If you’re in the market for a compact crossover that represents excellent value for money, Suzuki’s line-up might present a couple of problems. Both the new Vitara and the SX4 S-Cross are sensibly sized crossover SUVs that offer lots of space and equipment for the price, so either would make a great family car.
It’s pretty unusual for a manufacturer to offer two models that effectively compete against each other – the Vitara is certainly the newer model but there are big discounts offered on the SX4 S-Cross. So which should you go for if you’re shopping for a compact, great value crossover? carwow’s here to help…
If you’re taken with either, pop the Suzuki Vitara or the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.
The Vitara is all-new for 2015 and gets a fetching new look. It’s chunkier and more aggressive than it’s been before, and looks altogether more upmarket, too. The front features squinting headlights that feature on many new vehicles these days but, despite the lack of originality, they give a modern feel to the Vitara.
The SX4 S-Cross is considerably more stylish than the model it replaced, but it’s still a little uninspiring when compared to the Vitara. It boasts some clean lines and the overall shape leaves you in no doubt about the practicality of the design, but it looks a little too reminiscent of the old Nissan Qashqai for our tastes.
If you were judging a beauty contest between the two, it would take some serious bribery for you to give your vote to the SX4 S-Cross over the Vitara. The SX4 isn’t an ugly vehicle by any means, it just doesn’t have the impact of the new Vitara – especially with the Vitara’s funky colour range.
Suzuki offers these cars in competitive price segments so has to use some cheaper materials here and there. Nevertheless, it manages to put them together very well and avoids letting the cabin feel totally spartan.
The Vitara’s interior is certainly more about durability than comfort and opulence, with a vast swathe of grainy plastic on the dashboard greeting you when you enter. Everything is functional, practical, well laid out, and you get the feeling it’s built to last. It’s more cramped than the SX4, but it’s not enough to be a complete deal-breaker.
Taller passengers sitting in the back of the S-Cross will find it a bit cramped, especially if the large panoramic sunroof is fitted. If you’ll only use the back seats for ferrying the kids around, you’ll find the SX4 S-Cross more than adequate. The SX4 S-Cross certainly wins when it comes to boot space, with its 430 litres easily beating the Vitara’s 375 litres.
The S-Cross is predictable and stable, without the kind of body roll in corners that can affect some vehicles with a relatively tall stance. It’s no rocket-ship when it comes to performance, but it’s certainly not bad for a crossover in this class.
The Vitara has many of the same characteristics, such as the light, vague steering and a ride that’s firm but well damped. You do feel big bumps and dips in the road as a bit of a thump, but it’s rarely uncomfortable.
Overall, Suzuki has a habit of making mundane family cars handle rather well so we expect owners to be very happy with either car.
Both models get either a 1.6-litre diesel or a 1.6-litre petrol with the choice of two and four-wheel drive. Most people will go for the diesel that puts out 118hp and a respectable 236lb ft of torque.
The 1.6-litre petrol engine in the SX4 S-Cross is available with either a five-speed manual or a CVT gearbox, with diesels getting a single six-speed manual. The Vitara offers the same five- and six-speed manual gearboxes with the petrol and diesel respectively but also a six-speed auto option for the petrol.
If fuel economy is important to you, the diesel SX4 has been reported to deliver as much as 56.7mpg on average. The newer Vitara, however, manages a fantastic 70.6mpg for the two-wheel drive diesel.
Value for money
As if the Vitara and SX4 S-Cross didn’t already have enough in common, they both cost from £13,995. You can pay just over a thousand pounds more for an SX4 S-Cross than a Vitara if you get the top spec but, considering the SX4’s advancing years, this doesn’t seem wise.
The Vitara gets air-conditioning, Bluetooth, DAB radio and alloy wheels as standard. You’d have to upgrade the SX4 one level to get DAB alongside the standard cruise control, stop-start, air-conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity.
That said, if practicality is important to you, the SX4 S-Cross is larger and more practical than the Vitara. For that reason, it offers slightly better value for money because everything else is so close.
Both cars offer outstanding value for money by sticking to the cheap and cheerful mantra. You can get a Dacia Duster for less than either of these, but the Suzukis are worth the extra cost for their better build quality and noticeably higher equipment levels.
If you’re looking for practicality and you’re not too bothered about modern styling, the SX4 S-Cross is a great buy. However, if you don’t need the extra room, the Vitara is an altogether better-looking vehicle that will put a bit more of a smile on your face when you’re looking at it on your drive.