Suzuki launched new versions of their S-Cross and Vitara at Druids Glen Golf Club in Wicklow earlier this year. They also showed us their new joint promotion with Toyota – the Swace – which is an Estate. I wrote about it on these pages a few weeks back.

Last week I got to drive the new version of the S-Cross. Suzuki has made its name building cheap, reliable and uncomplicated cars, but the new S-Cross has loftier ambitions. The SUV is designed to rival the most accomplished cars in its class, including the Peugeot 3008 and Toyota C-HR.

There are two trim levels, Motion which I drove last week and the Ultra which will arrive before the end of the year and will be a four-wheel drive only.

The S-Cross SUV now has a bold and more muscular design, including angular wheel arches and smooth flowing lines. The front end design incorporates a raised bonnet line, piano black front grille and new LED headlamps.

This theme continues at the rear with larger combination lamps that integrate horizontally with the rear centre garnish to emphasise a sense of width, in addition to roof rails and integrated rear spoiler.

Inside there is a more spacious and versatile interior and a higher standard and safety specification than the previous model.

The controls on the dash are well laid out and easy to use. There are ventilation control knobs and buttons but no volume knob. I had to use the slave control on the steering wheel to adjust the radio volume. At first I thought great, there is a knob for volume and the one on the right must be to scroll through the radio stations, but no they were for adjusting the air condition.

The new Suzuki S-Cross is now powered by a 1.4-litre petrol engine with 48V mild hybrid technology and a manual or automatic gearbox. A full hybrid will join the range before the end of the year.

My test car came in an attractive shade of red. Inside the seats are black with a grey trim which does brighten up the décor. Red is a colour that will give you a ‘lift’ on even the dullest day of the year and I’m told that red is also the best colour to own when thinking about a trade-in.

The S-Cross is produced at the Magyar Suzuki plant in Hungary. Prices start at €29,315, while my automatic test model, which had a few extras such as heated drivers and front passenger’s seat, front and rear parking sensors, will cost you €31,770.

I liked the old-fashioned style hand-brake, but would have liked a spare wheel. But sadly no space for a spare as that boot space is taken up by the Hybrid technology. The two roof rails compliment the SUV rugged look.

For now Suzuki are happy with Hybrid versions and Alun Parry, their genial Press Officer, says they have no immediate plans for a fully electric car at this stage.

In the past Suzuki were seen as attractive for the older generation. I think this lively keenly priced S-Cross should appeal to young and not so young motorists.