Great Britain

CAR REVIEW: The Across is Suzuki's first plug-in hybrid

The Suzuki across is a striking new entry in the SUV market and is notable for achieving two ‘firsts’ for the company.

The vehicle was the first product of a partnership between Suzuki and Toyota and, as such, shares much in common with the latter’s RAV4 model.

It also takes the status of being Suzuki’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle, offering emissions of just 22g/km and a meaty combined power output of 306hp from its electric motor and petrol engine.

In terms of looks, the car has an imposing front end, with a silver coloured under-garnish featuring three bubbles. The grille is a sizeable and sporty feature, while the narrow and contemporary headlights flow elegantly towards the heavily sculpted bonnet.

Five-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels, with smart wheel arch moulding above, offer a further dynamic element.

From the back, the Across also looks pretty good, with a distinctive light signature and an exhaust pipe at either side.

Having only gone on sale in the UK late last year, the Across, built in Sagara, Japan, must still be a relatively rare sight on West Yorkshire’s roads as a number of pedestrians turned to take a second look.

Behind the wheel, the combined efforts of the motors offer sprightly performance, with the Across able to go from 0-62mph in six seconds.

A class-leading EV range of 46 miles is also promised and, anecdotally, I noticed that the battery charge didn’t vanish as quickly as on some hybrids.

When driving with more urgency, you’re aware of the engine sound under heavy acceleration, and are also reminded in corners that this is a bulky vehicle as there’s a bit of body roll to look out for.

Once inside, the soft and welcoming seats allow the driver to sink into a nice position. The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable. At its highest, you get a commanding view of the road ahead while, at its lowest and most laid back, you feel more like you’re driving a saloon than a crossover.

A chunky centre armrest provides added comfort and opens up to provide a substantial storage space. Boot space is very generous and there’s no lip to make loading tricky. Meanwhile, the back seats fold forward to create a rather gargantuan flat loading space. The electronic operation of the boot brings further ease of use.

A circular dial near the gearstick allows you to switch easily between eco, normal or sport mode. When you switch to sport, the colouring around the digital speedometer display changes from green to red to offer a more purposeful aura. Meanwhile, a button allows you to switch to pure EV mode, so long as the battery has sufficient charge.

The large digital display screen that takes pride of place in the centre of the dash is user-friendly and benefits from traditional ‘hard to miss’ buttons down each side to control functions such as audio, map and phone.

You can also access an energy monitor which shows the energy flow through the battery, electric motor and engine.

A quick glance at my ‘history’ showed a ‘previous best’ of 59.7mpg during a spell of cruising and a ‘latest’ of 38.5mpg during a period of more vigorous driving.

Space is excellent front and back.

Even with the front seats much of the way back, three adults could sit in the back fairly comfortably, with two six footers still having decent head and leg room when sat behind the two front seats.

The seats are picked out with red stitching - a theme that runs across the dashboard, steering wheel and inside of the doors.

This shows a good level of joined up thinking when it comes to interior design, giving the cabin a feeling of uniformity.

Viewed on its own merits, there’s no doubting the fact this is an impressive and practical hybrid, but the market will judge if it warrants a price tag of over £45,000.

THE LOWDOWN

Suzuki Across

PRICE: £45,599

ENGINE: 2.5 PHEV E-four

EMISSIONS: 22g/km (WLTP)

ECONOMY: 42.9mpg

MAX SPEED: 112mph

ACCELERATION: 0-62mph in 6 seconds

Kerb weight: 1,940 kg (incl options)

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