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And so we say goodbye to the Suzuki SX4 S Cross 1.6 DDiS SZ5. After the best part of a year on the fleet, the 21,749 lime green machine has gone, leaving us to look back on its time with us and draw some conclusions.The production S Cross was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 2013 and went on sale soon afterwards, Suzuki dropping it into the highly competitive compact crossover market, where the constant stream of new arrivals can move the game on very quickly. So has the S Cross been left behind?After 11 months with the car, we can conclusively say no, it hasn’t.The Suzuki is refreshingly free of the kind of novelty features and design gimmicks that could date it; instead, it’s simple, feels solid and is user friendly. These strengths might not yank the heartstrings of buyers in showrooms as effectively as a head up display or a Union Jack roof decal, but they count when it comes to actually living with a car over the long term, as we did.The S Cross isn’t going to win any design awards, but its inoffensive exterior is reflected inside by a clear dash layout and tough materials. It’s plasticky in places, but nothing broke during its time on our fleet, despite some concerns over the flimsy removable cubbyholes in the boot.The controls couldn’t really have been easier to work out, so if you’re left daunted by the tech heavy approach adopted by so many of its crossover alternatives, the Suzuki could well appeal. The cabin and boot space proved perfectly adequate for a family with a well equipped two year old, too.On the road, the SX4’s honest attributes shone through. You sit a few centimetres higher than in a conventional hatchback, but the body resists roll well and grip is plentiful. Well weighted controls and a strong diesel engine mean the S Cross is more fun to drive than most competitors.The only reliability issue came three weeks before the end of its stay with us. A faulty exhaust pressure sensor would have cost 143 to fix were it not covered by the three year 60,000 mile warranty.While the repairs were carried out, we sampled another S Cross, in the shape of a 1.6 petrol powered replacement, equipped with ALLGRIP four wheel drive. The petrol engine was quieter than the diesel around town, but both tended to be drowned out by road and wind noise.The diesel’s punch and more relaxed character were missed, though. You have to work the petrol much harder and its five speed gearbox is notchy and less satisfying than the diesel’s six speeder.Even on wet roads, the 4×4 system was rarely called upon, such is the car’s mechanical grip. We’d recommend the 1,800 cheaper FWD option (with winter tyres for the colder months) over the economy sapping 4×4, unless you really do intend to take the Suzuki off road.So that’s it. The S Cross has gone and it’s made a very positive impression on us. The Suzuki doesn’t represent the cutting edge in the crossover class but it’s highly likeable, well resolved and decent value. That counts for a lot.Suzuki SX4 S Cross report 4Crossover scrubs up well after a string of family outingsOur Suzuki SX4 S Crosshas had a long overdue date with a bucket and sponge. I’ll admit it, I’ve been driving a very, very dirty car. There are no excuses, either; not for the thick black grime on the alloys or the holiday sand forming dunes in the footwells and boot.Yes, the cleaning regime I’ve applied to the S Cross has been very shoddy, but all that changed when I booked the car in for the buffing of its life!If you stand back and squint a bit, the Crystal Lime green metallic paint on our S Cross hides the dirt brilliantly. It’s not a colour I’d choose, but the bright shade adds interest to the bulky lines and generic detailing of the Suzuki’s exterior.One of the 17 inch wheels has picked up some slight kerb damage since my last report, but on the plus side, all of them are a breeze to clean. While multi spoke wheel designs can be a nightmare, black inserts on the Suzuki’s eliminate tricky crevices that usually call for a toothbrush and skinned knuckles.The cabin’s wide, flat surfaces might lack visual interest, but again they don’t collect dust in the way more complex layouts in rival models can.With the dust and dirt stripped back, it’s clear that the tough plastics in the S Cross are holding up well to hard family use. There are some scuffs around the doorsills and at the sides of the boot, plus the back of the front passenger seat has taken a beating from my son’s feet as he sits in his car seat, but a quick wipe revealed that the leather is blemish free.I’ve praised the removable side pockets in the boot before, although I’m now having doubts. While they are useful, the plastic inserts are flimsy and difficult to slot back it feels as though they may not last the course.With the Suzuki returned to (near) showroom condition, it was back out on the road. The absence of long trips in the past few weeks has seen the trip computer’s indicated economy dip below 60mpg for the first time in a while, but my calculations show we’ve been getting around 53mpg from the 118bhp 1.6 litre diesel. That feels respectable given the punchy performance on offer.The S Cross is still an enjoyable car to drive and what its simple design lacks in showroom wow factor it makes up for in toughness and easy to clean functionality.Suzuki SX4 S Cross report 3Crossover comes into its own on Walker family camping tripReal world fuel economy: 50.4mpgMother Nature can be a cruel mistress, testing man to his limits and beyond on a whim. It’s survival of the fittest, where only the mentally strong and physically tough will prosper.