Suzuki Across review: Hybrid SUV draws power from platform-sharing partnership

Suzuki’s version of the Toyota RAV4 PHEV has the range, quality and specification to compete with the Ford Kuga, Vauxhall Grandland X, Mitsubishi Outlander and Land Rover Discovery Sport hybrids, but has a price to match

If you squint at the Suzuki Across you might just be forgiven for thinking you’re looking at a different car.

Okay, even if you stand three feet away and look closely, you would be within your rights to ask if you weren’t looking at a Toyota.

That’s because behind the Suzuki badge this is a Toyota. The Japanese marque’s popular RAV4, to be precise. It’s part of a partnership that has seen the two brands share models as a way to improve their presence in various markets around the world.

So, in the UK, the RAV4 becomes the Across and the Corolla becomes the rather decent Swace.

Design

Unlike the Swace where literally the only difference is the badge, for the Across Suzuki has gently modified the car’s front with a different grille, bumper and lights. It’s simple but effective, making the Across better looking than its toothy S-Cross stablemate and the RAV4 itself. Behind that new face, the rest of the car is identical to the RAV4 with its squared-off plastic-clad arches and angular rear end, that pick the two out from their C-SUV segment rivals.

Engine and performance

The Across is also mechanically identical to the Toyota, using the same plug-in hybrid drivetrain, although unlike the RAV4 there’s not “regular” hybrid option. At the PHEV’s centre is a 2.5-litre petrol engine and two electric motors - one on each axle - which between them run the car’s all-wheel drive system.

With a combined output of 301bhp, the hybrid arrangement makes the Across ridiculously quick in a straight line, reaching 62mph in just six seconds. A more sensible approach, however, is to let the system ease the car along calmy. That way you don’t strain the engine or the noisy CVT gearbox. Cruising steadily is also where the Across feels most at home, making smooth and refined progress but with plenty of grunt should you need it.

Treat the system kindly and it will return up to 46 miles of EV driving, although that will be affected by the weather and your driving style. That puts it ahead of every plug-in rival in its class, including the Ford Kuga, Peugeot 3008 Mitsubishi Outlander, Kia Sportage and Vauxhall Grandland. Expect real world economy between high-30s and mid-40s which, in my experience, puts it a little behind the Ford.

Interior

Like the Swace, the Across keeps the Toyota interior virtually unchanged. Once again, this is a major point in its favour. Suzuki interiors tend to scrimp on aesthetics and material quality, so the RAV4’s solid cabin is a welcome change. In keeping with the chunky exterior styling everything is controlled by big, easy to use switches and dials, with a grippy rubberised finish to elements like the heater controls and grab handles.

It’s not the most eye-catching interior - something like a C5 Aircross or Peugeot 3008 has far more style - but it’s clearly arranged, well made and full of practical touches including lots of storage spaces and a 220V plug socket alongside the usual USB offering. Passenger space is fairly impressive. A Honda CR-V is roomier but it’s on a par with the likes of the Kuga and the wide bench means passengers won’t be fighting for shoulder space.  At 490 litres boot space is adequate but not as good as many of its rivals.

Price and specifications

Buying options are simple with just a single trim level and drivetrain offered for £45,599.

£46k for a Suzuki sounds pretty steep but it’s on a par with other PHEVs of this size and it brings a pretty comprehensive equipment list. Leather upholstery is standard, as is heating for front and rear seats and the steering wheel. There’s dual-zone climate control, a nine-inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring, auto dipping LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, a powered hands-free tailgate and keyless entry. A full suite of safety features includes autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist and rear cross traffic alert.

Verdict

Like the Swace, the Across shows Suzuki is benefitting greatly from its partnership with Toyota. The Across is a practical and capable SUV with a solid, spacious cabin and decent performance from its plug-in drivetrain.  It’s only real problem is that if you’re willing to ditch some of the fancy equipment, Toyota will sell you a RAV4 for less money.

Suzuki Across

Price: £45,599; Engine: 2.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbo, petrol with two electric motors; Power: 301bhp; Torque: n/a; Transmission: CVT, all-wheel-drive; Top speed: 112mph; 0-62mph: Six seconds; Economy: 42.9mpg; CO2 emissions: 22g/km; EV range: 46.6 miles

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