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Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
@ytimesmotoring
4:56 PM 14th January 2021
cars

Suzuki Across – First Drive Review

The cost of developing an all-new car grows ever higher, so much so that we are beginning to see more collaborations between manufacturers. It makes a lot of sense and let’s be honest, most buyers are not hugely concerned about what lies under the skin of their shiny new wheels. Economy, connectivity and driving characteristics all tend to figure higher.

What is it?

On test here is the new Suzuki Across, the first new model to launch under a collaborative agreement with Toyota. It is essentially a rebadged Toyota RAV4 and if I am honest, that is an extremely good place to start.

Across is Suzuki’s first plug-in hybrid model and it promises up to 46 miles of fully electric driving, a figure that is hard to beat.

A second model, the Swace, is due shortly which is based on the Toyota Corolla Hybrid. This will be manufactured in the UK.

The rather bullish price of £45,599 for the Across takes Suzuki into unchartered territory and it will be interesting to see the market’s reaction.

I would mention at this point that company car drivers will be able to benefit from exceptionally low tax rates, thanks to the ultra-low emissions and that class-leading electric range.

Fast Facts

Suzuki Across
Price £45,599
2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine
18.1kWh battery
CVT automatic transmission
Four-wheel drive
0-62mph in 6 seconds
46-mile electric only range
Emissions 22g/km CO2
Economy 282.4mpg

The drive

The Across was delivered to me before Christmas and at the time of writing, it still sits on my driveway thanks to lockdown. That is absolutely fine with me as it is an easy and undemanding car to live with.

As my driving is now more limited to mainly local runs, I have no need to visit a petrol station either, a quick top up from my newly fitted Rolec charger each night being all that is required. Even in severe winter weather with lots of equipment in use, it is easy to top 40 miles without the petrol engine’s assistance.

A few longer journeys gave me the chance to try the Across on some of my favourite test routes. There is plenty of performance available when engine and electric motor work in harmony, but as is always the case with CVT gearboxes, high engine revs when pressing on does rather spoil the car’s otherwise excellent refinement.

Driven in a more sedate manner, the car will naturally use battery power as much as possible and it is possible to save the battery’s charge for a specific urban leg of your journey, if required.

Snowy weather provided ample opportunity to try out the four-wheel drive. The electronic system is capable of distributing the power where needed and when the going gets really tough there is a dedicated Trail Mode. Here the automatic limited slip differential ensures the best grip by applying the brakes to the wheels that begin to lose grip and redirecting torque to wheels that maintain grip.

In practice it works well and dealt with tricky driving conditions on numerous occasions.

Ride is on the firm side, perhaps the result of the heavy batteries but it failed to impress, whilst the handling is safe, secure and perhaps a tad uninvolving.

The inside story

The interior is pleasantly spacious with room aplenty front and back. The boot offers around 490 litres of usable space and there is lots of oddment space around the cabin.

Material quality is up there with the best and fit and finish is first rate. This is a car to buy and keep for the long term.

Only one model of Across is on sale and it comes laden with equipment. The heated leather seats and steering wheel were very welcome, and the adaptive cruise control was a definite boon on the motorway.

The large touchscreen is easy to operate and of course Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are fitted.

There are lots of safety features, including driving assist functions such as Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)

Verdict

Suzuki only aims to sell a modest number of the Across model in its first year and should have no difficulty in doing so. Look past the high list price (there will be affordable PCP deals for private customers) and you have a well-engineered and spacious family car, and one which boasts excellent green credentials.
There is excellent all-weather capability and the Across is an easy car to live with. I will miss it when it has gone and that is not true of all the cars which grace my driveway.