Maruti Suzuki S Cross Review & First Drive

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Maruti Suzuki S Cross Overview

The SUV and crossover segment is quite unique in India because there are so many different ways companies are serving this very body style. Maruti’s first entry in the UV space (Gypsy aside) was with the S-Cross crossover and although the move seemed bold back then, to retail the car from a premium dealership network, it seems to have worked quite well as NEXA is a success. Now Maruti Suzuki has given the S-Cross a much-needed facelift while also playing around with the engine options. Does this cosmetic uplift boost the desirability of the S-Cross’ biggest chink in the armour?

Maruti Suzuki S Cross Exteriors

The biggest change is to the face in a bid to address the S-Cross’ biggest weakness, its uninspiring looks. In fact, this is more than a facelift, with almost everything forward of the windscreen, apart from the fenders, completely new. The S-Cross gets a muscular new bonnet, with strong character lines that are visible even from the driver’s view point. What really catches your attention and is the large, toothy grille with strong chrome accents. The new headlights look very high-tech and remind of the previous-generation BMW 5-series. But it’s only the top Alpha model that gets LED projector lights and LED daytime running lamps, while the lower three variants make do with halogens. The front is rounded off by an eye-catching new bumper and the overall design, while not classically pretty, is quite striking and certainly enhances the road presence of the S-Cross. Changes to side are quite minimal, like most mid-life updates, but the car does get new machine-polished 16-inch wheels that look quite fetching. At the rear, the more observant will notice a new LED tail-lamp design.

Visually, the S-Cross gets a breath of fresh air and the fresh face catches a lot of attention. This will, no doubt, get more people into the showroom. However, it must be said that the S-Cross continues with its crossover stance and the facelift has not resulted in a more SUV-like design.

Maruti Suzuki S Cross Interiors

Get behind the wheel and the familiar feeling is back; with everything, from the steering to the power window switchgear and wing mirrors, been seen on existing Maruti models. So much for doing away with the badging. They should have kept the badges and done away with the aggressive parts-sharing instead.The upside being that there’s none of the ‘unknown-car’ feeling. You quickly get comfortable in the large seats; even as you notice the lack of electric controls for the adjustments. The cabin on the whole is nice and airy.

There’s enough space for four reasonably sized adults and are a marked improvement from the rest of the Maruti line-up. They’ve even managed to stay away from the temptation to go beige on the interiors and stuck to the European appeal, all black with silver accents instead.There’s touch-screen controls for the central entertainment system, that’s on-par for the segment and we’ll come back to the actual performance later.

Build-quality though, continued to underwhelming, with small squeaks and rattles starting to develop even before the day had ended. The door-pads rang hollow when subjected to the ‘knuckle-rap’ test and the power-window buttons looked like they’d start to rattle in their spot, in no time.Fit and finish too could be improved on the S-Cross, particularly on the inside where the gaps between different panels is particularly inconsistent.

Maruti Suzuki S Cross Gearbox

The Maruti S-Cross was launched with two diesel engines earlier, both sourced from Fiat, one being the 1.3-litre unit which needs no introduction while the other was the 1.6-litre unit that belted out 120 BHP and 320 Nm, it was quite a fun motor but being imported, was costly. Maruti has now ditched the big 1.6-litre oil burner and the S-Cross is now only available with a 1.3-litre engine.

Better known as DDiS 200, this motor, as you guessed it, produces 200 Nm of torque and 89 BHP of power. Changes have been made to this engine, it now gets SHVS aka Suzuki’s smart hybrid tech along with engine stop-start, brake energy regeneration and an integrated starter generator motor which has a mild torque assist function, thereby improving acceleration slightly. The most obvious benefit is a boost in fuel economy from the previously claimed 23.65 km/l to 25.1 km/l. For more details on Maruti Suzuki S Cross visit Isc2013

The 1.3-litre engine is more than up to the job to get the Maruti S-Cross moving as in city conditions, one won’t miss the bigger engine. However, out on the highway, the performance of the smaller diesel mill isn’t in the same league as it is slower to reach to the ton and thereafter as well. One needs to work the gearbox to extract the best from the engine, more so because there is low-end lag and the powetrain only wakes up past 2000 RPM, redlining all the way at 5300 RPM. NVH too isn’t the best and the engine has started to show its age with the drivetrain being quite vocal at high engine speeds. The 5-speed gearbox offers short throws but the shifts aren’t smooth and at times you have to try twice to get to a gear, the clutch is also on the heavier side.

Maruti Suzuki S Cross Driving

The S-Cross has a well-judged suspension set-up. Ride comfort is good, with a supple and planted feel that absorbs all but the nastier potholes in the road. Factor in the generous ground clearance, and the S-Cross can handle broken roads without stress. High-speed behaviour is excellent as well, and the car feels planted at triple-digit speeds through flowing corners. We didn’t get to test the outright fun factor on a tight mountain road, but the S-Cross impresses with how it balances comfort and dynamics. For more info on car loan check Fincarz.

Tyre size has risen from 205/60 R16 to 215/60 R16 and the new JK UX Royales are a big improvement over the previous JK Elanzos as they offer quieter performance and good grip. However, the tyre’s stiff sidewalls do result in a stiff-kneed ride at low speeds. Steering feel is typical of most new-age Marutis and there’s a decent amount of weight, but with a slightly light and vague feeling at the centre. Disc brakes all-round offer secure performance, but we’d have liked stronger bite in the initial pedal travel.

Maruti Suzuki S Cross Safety

Dual airbags, ABS with EBD and ISOFIX child mounts come standard across the S-Cross range, kudos to Maruti for that. However, there are no side and curtain airbags like the European-spec S-Cross which scored a full 5 stars in the Euro and ASEAN NCAP crash tests. However, the S-Cross facelift also gets all 4 disc brakes. We all are aware what is the reach of Maruti’s network in India. A service centre can be found even in the remotest of areas. However, the S-Cross facelift will retail only through the NEXA channel, which is quite less in number when compared to the regular Maruti dealerships.

Maruti Suzuki S Cross Price in Bangalore

Maruti Suzuki S Cross On-Road Price in Bangalore ranges from 10,59,643 to 14,20,241 for variants S Cross DDiS 200 Sigma and S Cross DDiS 200 Alpha respectively. Maruti Suzuki S Cross is available in 4 variants and 5 colours. Below are details of Maruti Suzuki S Cross variants price in Bangalore. Check for Maruti S Cross price in Bangalore at Carzprice.

Maruti Suzuki S Cross Summing Up

The S-Cross looks best in darker/brighter colours, while the Pearl Arctic White that our car came with, not doing enough justice to the lines or the silhouette. But more importantly, Maruti just might have priced themselves out in comparison to the competition. The S-Cross range starts at under INR 10 Lakhs in Mumbai (on-road) for the lower powered 1.3 litre engine, but the DDiS 320 series, 1.6 litre engine range starts at just under INR 14 Lakhs in Mumbai (on-road). We had the top-end, DDiS 320 Alpha and this was priced at just under INR 17 Lakhs in Mumbai (on-road). At this price, the S-Cross goes up in battle not just against the well-established Renault Duster but also the newest launch from Hyundai – the Creta. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out then.

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