Operating efficiency is gaining ever more significance as tighter budget controls call on most company car drivers to think twice about the cost of their travel.
However, extracting the most from every gallon doesn’t necessarily result in accepting that compromises need to be made with regard to driving pleasure, comfort and practicality, the key considerations for people who need to spend a lot of time behind the wheel.
Thanks to technological expertise, that also goes for vehicles with off-road capability, allowing drivers with more ambitious motoring aspirations to find the car that best suits their needs is now on the choice lists.
Many of the latest four-wheel drive models tick all the ecological boxes, but few of them present a stronger proposition than the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross that has been with Fleet News for the past few months.
Packaged to score high ratings with the growing number of business motorists looking for cars more suited to outdoor leisure pursuits as well as providing all-season mobility, the SZ-T is particularly well equipped for its price, with lots of useful features such as satellite navigation, dual air conditioning, hill hold, a rear view camera and tyre pressure monitoring all included as standard.
Smoothly styled despite being chunky, it also works well as all-purpose transport with family-friendly packaging that comes with a good load capacity that can be boosted by a double boot floor and adjusting the rake of the rear seat backrests.
But two key features have made the SZ-T a big surprise in our hands – performance and economy. The lusty Fiat motor may be a little gruff on idle, but it punches above its weight in output by being as lively as a two-litre unit. And with that in mind, it's little short of remarkable that economy has never fallen below the mid 50s and has even reached 65mpg on three occasions.
Even allowing for the fact that the car has been used mostly out of town and on relatively open roads, an overall figure of more than 60mpg is good by any standard – and excellent for transport that feels as sturdy as it looks and offering the peace of mind that comes with the guarantee of transport in all weathers thanks to all-round traction..