You can always rely on the British weather to let you down.

When Suzuki’s S-cross arrived in the BusinessCar office six months ago, one piece of kit we stated we wanted to try out was our model’s Allgrip 4×4 credentials in arctic conditions.

Needless to say, a dense blanket of snow didn’t materialise where I live, leaving me to try out the car’s off-road ability on a muddy field when attending a chilly Easter weekend’s point-to-point horse racing. While the family in a regular estate in front of us later admitted they were seriously worried about getting stuck, we had no such problems.

Furthermore, as we wrote in our first report: “As an added bonus, there’s actually no benefit-in-kind tax band penalty from the 4×4 system. While Allgrip adds 4g/km of CO2 to the S-cross’s emissions output, the £1800 cheaper front-wheel drive version at 110g/km would still sit in the 18% [now 20%] BIK bracket anyway.”

It was a similar story with the panoramic sunroof, standard on our SZ5 specification. It can be opened to any degree to suit your mood, and while it did get some use, by the time we had a heat wave, I was handing the keys back to Suzuki. Annoying.

Other equipment on our top-spec crossover included heated front seats (it got cold enough to use those), rear-view parking camera (which needed a wipe or two during the winter to keep it clean and useable) and hill-hold assist.

A message on the driver’s information display reading ‘Hill Hold disable’ [2], which appeared regularly, informed us there was ongoing problem with the last item in that list, despite a visit to BusinessCar’s local Suzuki dealership to tweak a sensor on the clutch pedal.

Other electrical concerns involved a mobile phone that would only infrequently connect with the car’s Bluetooth system, due to my make of phone not being supported, and a stop-start system that, while working correctly, didn’t operate as regularly as I’d experienced with other cars. On the plus side, Suzuki’s voice command was particularly effective.

Additional problems included a buffeting in crosswinds on the motorway, which I initially attributed to height, but turned out to probably be due to a lack of weight; the car being lighter than its rivals the Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai. That, however, had benefits in terms of fuel efficiency.

Officially, our Suzuki is capable of 64.2mpg on the combined cycle, comparing favourably with a Nissan Qashqai of similar ilk, which returns 57.6mpg. In the real world, the S-cross averaged 52.0mpg, or around 81% of the official figure, which is a very healthy return.

The S-cross also has a better boot than most rivals, matching the Qashqai’s 430 litres, but easily beating the Vauxhall Mokka’s 362 litres and the Dacia Duster’s 408 litres.

We wondered when the small SUV arrived whether it would become “a Qashqai-rivalling company car” and increase Suzuki’s fleet appeal. Having spent six months with it, I don’t think the first ambition is possible – the car just doesn’t feel like a top-quality proposition; for example, as well as the issues outlined above, it also developed an irritating squeaky door – but the second certainly is, particularly considering where it outguns its rivals on economy and practicality, and the fact that our car costs 53.5p per mile to run compared with the equivalent Qashqai’s 59.2p due to a significant price advantag

Suzuki SX4 S-cross 1.6 DDis SZ5

Mileage 17,795
P11D price £23,494
Forecast/actual cost per mile 53.1p/53.5p
Our average consumption 52.0mpg
Official combined consumption 64.2mpg