There was a perennial argument brewing among British motorists as to whether an automatic gearbox was better than a manual.
I’m not sure this controversy exists today because young motorists seem to favor automatic transmissions in their cars.
Indeed, many smaller, affordable cars that attract new drivers have automatic transmissions as an option.
What reminded me of that old brown among “old school” motorists was when I got behind the wheel of this week’s drive, the Suzuki S-Cross 1.4 SZ5 Hybrid Auto.
The S-Cross is a good, smaller SUV (sport utility vehicle). I have said in the past that it is a compelling player in the industry and that all that is good about it comes from the front end.
Now comes my first ride in a Suzuki S-Cross with an automatic transmission.
Given the ongoing debate mentioned above, and after spending some time with this automatic model, I think I would choose the manual gearbox in the S-Cross.
The reason is that when it comes to automatic cars, I have found that not all automatics are created equal.
One of my favorites is the DSG. This direct change gearbox is an electronically controlled dual clutch automatic gearbox that embodies smoothness.
The first dual-clutch transmissions were derived from internal Porsche development in the 1980s.
This obviously raises the question of cost, as always, and the S-Cross is a very good value car.
The optional six-speed automatic transmission for the S-Cross was introduced in March 2021 for the SZ-T 2WD and SZ5 Allgrip models.
So overall I think this drivetrain option is good but in my opinion it needs some fine tuning.
Time and again when I first engaged the gearbox, I had to verify that I was in automatic mode and not manual.
I turned on the engine and engaged the gearshift in automatic mode but it slipped steadily right away in position M for the manual.
You can still drive using manual gears on the S-Cross, because when you shift the shift lever to manual (M), you can use paddles on the steering wheel to change gears. By the way, if I thought my driving style was involved here I would say so, but I think there is some refinement needed in how this S-Cross automatic shifting works.
That said, the S-Cross Hybrid offers great value for motorists who want a smaller SUV with hybrid technology to improve fuel economy and improve their green credentials.
Plus, with the Allgrip feature, the S-Cross is a great off-road option.
The S-Cross’s 48V hybrid powertrain adds less than 15kg to the vehicle’s total weight.
The system consists of a 48 V lithium-ion battery, an integrated starter generator (ISG) and a 48 V to 12 V (DC / DC) converter to power components requiring a lower voltage, including lights, audio and air conditioning.
Based on engine speed and throttle position, the engine judges when the driver will accelerate, then uses the electric motor to add additional torque.
This allows up to 20% less CO to be obtained2 emissions than before to just 127 g / km for 2WD models with manual transmission and a 20% improvement in overall fuel consumption to 50.1 mpg (both WLTP regulatory).
The four-mode Allgrip system offers:
• Auto mode: it gives priority to fuel economy under typical driving conditions and uses two-wheel drive by default. It switches to four-wheel drive if it detects wheel slip.
• Sport mode: optimal for winding roads and makes maximum use of the four-wheel drive according to the demands of the accelerator.
• Snow mode: good for snowy, unpaved and other slippery surfaces. The system defaults to four-wheel drive.
• Lock mode: designed to clear the car from snow, mud or sand. A limited slip differential helps brake any spinning wheel and transfer torque to the grippy wheels.
Standard equipment for all models is complete and the SZ4 model includes seven airbags, radar brake assist, alloy rims, DAB radio with CD, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, adaptive cruise control, automatic climate control and front and rear electric windows.
The SZ-T model adds 17-inch polished alloy rims, private rear window, keyless access with start button white stitching for the seat upholstery fabric, a smartphone audio and navigation system.
The move to the SZ5 adds leather upholstery with heated front seats and a panoramic sunroof.
The Suzuki S-Cross is available in six different hues, including one solid color, as well as five optional metallic finishes.