me but I felt the sat nav system was not very user friendly to operate and I prefer a spare wheel to a puncture kit. Otherwise I found the latest S-Cross which is built at the Suzuki plant in Hungary was a much improved crossover and more competitive particularly against more expensive rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and potential buyers of such a vehicle should now seriously consider placing this Suzuki at the top of their shopping list.
Model: Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.0 Boosterjet SZ-T ALLGRIP.
Engine: Turbocharged three cylinder 1-0 litre petrol.
Output: 111PS @ 5,500rpm.
Transmission: Five speed manual.
Top speed: 109mph. Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 12 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 57.6mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 119g/km.