Imagine Tyson Fury going into the boxing ring with his hands tied behind his back or Lewis Hamilton lining up on the grid minus a steering wheel.

Spare a thought then for Suzuki which has been battling against the tide to get enough cars to meet demand. More than two years since Covid wreaked havoc around the world the fall out from the virus is still being felt. In the car industry the main problem is a shortage of semi conductors, tiny chips vital to the electrics. Without them the shiny cars rolling off the production line will not be going anywhere.

Suzuki is not the only victim and things are improving. The Japanese company’s world wide production is up on last year, but in the UK market share is static. Soul destroying for the team who say they could have doubled sales if they could get more cars.

Take the new S Cross full hybrid. Nearly all the supply of the top Ultra model are already sold although the entry Motion is predicted to be the biggest seller. It is not all bad news though because the new car has a positive story to tell.

Before we go into that let’s catch up with the S Cross story so far. Launched in 2014 it was meant to take over from Vitara as top dog in the range but has not made it yet. A year ago it had a total makeover and mild hybrid technology and now it is full hybrid which lowers emissions, improves economy and gives a small amount of electric only driving.

Against compact SUV rivals like Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage, S Cross has the lowest emissions and best economy while no one can touch it on specification.

Even the entry Motion comes with keyless entry, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, rear camera, 7-inch screen, all round electric windows, heated front seats, along with a list of safety equipment as long as your arm.

Cross traffic alert is part of the package and is one of the best safety features of modern times, warning of approaching vehicles while reversing. Think how useful that is in busy supermarket car parks where people are in too much of a rush to get out.

Moving up to Ultra adds all wheel drive with auto gearbox, leather upholstery, 9-inch touchscreen with navigation and 360 degree camera.

Power comes from a 1.5 litre petrol engine supported by a 140V power unit against 48V for the mild hybrid. It is a bit more economical and should be able to average 45-50mpg but the modest 113bhp translates into lacklustre performance.

Suzuki’s Allgrip drive system is a clever bit of kit working out when the front wheels need extra traction and is available with the manual gearbox as well as the six speed automatic. It comes with auto, sport and snow settings which can be locked.

S-Cross is pleasant to drive although some might find the ride a little too firm, while the Allgrip system proved more than capable over off road muddy terrain.

There is enough room for five adults although boot space has been reduced because of the larger battery pack and falls short of rivals.

Pricing is very competitive ranging from £24,999 for Motion mild hybrid to £31,549 for the full hybrid Ultra automatic. Interestingly Suzuki predict 70 per cent of sales will be for the cheaper Motion with only a quarter of those choosing the automatic full hybrid version.

S Cross is still going to find it hard going against a mountain of good opposition most of whom are more trendy with more up to date interiors but if you are looking for reliability, value for money and a shed load of equipment at entry level then look no further.

To back that up I leave you with this sobering thought. In a survey of 260 brands by the Institute of Customer Services Suzuki was third behind HSBC bank and John Lewis, and was the highest placed car manufacturer.

Fast facts

S Cross Ultra Allgrip


1.5 litre petrol hybrid; 113bhp

0-62mph 13.5secs; 108mph

48.7mpg combined

132g/km. 1st tax £220

Insurance group 16

Boot 293-665 litres