Suzuki Engineers’ Voice
New S-CROSS: Story Behind a True SUV Styling
Announced in the fall of 2021, Suzuki’s new S-CROSS SUV is now on sale worldwide. Its development and styling concept was to build “a powerful and versatile SUV that responds to the growing popularity of SUVs”. To understand the thinking behind the new S-CROSS, we sat down to talk with the engineers in charge, Shigeru Aoyama, Chief Engineer, and Katsuya Kotoda, the designer.
Please tell us about the S-CROSS design concept.
(Aoyama) The design concept we adopted was "a bold and dynamic SUV presence”.
We wanted a design that emphasises muscularity and aims to instil the driver with confidence and pride.
What details make the design so appealing?
(Kotoda) The exterior as a whole gives a powerful and bold appearance.
Let’s take a closer look. The front has a raised bonnet and a finely crafted piano black grille that makes a high-resolution design. Whereas the rear is accented by large, high-mounted rear combination lamps that connect to the centre garnish. The headlamps and rear combination lamps feature three-point signature lamps that add a sharp and distinctive look. The side has fenders which make you feel a sense of power just like the expansive front and rear design. Also, the square wheel arches look like they promise performance potential as an SUV.
But I don’t only want to talk about the exterior. The interior is impressive too and keeps the powerful and bold SUV look. However, the combination of two types of leather-like padding we adopted for the instrument panel conveys sophistication and quality.
What do you like most about the S-CROSS?
(Kotoda) I really like the front design. In particular, I think the piano black grille and the sharpness that flows from the grille to the headlamps is really a design highlight.
(Aoyama) Indeed the front grille design is distinctive. Also, I am fond of the Titan Dark Gray Pearl Metallic. It was very carefully developed to be the new colour for the S-CROSS. You can say that this colour gives a bold impression that shows the strength fit for an SUV. It looks completely different depending on the angle from which it is viewed and the way the light shines on it. The paint features strong contrast, with bright areas exposed to light and dark areas in the shadows. As a result, it makes the subtle changes in the body curvature clearly visible.
Please tell us what aspects of your work for the S-CROSS that you took the most pride in or where did you have to struggle the most?
(Kotoda) The most difficult aspect was to achieve a balance between aerodynamics and SUV styling. This is why we designed the S-CROSS to not only convey an image of being capable to tackle off-road situations, but also to drive with exhilaration on winding roads. I believe we have achieved a silhouette that successfully conveys the ruggedness of an SUV while at the same time evoking the feeling of a sporty drive.
(Aoyama) We had to ask ourselves how best to separate the good qualities of the SX4 S-CROSS and its strong “crossover” impression that we wished to incorporate from the parts we wanted to evolve. The SX4 S-CROSS had been developed as a "crossover" since it succeeded the previous generation SX4.
I believe it occupied a position between a passenger car (hatchback) and an off-road vehicle, creating a new genre at the time. In other words, it is a model that combined the manoeuvrability and quietness of a passenger car with the handling capability of an offroad vehicle.
I believe that this "crossover" positioning is what makes the S-CROSS unique and differentiates it from its competitors and from the Vitara.
On the other hand, the current market demand is for SUVs, so we struggled to satisfy these demands while at the same time not losing the crossover character.
What message would you like to leave for everyone?
(Aoyama) As SUVs continue to gain popularity around the world, the new S-CROSS represents a package carefully created to establish a high level of exterior and interior design, storage, driving performance, and safety features. We designed it to be used comfortably with family and loved ones and it is a vehicle that we can confidently recommend to people with diverse ways of life.
(Kotoda) I believe we were able to create a design that will exceed our customers' expectations for an SUV. It is a vehicle packed with features that lets you drive with confidence and great comfort. We hope you will experience the charm of the new S-CROSS for yourselves.