Suzuki S-Cross SZ4 Hybrid vs the MG ZS Exclusive

The now Chinese-owned MG Motors brand has been making some headway with sales in the UK since the release of the MG 6 in 2011 (the first new MG car in the country for 16 years) after production restarted in 2007. Since then and with a focus on affordability, MG Motors have released a number of other new models into the UK market, one of those being their compact SUV - the MG ZS. Like the Suzuki SZ4 S-Cross, the MG ZS is a dark horse in an already busy crossover segment and has stiff competition from popular brands like the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Audi Q2 so we decided it was only fair to see how they both faired in a head-to-head review.

The Models

Exterior

We can see that both vehicles are attractively styled with modern clean angles, but with Suzuki opting for a more aggressive front end on the S-Cross with the large chrome grille. Both the S-Cross and ZS feature alloy wheels, front fog lamps, roof rails and wheel arch extensions making them practical purchases, however if 4-wheel drive is on your list of requirements then you can rule out the ZS straight away as it's only available in 2WD across the range.

If you're looking to fit a towbar to your new car, then you may find the MG ZS a disappointment as its lack-lustre naturally aspirated engine is only good for 500kg braked towing, compared to the Suzuki's 1,200kg.

"The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is an affordable crossover that competes with models like the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti"

Carbuyer.co.uk

'Under the Hood' - The Engines

If you lift the hood of the S-Cross and ZS, you'll be surprised at the stark contrast in what is powering the models. MG opted for a 1.5 naturally aspirated engine with 106PS, whereas Suzuki fitted their popular and powerful 1.4 boosterjet, turbocharged engine with 129HP. Here is where the S-Cross outstrips the ZS entirely as the 1.4 boosterjet engine is not only more powerful, it's also more economical and environmentally friendly.

The ZS 1.5 engine manages a combined MPG of 41.4 compared to 50.1 from the S-Cross (thanks to its start/stop function not available on the ZS), and you'll pay a whopping £540 in first year tax on the MG because of its 155g/km of CO2 emissions, compared to £175 for 127g/km from the Suzuki. This means that not only will your carbon footprint be larger in the MG, you'll also be visiting the petrol station more often.

Interior & Safety Features

The first noticeable difference in the interior is that the ZS is equipped with a touchscreen whereas the S-Cross isn't. This is because the ZS comes with Sat Nav and a parking camera as standard, whereas you would need to step up to the SZ-T model in the S-Cross range to get these additional features. However, the S-Cross does come equipped with dual zone automatic air-conditioning, which the ZS lacks. Both cars show their value for money though when you see that they come with Hill Hold Control, Front and Rear Electric Windows, Automatic Headlights and Automatic Wipers as standard. Boot size is plentiful in both models with the ZS having a slightly larger offering of 448 litres vs. the S-Cross with 430 litres.

In terms of safety for these family cars, the S-Cross scores a maximum 5 stars in the Euro NCAP tests whereas the ZS scores just 3 stars. The ZS does feature blind spot monitoring, but doesn't come with Radar Brake Support or Adaptive Cruise Control like the S-Cross to give you some additional peace of mind.

Read more about car features and what they are

"The attractive MG ZS offers low-cost SUV practicality, but not much in the way of driving fun"

Carbuyer.co.uk

Reliability

The MG ZS surpasses the Suzuki with it's 7 year / 80,000 mile warranty, compared to the S-Cross's 3 year / 60,000 mile warranty, which will give some buyers extra peace of mind. However, in the latest Manufacturer Reliability Index, MG scored an average ranking of 17th out of 40 manufacturers whereas Suzuki ranked an exceptional 3rd out of 40. (Although Daihatsu ranks 1st in the list, this is deceptive as it hasn't produced a new vehicle in the UK since 2011 - so we can technically place Suzuki 2nd in the chart and MG 16th.) In 2018 the S-Cross was voted the overall winner in the What Car? Reliability Survey with an amazing reliability score of 97.7%.

Similarly, Suzuki also places 3rd (2nd if removing Daihatsu) in terms of average repair cost, vs MG's 10th (9th) position - meaning that in the unfortunate event your S-Cross needs repairing it will cost on average less than the MG ZS.

Click here to view the whole Manufacturer Reliability Index list

Conclusion

Both cars offer great value for money being equipped with plenty of features for a reasonable price. The MG ZS has Sat Nav and a Parking Camera which the S-Cross lacks, but the S-Cross offers more safety features such as Radar Brake Support and Adaptive Cruise Control, plus the convenience of dual-zone auto air-conditioning for the comfort of your passengers.

The S-Cross is an overall safer car, scoring the maximum 5 stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests vs. the ZS's mediocre 3 stars, but where the S-Cross really excels over the ZS is under the bonnet. It offers better performance, towing capacity and fuel economy combined with lower emissions.

If you're looking for a safe, reliable family car which is easy on the pocket then the Suzuki S-Cross takes the crown in this head to head. It's not only currently cheaper to purchase then the MG ZS, but the efficient 1.4 boosterjet engines means you'll continue to save on fuel and it's reliability rating should mean it costs you less across the lifespan of the ownership.

Want to test drive the S-Cross for yourself? Book yours here

Side-by-side Comparison

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross SZ4 1.4 Boosterjet HybridMG ZS Exclusive 1.5 DOHC VTI-tech
RRP On The Road£20,749£17,795
Current Offer Price£17,749*£17,795
EngineSelf-Charging HybridPetrol
Combined MPG (WLTP)50.141.4
CO2 Emissions127g/km155g/km
1st Year Car Tax£175£540
Doors55
Engine Power129 HP106 PS
0-60mph9.2 seconds10.6 seconds
Top Speed118 mph108 mph
Euro NCAP Safety Rating★★★★★★★★
Warranty3 years / 60,000 miles7 years / 80,000 miles
Manufacturer Reliability Index3rd (out of 40)17th (out of 40)
Average Repair Cost3rd (out of 40)10th (out of 40)
Radar Brake Support
Blind Spot Monitoring
Hill Hold Control
Adaptive Cruise Control
Dual-Zone Auto Air-Conditioning
Front & Rear Electric Windows
Automatic Headlights
Automatic Wipers
Engine Start/Stop
Sat Nav
Parking Camera
Roof Rails
Boot Size430 litres448 litres
Towing Capacity (Braked)1200kg500kg
Score1810

*not available with 0% APR representative finance. Prices correct at time of posting.