Suzuki and Toyota have been in alliance since spring 2019 having signed a joint memorandum of understanding as far back as 2017. The idea was to bring together the Japanese firms' strengths; Toyota's advanced powertrains – specifically with regards hybrid technology, and Suzuki's penchant for making pretty decent small cars.
It might seem ironic, then, that the first car to come to market under the scheme is an 'S' badged version of Toyota's popular RAV4, but given that cars destined for Suzuki showrooms are being built at Toyota's Derbyshire plant, it does make a lot of sense from a market access point of view. Furthermore, the RAV4 has a good set of specs as the brand's flagship PHEV, so hopefully it works just as well in Suzuki clothes.
Based on the new Toyota GA-K global platform, the Suzuki Across comes with a powertrain that really stacks up well in the D-segment SUV stakes. Under the bonnet sits a 2.5-litre, naturally aspirated petrol engine which is good for 182bhp and 167ft-lb which is supplemented by 180bhp and 199lb-ft worth of electric power, with a larger motor sending power to the front axle and a smaller one to the rear.
An E-Four electronic system keeps the power in check and can distribute as much as 80 per cent to the rear, or 100 per cent to the front depending on the requirements of the surface and driving conditions. This should make the Across decent across rough ground without too much detriment to fuel economy.
Storing the power for the electric motors is an 18.1kWh lithium-ion battery located beneath the floor. According to figures from Suzuki (which don't state that they are WLTP) in EV mode the Across can travel over 46 miles which would make it one of the more range-friendly PHEVs out there. Sadly, Suzuki hasn't provided official details around charging capacities and times.
In terms of performance, we can assume that the Across will fall into line with the RAV4. This means 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds, a top speed of 112mph and an EV-only top speed of 84mph. Emissions, which have been tested on the WLTP cycle, stand at 22g/km of carbon dioxide.
From the side and rear-on, the Across is almost a spitting image of the RAV4, even down to the alloy wheel design – but that isn't a bad thing as the Toyota doesn't strike a bad pose. Up front Suzuki has at least been able to alter the looks so that it shares some of the design cues as the rest of its range. Specifically, the headlights and grille distinguish it from its Toyota cousin, with a six-sided open grille dominating the lower proportion of the car's nose.
The headlamps are full LEDs with bi-beam projection and the 19 inch alloys are designed specifically for the PHEV – albeit with the Toyota logos being replaced by Suzuki ones. Six colours allow a degree of personalisation on the outside.
Inside it's once again a case of scratching off the Suzuki badges to reveal the Toyota ones beneath. That being said, it comes well-equipped and should last forever. A central 9 inch touchscreen controls the infotainment and integrates with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink services. There's space too, with 490 litres of luggage space with the seats up, as well as numerous cubby holes, drinks holders and trays to swallow up all manner of items. There's even a 230 volt outlet in the rear luggage compartment.
A host of safety and driver assistance features are included, including a pre-collision system, lane assist, road sign assistance, dynamic radar cruise control, blind spot monitor and rear crossing traffic alert.
Unfortunately, Suzuki hasn't confirmed the price for the Across and despite the fact that Toyota announced its RAV4 PHEV early this year, a UK price is yet to be revealed for that. Our best guess at the time was £38,000 and that is still a realistic figure for both it, and the Suzuki. Both cars will be available to buy in the autumn.
As for which to go for? Well realistically you'll be splitting hairs. However, here's something to think about: according to What Car? research in May 2020, Suzuki out-scores Toyota for customer satisfaction for both franchised dealers and independents. In the former Suzuki pips Toyota to fourth with 90.6 per cent satisfaction vs Toyota's fifth place at 89.7 per cent, whilst in the latter Suzuki tops the charts with 95.8 per cent satisfaction whilst Toyota languishes down in 14th at 92.4 per cent.