SUZUKI has long been a manufacturer of no-nonsense, easy going and to use cars that sit somewhere in the middle of size bracket most favoured by the British buying public.

It's always astounded me that they have never been favoured in the way that they deserve by the market place. Maybe, just maybe, its first two hybrid powered versions will get them the recognition their deserve.

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Actually, though, the two vehicles in question – the SUV-styled Across and the Swace estate – are not fully Suzuki at all, but produced under a collaborative agreement between Suzuki and Toyota.

The Across is really a stunning little worker that looks good (if a little staid), but offers CO2 emissions of just 22g/km and a weighted combined WLTP fuel consumption of 282mpg – and all from a combined power output of electric motors and petrol engine of 306hp.

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As is the way of these plug-in things, it has an all-electric (EV) range of 46 miles but the combined power also gives some pretty stunning performance of 0-62mph in six seconds. At the core of the plug-in hybrid system is a powerful front electric motor that delivers vigorous torque at low speeds and combines with a powerful 2.5-litre petrol engine for rapid acceleration at higher speeds.

The highest spec' model available includes the E-Four electronic 4 by 4 system, has leather heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, dual zone automatic air conditioning, auto function opening tailgate and a nine-inch multimedia touchscreen, all of which is very much up to snuff

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Priced at £45,599, it has characteristic SUV wheel arch mouldings, a sporty large open grille, and a front bumper with a prominent silver 'under garnish' to highlight perhaps the car’s all-round capabilities, which are pretty good on its 19-inch standard alloy wheels.

Further enhancing the driver and passenger experience is a nine-inch touchscreen display that works with Apple CarPlay for iPhone, Android Auto and MirrorLink for compatible smartphones. It did, however, have rather fiddly and small control buttons that become a bit of a pain when trying to do something on the move – much better to have big finger-sized options!

Unlike some in the Suzuki range, interior space is plentiful for front and rear passengers – sometimes they can be a bit cramped – but there's still room for a hefty 490-litre luggage compartment which comes with a mains voltage (220-volt) electrical outlet and 12-volt accessory socket.

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For this size of SUV – I guess you would call it a bit bigger than just a 'compact', the Across handles really well thanks to its MacPherson strut front suspension and double wishbone rear suspension provide a flat, comfortable ride with minimal body roll around turns for less stress on long drives.

Central to its E-Four system is a fairly sophisticated AWD Integrated Management (AIM), which controls not only drive force distribution, but also engine throttle control, transmission shift scheduling, electric power steering (EPS) assistance and braking, according to the driving conditions.

Off road, you just engage 'Trail Mode' to get the benefit of an automatic limited slip differential to keep the vehicle moving.

The Across makes the most of Toyota safety features include driving assist functions such as Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), which use a millimeter-wave radar and monocular camera.

The Swace is the second new hybrid model to be launched from the Suzuki/Toyota collaboration. Based on the Toyota Corolla hybrid estate, with subtle Suzuki input this is manufactured in the UK, with exports to Europe.

Available in the UK since November, 2020, SZ-T spec' has seven airbags, dual zone automatic air conditioning, seven-inch LCD colour screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto device connectivity, and the bliss of heated front seats and heated steering wheel.

As an estate, its all about practicality and from the outside it's almost impossible to accept that there's 596 litres of luggage capacity with all of the seats in play – this rises to 1606 litres with the seats doon.

It's also a nippy wee performer, and the combination of a 1.8 petrol engine and its slightly 'whiny' continuously variable transmission (CVT) and an electric motor gives it 120bhp.

Performance is not enough to jangle your nerves in any way – 0-62mph comes in a fairly leisurely 11.1 seconds – but you can expect to get more than 60mpg.