On the road: The new Suzuki Across
On the road: The new Suzuki Across

Suzuki’s brilliant new SUV sparks a fire in Ian Lamming

SO many cars, so difficult to remember, the good from the bad from the indifferent.

But a moment’s contemplation hurls three to the forefront, all from Japan. Toyota’s rally car with plates the Yaris GR is mind-bending in its supreme abilities, closely followed by the new RAV4 plug-in hybrid.

The third comes from Suzuki and the product from its first collaboration with Toyota, the Across. Like the RAV4 PHEV it is equally spectacular but with Yorkshire blood flowing through these veins it’s more impressive still as it’s a chunk cheaper.

I also prefer its sleeker front end with slimline LEDs setting off perfectly that massive open grille. Angular from the side, the back end is tidied up by a gloss finish on the rear bumper. It is big, smart and purposeful, very easy to live with and, as it turns out, a fine chariot to transport us to a wedding.

The wedding is to be negotiated in a single day, that Yorkshire haemoglobin striking forth again, my teetotalness precluding any need for a needlessly expensive stay-over. Thing is, our boy has to be deposited with an uncle who lives east and north before we can head south and on the way back roadworks and accidents close both routes home.

The round trip extends total journey time to close to seven hours, the mileage to more than 350 and in between, to be endured, a tiring day of polite smiles, small talk and sweaty conditions. That’s a recipe for grumpiness and perhaps even a migraine, particularly as the diversions push us through dystopic looking urban sprawl and challenging twisting country roads.

Strangely, when I arrive home, I’ve enjoyed the day and especially the drive. That’s because Across is completely magnificent.

On the motorway down it eats miles with aplomb leaving driver and befrocked passenger wrinkle and muscle ache-free and still looking pristine for the ceremony and reception. No bloodshot eyes, no back or neck ache, my head pain-free, helped by a well-equipped and logical and comfortable interior. Happy days for a happy occasion.

Even when the dreaded road signs tell of a double road closure, the smartphone mirror displays Google maps on the dashboard screen to guide us home. Rather than feeling frustrated the Across turns a chore into an exciting adventure and intimidating city sprawl is dispensed with ease so Across can tackle the winding country roads home.

Across’ super-efficient 2.5 litre petrol motor is joined by two electric motors, one on each axle, making the Suzuki all-wheel-drive by default. They also combine to provide the most incredible power – a staggering 306hp to be precise – which comes in with an instantaneous electric punch. To put that in context, that’s enough power to shove a large SUV to 60mph in less than six seconds – unbelievably rapid.

So it cruises supremely smoothly, it fires out of bends with its combination of power and 4WD grip and it steers magnificently with no cabin roll or pitching to speak of at all. It is such a great enjoyable drive that home arrives too soon despite the long and full day. Oh, and one lookthe trip computer brings further joy to my heart and wallet – I’ve recorded close to 60 miles per gallon. I could have spent more on the wedding present after all.

More collaborations are planned between Suzuki and Toyota in the future, in fact look for the Swace/Corolla hybrid. If they are as good as the Across/RAV4 PHEV then this is going to be a marriage made in heaven.

Fact File

Suzuki Across

Engine: 2.5 petrol plus twin electric motors

Power: 306HP

0-62mph: 6.0 secs

Top speed: 112mph

Combined MPG: 282

Transmission: E-CVT auto

CO2 g/km: 22

Price: £45,599.00