Maruti Suzuki S Cross Review: First Drive

Opening

Maruti Suzuki debuted this intriguing-looking vehicle at the Delhi Auto Expo in 2014. It was billed as the company’s first foray into crossover area, and it made quite an impression on the audience, making it one of the most eagerly awaited releases of the year.

The Ford EcoSport, Hyundai i20 Active, Toyota Etios Cross, and a slew of other crossovers have seen a surge in popularity. While some appeared to have a thorough understanding of this personality type, others simply wanted a piece of the pie and arrived with half-baked versions.

The all-new Maruti Suzuki S-Cross is putting its toes in muddy waters; it’s not a car with angry looks and cladding, but it’s a lot better than you’d think. It boasts an extensive list of amenities, a powerful diesel engine, and a brand name that the entire country endorses. Will this ‘Premium Crossover’ defy preconceived notions? We discover the truth.

Exterior Appearance

The last time I saw the S-Cross at the Expo was almost a year ago. It does, however, stand out from the rest of the Maruti Suzuki lineup. The S-Cross’ overall appeal will appeal to people seeking a discreet yet adventurous looking automobile with distinguishing raw components that set it apart from everyday commuters.

It’s not official, but all of Maruti Suzuki’s current generation automobiles have a same design language, as evidenced by the Ciaz’s similarly styled mono design front nose. The radiator grille receives a double slat chrome garnish with big sweepback headlights to make it feel more premium with a traditional approach. LED position lighting and HID projector lights are also available on higher-end models. The fog lamp housing has a chrome surround, and the lower sump guard under the bumper is coated in aluminium.

The front hood has powerful muscular curves and a thicker belt line along the length of it. There is a modest flare just over the front wheel arch that climbs all the way to the tail lamps. It’s interesting to see Maruti Suzuki not overdoing the claddings, as opposed to others who appear to be urgently shouting about their crossover status. It has a beautiful side profile thanks to the bright roof rails, wider front window, compact rear section, and blackened pillars.

It comes with 205/50 R16 tyres and solid design alloy wheels, which could have been better if they were multi spoked. The S-Cross is 4300mm long, 1765mm broad, and 1590mm tall with roof rails in terms of proportions. This makes it roomier than competitors such as the Toyota Etios Cross, Volkswagen Cross Polo, and even the Hyundai i20 Active. It’s also bigger than the Ford EcoSport, with a 2600mm wheelbase.

The tail boot is equipped with split combination tail lamps, one half of which is mounted on the lid. On the tail door, there is a huge pocket for the registration plate. The semi-cladding on the lower part is carried over to the rear, with a matte finish on the lower piece of the bumper. The style is finished off nicely with a practically unnoticeable exhaust pipe on the brilliant bash plate.

Interior appearance

The interior has a more premium and affluent feel to it, thanks to Maruti Suzuki’s use of premium and upmarket trims and materials. It boasts an all-black theme and appears to be in the same league as the Ciaz. To be honest, the Indian automaker has come a long way from providing just functional interiors to currently producing ones that are more appealing.

With its fine design, the front dashboard has become a lot more welcoming than before. Although I prefer a blend of beige and black, the all-black look works well here. The leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel has buttons for adjusting the volume, phone, and cruise control. It also has a good grip and can be adjusted for rake and reach. Beyond the steering wheel, the new instrument binnacle is attractive, with blue rings and an expressive multi-information panel in the middle.

On the middle panel of the front dashboard, a premium layer of textured soft touch plastic is applied. Only the premium varieties get a silver highlight around the AC vents and the central smart play system. The touchscreen infotainment system is one of the best in the market, with a high-resolution screen, simple operation, and a variety of settings. To switch between music, phone, and navigation, the user can choose from a variety of windows. The screen also serves as a rear-view mirror.

Small utility pockets are located on the middle console. A larger recess is located just beneath the AC controls, with several small cubby holes positioned around the handbrake. Multiple silver accents run around the gear shift lever, which is again given a leather jacket below its shifter neck in the middle rift. There is a centre armrest with storage space underneath to help with extended commutes.

It’s a crossover that’s loosely based on a sedan, as evidenced by the reduced height. Those with heads above the average zone, on the other hand, are unaffected. You will also avoid rubbing shoulders with those seated next to you, which is a good thing. Only the Alpha model comes with leather seats that are fully padded. They aren’t particularly comfortable, but they won’t make you moan about it.

The under-thigh support is useful, and the front driver’s seat may be adjusted manually. When you sit in the back seat, you’ll realise how much space there is. Behind the front seats are magazine pockets, and the foldable rear armrest has twin cup holders. On the door panels, you can observe the Litre class container parts. By altering the rear seat arrangement, the trunk space may be increased from 353 to 810 litres.

Driven by Results

They build hatchbacks and sedans on a daily basis, but they’ve also produced some outstanding cars for rally enthusiasts in the past, like as the Gypsy, Zen, and Grand Vitara, all of which are renowned to kick rally dust in the greatest way imaginable. They aim to bring the same audience back with the S-Cross, but this time they want to strike a balance between performance and comfort.

Surprisingly, the S-Cross does not have a petrol engine, at least not when it makes its official entry. This luxury crossover is powered by two diesel engines that can handle a variety of circumstances. The DDiS 200 1.3-litre engine, which powers cars in a variety of tunes ranging from Zest to Ciaz, is designed for city dwellers who may travel on highways on occasion. It has a 5-speed manual transmission and produces 89 horsepower and 200 Nm of torque.

It is their revolutionary motor that will generate headlines and may also find its way into next-generation vehicles. The 1.6-litre DDiS 320 diesel engine produces 118bhp and 320Nm of torque. These figures are higher than those of many other sellers in the same price range. It has a 6-speed manual transmission, which is considered a must-have for highway travel.

The ride height isn’t very high, but it still manages to provide a good impression thanks to a large front windshield and a comfortable driver seat. The Zeta and Alpha variations, like other popular luxury options, get an electric Start/Stop button unless you’re driving a cheaper variant.

The engine revs at a bit less than 1000 rpm when idle and has a polished sound. In congested traffic, the turbo lag at lower range is a small concern. When you shift the manual stick to 1st, it flexes a little until it reaches 1700 rpm, where it enters the mid-range, which is also its peak performance zone. It is at this stage that the value of 320Nm torque becomes apparent.

If you keep your foot on the gas, the delivery will only improve. Although the shift quality could be better, it does a good job of getting the proper power at the right time. The increased torque also helps on highways, eliminating the need to shift into lower gears to reach higher speeds. Because the steering seems lighter, it requires continual correction.

The spruced up springs and all-wheel disc brakes ensure that there is no discomfort even when a quick turn is thrown at it. They suspension design does an excellent job of cancelling surface variations, keeping the cabin entirely isolated and resulting in decreased NVH levels.

Another thing that we believe can make a significant difference in vehicle dynamics is a better set of tyres, as the current ones aren’t very good at holding the road. Otherwise, with that kind of ride configuration, the S-Cross can’t be stopped on any surface. Its quick demeanour is especially advantageous in city driving, as it feels light on its feet while navigating traffic. It isn’t very speedy off the line, but it has enough power to get out of tight positions. This motor takes 11.3 seconds to reach 100 kmph, which speaks much about its capability.

Conclusion

Let’s take a look at some of its premium features, which include rain-sensing auto wipers, auto headlights, rear park assist with camera, reclining seats, all-wheel disc brakes with ABS, dual side air bags, smartplay infotainment system, and more… indicating that Maruti Suzuki isn’t taking any chances with their premium crossover. They’ve crammed it to the brim with features.

Although styling is a personal choice, there is undoubtedly a class of people that would prefer to be seen in something unusual and unique. The DDiS 320 has a lot of torque and is also quite efficient, with 22.7 kmpl, whereas the DDiS 200 has a greater mileage of 23.65 kmpl (ARAI).

There’s been a lot of talk lately about how the Indian mass vehicle builder treats luxury customers differently than normal customers. The NEXA range of high-end specialised stores will take the after-sales experience to the next level. This isn’t a marketing ploy; they’ve already engaged professionals from the hotel and airline industries to ensure that their VIP clientele receive first-class treatment. New-age technology, refined personnel with pleasant demeanors, Google Glass to experience their offerings, relationship managers, and so on. It is unquestionably a major step forward in the right direction.

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