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Maruti Suzuki S-Cross Road Test Review in India

  • Jul 13, 2015
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2015 Maruti Suzuki S-Cross India

Introduction

The Indian cross-over and compact SUV segment has been on fire. Well literally. On one side we have cars like the Etios Cross, Cross Polo, Punto Avventura and i20 Active making up for the cross segment and on the other hand offerings like the EcoSport, Duster and Terrano make up for the compact SUV segment. The next two entrants will come in the form of the Hyundai Creta (compact SUV) and this, the Maruti S-Cross.
This is also Maruti’s first proper attempt at the premium segment (Rs 9-12 lac) and the S-Cross will be sold through exclusive Nexa dealerships.

2015 Maruti Suzuki S-Cross India

What is it?

[caption id="attachment_17096" align="alignnone" width="900"]2015 Maruti Suzuki S-Cross India headlamps Top-end versions get HIDs and DRLs[/caption]

In a nutshell, the S-Cross looks like an overgrown full-sized hatchback. It is surely going to compete in both the crossover and compact SUV segment but as far as design is concerned, it is not really a SUV. Maruti is marketing this car as a ‘premium crossover’ which means you are offered best of both the worlds but more on that later.

The S-Cross is one of those cars which take time getting used to. First glance at the car and you will not really be excited. Spend a day with it and you will start giving it more than just a couple of glances. The S-Cross looks good and slightly muscular and though it’s not the prettiest thing on two-wheels in the Rs 8-12 lac bracket, there’s a lot going in its favour.

IMG_1116

At 4.3 meters in length, it’s almost as long as the Renault Duster / Nissan Terrano though it’s narrower and lower in height. Up front, I am fan of those big headlamps with integrated DRLs and HIDs and the raised hood. The twin slate chrome grille with a big Suzuki logo looks premium and so does the dash of chrome around the fog lamp housing. To justify the ‘crossover’ theme, the S-Cross gets silver skid plate garnish at all four ends and matt black finish on the lower part of the body. Side profile is interesting and this is where the S-Cross shows off its long wheelbase and hatchback design. What I personally don’t like is the alloy wheel design – it’s a bit too sober for my liking. A sportier design with matt black finish would have done wonders to the way this car looks.

2015 Maruti Suzuki S-Cross India tailamps

At the back, there is no usage of chrome apart from the Suzuki logo and this is a good approach. Split lamps look nice and we love the minimalistic approach.

Check our video review of the S-Cross



S-Cross Exterior Gallery

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And on the inside?

[caption id="attachment_17120" align="alignnone" width="900"]2015 Maruti Suzuki S-Cross India interiors Seen here is the top end version - looks rich, eh?[/caption]

If you are going to be a S-Cross customer, the cabin will surely delight you. Step inside and you will find yourself cocooned in premium-ness. The S-Cross is the plushest and the most feature loaded Maruti ever and for starters, we love the overly black theme. Black, as a color, oozes luxury and works well here too.

[caption id="attachment_17121" align="alignnone" width="900"]2015 Maruti Suzuki S-Cross India steering That's a fully loaded cabin[/caption]

There is clever usage of chrome and silver inserts too and the big touch-screen takes centre stage inside the cabin. What you see here is the top-end version and the only feature missing is a cooled glove-box. You get everything from auto headlamps, rain sensing wipers, auto inside mirror, start-stop system to cruise control, comprehensive driver info display, arm-rest etc.

[caption id="attachment_17122" align="alignnone" width="900"]2015 Maruti Suzuki S-Cross India interiors Air-con works well but we would have loved dedicated rear vents too[/caption]

The steering gets controls for audio system, Bluetooth telephony as well as cruise control. Worthy of a mention is the driver information display which shows a wealth of information including outside temperature, range, instantaneous and average fuel economy along with trip meters.
Space up front is really nice and inspite of lowering the driver’s seat completely, you still sit high and this in-turn gives you a commanding view of the road. Big windows add to the visibility part too. Seat themselves feel comfort and snug you well.

Ergonomics in the S-Cross are top notch and really user centric. That said within a couple of days of driving this car, I noticed my left knee hitting the central panel (around the climate control system) a lot and this can be distracting on long drives. There is a dead pedal though and there are ample cubby holes with generous bottle holders in the door pads.

[caption id="attachment_17123" align="alignnone" width="900"]Rear seats are very spacious Rear seats are very spacious[/caption]

The back seat of the S-Cross is comfortable too. What helps is that you end up sitting slightly higher than the front seats and this gives you better visibility as compared to some of the other crossovers in India. Seats are comfortable and the S-Cross is one of the most spacious cars in the segment. You also get a central arm-rest with cup-holders and the huge parcel tray should come in handy for rear seat passengers. However what lets the experience down are two things – there are no rear A/C vents and second, the high transmission tunnel (due to AWD version that is sold abroad) will end up interfering with a fifth middle seat passenger.

Maruti S-Cross India boot space

The S-Cross comes with a boot space of 353-litres and with the second row down, this increase to 810-litres. Now for comparisons, the new Honda Jazz offers the same boot but measures only 4 meters in length. Likewise, the Renault Duster offers as much as 475 litres for the 2WD models.

S-Cross Interior Gallery


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Is it powerful?

Maruti Suzuki S-Cross India

In one word, YES! The Maruti S-Cross will be offered with a choice of two diesel engine options. There is no petrol engine on offer, no optional automatic and no AWD either. You get to pick between a 1.3-litre diesel and a new 1.6-litre diesel. The former is the same that has been powering numerous other diesel cars in India and is offered in the 90PS form. We only got to drive the more powerful 1.6-litre version and with 120PS of power on tap along with 320Nm of torque on offer, the S-Cross is definitely one of the most enjoyable cars in the Rs 9-12 lac bracket. Keep this engine spinning over 1800rpm and the S-Cross will give you enough grinning moments. During acceleration runs, the front wheels beg for mercy while power shifting to the 2nd cog. Infact, on winding roads while shifting to 3rd at higher rpms, the wheels chirped again for a fraction of a second.

Maruti Suzuki S-Cross India  engine

For number crunchers, the S-Cross puts out 30% more torque than the 110PS versions of the Duster and Terrano! This also makes it a very able highway cruiser, munching up miles at a rapid pace. Inside city, things are slightly different. There is a bit of turbo lag under 1750rpm but yet the engine responds well to part throttle inputs.
The 1.6-litre engine comes mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, again first for a Maruti. It isn’t really a very smooth unit but the shifts are precise and we didn’t have a reason to complain. The S-Cross is the first Maruti to get a self-adjusting clutch but it seemed to be on the heavier side. NVH or noise, vibration and harshness levels are superb and it’s only when you start going fast at highway speeds do the road and wind noise make their presence felt.
Maruti is claiming ARAI certified economies of 23.65 kmpl and 22.7 kmpl for the 1.3 and 1.6 versions respectively.

And comfortable?

Maruti Suzuki S-Cross India

We got a chance to sample the S-Cross over a variety of terrains and came back impressed. Ride quality initially feels a tad on the firmer side but gives you so much confidence when driving off the road. The only limiting factor I faced was the average ground clearance of only 180mm. Having matt black body panels and silver skid plate garnish alone can’t make a car suitable for off-road. Thankfully though, the S-Cross comes with great tyres with deep groves and these do come in handy.

[caption id="attachment_17153" align="alignnone" width="900"]Maruti Suzuki S-Cross India Ground clearance is good for a hatchback, but not enough for a crossover[/caption]

On tarmac and city roads, the suspension goes about doing its duty in a remarkable and silent way. Push the car hard around corners and it takes the desired line pretty well. The S-Cross is no light weight hatchback – keep this in mind and this car will delight enthusiast. Steering feel is best described as being neutral – nimble for city usage and weights up adequately for highway usage. Infact, while driving the car, it feels like a proper mature big vehicle and makes you feel secure and safe – now this something that most other cars fail to do.

Should you be buying one?

Maruti Suzuki S-Cross India

The S-Cross will end up satisfying a wide variety of buyers. It is Maruti’s ticket into the Rs 10+ lac segment and the company is trying hard to win the hearts of premium customers. The S-Cross will only be sold through Nexa dealerships – these will offer a personalised premium experience to the buyer. Maruti aims to change the way a Rs 10 lac car is sold in India and we certainly think this will be a huge plus point in the S-Cross’ case.

[caption id="attachment_17155" align="alignnone" width="900"]Maruti Suzuki S-Cross India The S-Cross has its eyes on prospective customers from a lot of segments[/caption]

Next, the car doesn’t have a single Maruti badging and clearly, Maruti is focusing on using the Suzuki brand value. Finally, the car comes with a brilliant diesel motor, spacious and feature loaded cabin and well sorted dynamics. If Maruti can price the S-Cross well, they will end up poaching customers from various car segments! Stay tuned to know prices – these will be revealed later this month.
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