The designers and engineers behind the all-new Suzuki SX4 S-Cross looked to the top-selling Nissan Dualis as the benchmark in their attempt to produce a class-leading compact SUV.
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Suzuki SX4 S-Cross program chief engineer Takehito Arai told CarAdvice at the car's Australian launch that Suzuki's goal was not to simply benchmark the Dualis, but to "exceed it in almost every way".

“The S-Cross has about the same amount of rear legroom as the Dualis, but gets more luggage space – 430 litres against 410L for the Dualis,” Takehito said.

Suzuki S-Cross06

“The Dualis is a well-balanced vehicle with good dynamics, but again, we think the S-Cross drives with more composure and confidence due to its significant weight advantage over the Nissan. It’s 246kg lighter when comparing entry-level models."

Asked whether the reduced engine displacement from 2.0 litres in the SX4 to 1.6 litres in the new S-Cross would affect performance, the chief engineer again pointed to the vehicle’s lightweight design.

“Our new Suzuki SX4 S-Cross has a smaller engine than the Holden Trax and Nissan Dualis, but has a better power-to-weight ratio due to weight-saving technology like greater use of high-tensile steel in the body," he said.

Suzuki S-Cross18

Suzuki also claims the S-Cross' combined cycle fuel consumption - 5.8 litres per 100km for front-wheel-drive variants, 6.2L/100km for AWD - is significantly less than both key rivals (Dualis petrol from 8.1L/100km, Trax from 7.0L/100km), as well as some of the leading small cars such as the Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus (7.1 and 6.2L/100km respectively).

The second-generation Dualis - which will adopt the global Nissan Qashqai nameplate when it launches in Australia in the third quarter of 2014 - promises to better the SX4 S-Cross however, with its new 85kW/190Nm turbocharged 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine claimed to use 5.6L/100km on the combined cycle. Depending on the market, the Qashqai will also be available with two diesel engines, claimed to consume between 3.8 and 4.6L/100km combined.

The larger Qashqai will also beat the Suzuki for cargo capacity, with the new model's boot rated at 450L.

Suzuki Australia boss Tony Devers told CarAdvice he expects to sell at least 500 new S-Cross SUVs per month in 2014, around double the average monthly sales of the previous SX4.

CarAdvice is at the local launch of the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross in Victoria. Stay tuned for our review, coming soon.