The Suzuki S Cross has matured into an eye-catching small SUV with bold lines and a pleasant, well laid-out interior.

In many ways – in particularly the way it looks – the new S Cross has grown up and come of age, appearing more confident and dynamic.

Its bold grille, stylish headlight signature and chiselled lines make the less inspiring curves of the outgoing model look a bit dated.

That’s not to say the previous version wasn’t practical, solid, sensible and popular – it’s just that its replacement is, well, more attractive both inside and out.

It also looks better from the rear, with the updated S-Cross getting a new black bar that runs across the full width.

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Once you step inside, the improvements over its predecessor are clear to see, with a much smarter layout in evidence.

A new nine-inch touchscreen sits in a prominent position high up and central in the dash. It’s crisp and easy to reach, but isn’t quite as intuitive and responsive as that found on some rivals.

Some of the materials around the cabin have also been improved, although you’ll still find some lower grade materials dotted around.

Visibility for the driver is top notch and there’s also no shortage of space in the cabin, meaning the S Cross remains a highly-practical car to live with.

There’s also a generous amount of equipment, whichever version you opt for, as Suzuki has revised the trim levels and included more standard equipment in the process.

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A rather nice full-length, opening sunroof floods the cabin with light, although it does eat into rear headroom.

When the new model was launched, Suzuki introduced a new grade naming and two grade structure: Motion and Ultra, with the latter coming with ALLGRIP ‘Select’ four wheel drive as standard.

Behind the wheel, the S Cross is quite good fun to drive, for an SUV.

The steering is quick and accurate, and deliberately light for ease of use. It certainly feels responsive and easy to manoeuvre.

The powertrain also makes for fairly zippy acceleration, with the hybrid set-up striking a nice balance between performance and economy.

In terms of the specifics, it’s a 1.4-litre K14D turbocharged petrol engine with Suzuki’s Boosterjet technology offering a wide spread of available torque, with 235Nm available from 2,000rpm.

The 48v mild-hybrid system doesn’t drive the car on electric power alone, but does include a significant amount of regenerative braking to charge the battery when decelerating.

News Shopper: Suzuki S Cross

You don’t really notice it doing its thing, but it helps to cut fuel consumption and emissions, with the test car capable of 47.8mpg combined and 133g/km emissions, according to the official figures.

In the real world, during a week of mixed driving conditions, I was achieving in the late 30s and often early 40s in terms of mpg.

A manual or automatic option is available, with the six-speed manual transmission on this car proving easy enough to live with and relatively slick.

When it comes to noise from the road and engine, cabin refinement isn't the best in class.

As an all-round package, the S Cross is an appealing option, with good looks, a decent interior and a well-judged engine.

The Lowdown

Suzuki S-Cross

SPECIFICATION: 1.4 Boosterjet Mild Hybrid Ultra Allgrip
ENGINE: Four-cylinder, 16-valve petrol 
ECONOMY: 47.8mpg combined and 133g/km emissions
TRANSMISSION: Manual
PRICE: £30,349 on the road
PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds and max speed of 121mph