Problems with supply chains and economic concerns from customers reluctant to buy during times of uncertainty combined to create problems like we have never seen before.
But the strongest brands responded well and firms like Suzuki are looking forward to brighter days. The marque finished the year with some very good accolades and strong sales results too.
Suzuki is also one of very few brands that can offer 100 per cent hybrid as standard across its passenger car range which comprises of Ignis, Swift, Vitara, S-Cross, Swace and Across (PHEV) models.
Tested here is the new S-Cross, on sale from this month. So, how does it drive? It is a fine car with all the off-road credentials you would expect from Suzuki.
On road, which is after all where it will spend most of its time, there is no shortage of power boosted by its mild hybrid assistance. The petrol engine pulls well yet still feels refined.
Ride comfort is exceptionally good, with bumps smoothed out right up to motorway speeds. Some say its suspension is too soft and the steering too light but it’s a question of taste. It feels fine and refined, which is what most drivers will demand.
There’s a lot to like about this car. It is well equipped and affordable with lots of equipment and a very strong safety package which will make it very tempting for many buyers.
Standard equipment for Motion is comprehensive and includes seven airbags, 17in painted alloy wheels, three signature LED projector headlamps for low and high beam, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, Traffic Sign Recognition, Blind Spot Monitor, Adaptive Cruise Control with speed limiter, keyless entry and start, dual zone auto air conditioning, heated front seats and front and rear parking sensors.
Moving up the Ultra adds 17in polished alloy wheels, leather seat upholstery, integrated on-board navigation, panoramic sliding sunroof and further driver safety and convenience with the fitment of a 360 degree view camera.
Power wise, it’s a simple choice. It has a very good 1.4 litre turbo petrol unit with the brand’s Boosterjet technology that improves both flexibility and fuel efficiency.
The firm now has a Hybrids for all strategy across its range and its marketing makes much of the fact that this is a petrol-electric car. The 48-volt unit basically helps with the torque while the electric motor replaces the engine when idling, with some fuel consumption savings.
It has been a good model ever since it was launched in 2013 but it wasn’t the most distinctive car. However the latest version has a more confident style.
It comes with a completely revised exterior and this is one of the biggest improvements. Certainly the new look, with distinct creases and angles and a strong grille, is far more modern than the previously curvy and over-chromed model. The wheel arches are bigger and, while the slimline headlamps offer more up-to-date appearance which compares well with rivals. The strong horizontal line formed by the rear lighting merging into the styling bar also adds to the assertive look.
Meanwhile, Suzuki is celebrating good news from the results of the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey in which readers report on their car ownership experience from six up to 15 years old.
Of the 27 car brands measured, Suzuki is at the top of the table with a score of 97 per cent. What Car? received over 16,300 owner responses across all manufacturers and measured 139 used models across the industry.
Owners praised Suzuki for having very few faults to report in their ownership as well as being inexpensive to repair. The Vitara recorded 100 per cent reliability with no faults at all reported from owners and was one of only three cars measured to score 100 per cent in the survey.
The good news continued for the popular Swift too as owners reported 97.8 per cent reliability and no repair bill exceeding £100 of the small faults reported. Swift was 13 per cent up on the average small car class rating in the survey.
Meanwhile, Luscombe’s Leeds Suzuki and MG dealerships have recruited Soteris Neophytou as their Innovation & Development Manager.
Hired to help meet the ever-changing customer expectations, he brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and a new perspective via his previous roles as Sales, Marketing and Operations Manager with Mitsubishi Finance and Marketing & Digital Manager at Suzuki Finance.
A major appointment for Luscombe’s and a sign of their continued investment into digital development, MD Robin Luscombe expressed his delight that the Leeds-based business created such a draw that Mr Neophytou made the career move.
Suzuki S-Cross 1.4 Boosterjet mild hybrid
Price: £29,799. Or £31,249 as an automatic. Range starts at £24,999. Six-speed automatic transmission available optionally on both grades at £1,350.
Engine: 1.373cc four cylinder engine generating 129ps
Performance: Top speed 121mph and 0 to 60mph in 10.2 seconds
Economy: 47.8mpg combined
Warranty: Three years, 60,000 miles