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Car Review

Suzuki Across PHEV review

Published: 20 Nov 2020


What is it like to drive?

The Across can run on its electric motors alone at up to 84mph, which almost seems excessive. There are e-motors at each axle, offering a combined 234bhp. More than enough to make the hefty Across spritely enough on the open road without waking the engine, that. We saw a best full-charge range of 31 miles vs a claim of 46 miles. Its electrciity consumption was impressively efficient, at around 2.7 miles per kWh.

Unlike some PHEVs, it’s mercifully easy to tactically switch between the car’s various driving modes. Two buttons on the centre console toggle between full EV mode, an auto hybrid mode (which could do with rousing the engine earlier when cruising), a charge-hold mode which depends on the engine – handy if you’re heading into a low-emission urban zone later in the day – and a charge mode, which can juice the battery as you drive with a fuel consumption penalty. 

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Having buttons readily at hand for this purpose is far preferable than the VW Group’s habit of burying it in a touchscreen sub-menu. It means you’re likely to get the best out of this well-endowed powertrain more of the time. 

The engine itself is a 2.5-litre, 180bhp four-cylinder unit without a turbo. Combined, this is a 300bhp powertrain, and that blesses the Across with genuinely rapid performance. It’ll do 0-60 in a hot hatch-spec six seconds. A Ford Kuga Hybrid takes half as long again to get there. 

The down side to uncorking this amusing urgency is the CVT ‘gearbox’, as preferred by Toyota for hybrids. This is not an engine happy at consistently high revs, and when asked to deploy its grunt the combustion engine buzzes angrily through the bulkhead.

Though the handover between e-power and dino-juice is smooth, free of jerks or surges, the noise is unwelcome, and unbefitting of a £45,000 car. If you can maintain some charge to keep the engine unstressed, it’s an altogether more refined experience, though wind and road noise are middling for the class, and won’t give an Audi Q5 any nightmares. 

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If you’re expecting the rest of the drive to match the surprising turn of speed… you’re mad. This is not a sporty utility vehicle. The ride’s a bit fidgety and the Across is ponderous in corners. It’s easy to thread in town though, thanks to the contoured bonnet placing the corners of the car, and the generously sized door mirrors. There’s a standard back-up camera that’s handy when parking. 

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