The Across is the first vehicle to arrive following the collaboration between Suzuki and Toyota. It’s a five-door SUV with plug-in hybrid technology and all-wheel drive capability. The car is a move upmarket for the Japanese car maker and is packed with quality fixtures and fittings. it also boasts a dynamic performance to match the sporty styling.
The goodGreat styling, handling and comfort
The badQuite a price hike for Suzuki
Suzuki Across – First Drive (2020)
Suzuki has launched its first model since announcing a collaboration with Toyota – it’s called the Across and it’s a dynamic and stylish SUV that’s guaranteed to turn heads.
Admittedly, a first glance in its direction and you will notice the vehicle bears quite a strong resemblance to the Toyota RAV4. That’s not surprising as it’s the model it shares much of its dna with, but the Suzuki designers have been very clever to stamp their own identity on the car.
The front end is Suzuki through and through with an instantly-recognisable grille, bumper and brand badging. The car has an upright, robust appearance with strong SUV lines, protective wheel arch mouldings, twin tailpipes, a rear upper spoiler, tinted windows, smart LED headlights with daytime running lights and 19-inch alloy wheels with a gloss black coating.
Move inside and the upmarket interior cannot fail to impress. There are lots of soft touch surfaces, high quality leather upholstery, cushioned padding in the door panels, neat decorative inlays and some snazzy eye-catching seat trim.
On-board technology is plentiful and includes the likes of a nine-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink smartphone connectivity. There are heated front and rear leather seats, dual zone air conditioning, Bluetooth, a DAB radio, a heated steering wheel and lots more besides.
To keep things simple, the Across is available in just one trim level with one engine. It’s a plug-in hybrid model that mates a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with an 18.1kWh battery. The electric motor on the front axle develops 180bhp while the rear axle motor delivers 54bhp. The car also offers all-wheel drive.
When it comes to driving performance, the Across can sprint to 62mph from a standstill in a rapid 6.0 seconds and maxes out at 112mph. The carbon emissions figure of 22g/km will be attractive to business drivers as will the claimed WLTP figure of 282mpg – realistically this would only ever be achievable if the car was driven for the majority of the time in electric-only mode.
The Across is a step up for Suzuki in its pricing too. It costs £45,599 which is quite a leap for the Japanese car maker renowned for great quality, affordable cars. But it is a high-end model that will compete against classy rivals such as the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4, Ford Kuga PHEV and MG HS.
The five-door car has a CVT automatic gearbox. These can be a little hit and miss at times, but the engineers seem to have got it spot on in the Across. There is minimal noise when the vehicle is driven under heavy acceleration and even steep hill climbs are completed without too much protest.
There are four driving modes called EV, Automatic EV/HV mode, HV mode and Battery Charge. When in EV-only mode the car can be driven for up to 46 miles on a full battery charge, depending of course, on the style of driving and terrain. Automatic EV/HV and HV modes see the most efficient use of battery and petrol power in combination. And finally, the Battery Charge mode can be selected to re-charge the battery on the move via the petrol engine.
There is also a separate Trail mode for extra grip that introduces the clever 4×4 technology, along with a dial to switch from Eco to Normal to Sport that alters the vehicle’s reactions. In addition, there are steering wheel-mounted paddles for added driver engagement. So quite a lot of tech to play with.
Out on the open road, the Across handles really nicely. It’s not the powerhouse of some plug-in hybrid SUVs but it’s a comfortable ride with impressive handling. The acceleration is smooth through the CVT box with ample power at your disposal for sharp bursts of pace. It’s a car that effortlessly eats up the motorway miles for fun but is agile enough to manoeuvre through the congested town centre traffic.
The steering is perfectly weighted and on faster country lanes, the Across feels well balanced with minimal sign of body sway, unless tighter bends are attacked a little too eagerly.
There is a little door mirror noise inside the cabin at higher motorway speeds and the engine can also get quite vocal when pushed particularly hard, but if driven in a sensible manner, the driving experience is quite refined with an effective, although fairly firm, suspension set-up cushioning the ride.
The Across is also well geared up to cope with Mother Nature’s mood swings too with its E-Four electronic 4×4 system to offer extra grip in adverse driving conditions.
My only slight gripe during my week behind the wheel was the infotainment screen. I found I had to lean across to reach some of the icons which isn’t ideal and had to tap quite hard on the screen at times to get a response.
But that aside, the Across really impressed. Comfort levels within the car are high with a power adjustable driver’s seat to find the perfect position. The elevated seating, which is typical of any SUV, results in excellent all-round visibility – this is a ‘must’ for any car with duties that will probably include the school run.
It’s spacious too meaning four adults can travel in comfort inside the Across or three youngsters could fit snuggly in the back with rear seats that recline. The boot, accessed via a powered tailgate, can swallow 490 litres of kit, a capacity that increases to 1,168 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
Elsewhere, there are a number of handy storage options throughout the car, including a practically-sized glovebox, a centre tray with two USB ports, a console box, front cup holders, door pockets, a sunglasses compartment and shelves beneath the main dashboard. There are pockets in the front seat backs and rear passengers have a pull-down armrest with two cup holders. They also have two additional USB ports.
Safety features on the Across are comprehensive with a pre-collision system, lane tracing assist, dynamic radar cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, road sign assist, a full suite of airbags and eCall – a system that automatically calls the emergency services if the vehicle is involved in an accident.
All in all, the Suzuki Across may be yet another vehicle to join the ever-growing ranks in the SUV sector. But it’s a segment that’s in great public demand and the Across is sure to make quite an impact.