If you are in the market for a car that offers the practicality of a hatchback, the space and comfort of a midsize sedan and the road presence of a SUV along with peace of mind then look no further than the Maruti S-Cross. But if you are still wondering what it is, then think of it as a Ford EcoSport rival. Maruti Suzuki is so serious about this car that it has decided to sell it through its all-new upmarket dealerships called Nexa. So is the S-Cross all that its dolled up to be? Read on to find out.
The S-Cross looks like a typical Suzuki product. The big grille upfront with the horizontal slats and big ‘S’ logo in it along with the sweptback lamps gives it plenty of street cred. The rear with its well sculpted lamps as well as the plastic cladding running around the car give it a charming personality. But it’s not a design that will wow you or turn around lots of heads. It looks nice, mature and butch enough for most needs.
The S-Cross’ cabin feels like a familiar place to be in. That’s largely due to the fact that some of the switchgear is shared with other Maruti Suzuki cars in India. But that said, quality levels are better than you have seen on any Maruti product till date and even better than the Ciaz. The all black cabin feels like a sporty place to be in and the centre of attention is the big 7-inch screen, which also houses the controls for all key functions including the stereo, navigation as well as telephone. It also serves as the reverse view from the camera at the back.
The seats are comfortable as well and offer good bolstering along with support for even the longest journeys. The rear seats are wide enough to sit three in comfort for even the longest of journeys. There are plenty of cubby places inside the cabin too to keep your odds and ends at.
Engine, performance and gearbox
You get two diesel engines to choose from. There is no petrol engine on option just as yet. The engines include the tried and tested 1.3-litre DDiS motor which develops 200Nm of torque and 90bhp and an all-new 1.6-litre unit with 120bhp and 320Nm of torque. We sampled only the 1.6. In terms of power delivery this is a good engine. There is plenty of torque available from a relatively low 1,800rpm. Power is transmitted via a six-speed manual gearbox. The extra sixth gear gives the engine greater flexibility and also ensures that fuel economy is aided. Maruti claims 22.7kpl for this engine.
Like most typical common rail diesel engines this one also suffers from a bit of turbo lag below 2,000rpm but once past that mark the surge of torque on offer will push you back into your seats. This power helps make the S-Cross hit 100kph from standstill in just a little over 11 seconds, making it one of the quickest cars in this segment.
Ride and handling
This is one department where the S-Cross has the definite edge over its rivals. Maruti Suzuki are the masters when it comes to suspension tuning and the S-Cross is no different. The balance between sporty handling and comfortable ride is very good. The steering is crisp and quick to respond to input while the dynamic chassis is agile and loves quick lane changes. I will stretch my neck and say that the S-Cross is the best car for keen drivers in this segment and clearly ahead of its main rivals the Hyundai Creta and Ford EcoSport.
Safety and features
You get four disc brakes to aid braking along with ABS. This car has also received a 5-star safety rating in the Euro NCAP safety tests. You also get twin airbags as well as voice activated controls. The top version comes with HID-projector headlamps. The boot is a good size too and the rear seat backs can be dropped for greater flexibility. Other features include a navigation system as well as cruise control to ensure total peace of mind.
The S-Cross is the best compact SUV car for keen drivers with a punchy and frugal diesel engine. It also offers a comfortable cabin and rich features list. All that along with the trusted Maruti Suzuki brand means that resale values as well as aftersales will be very strong making the S-Cross one of the best buys in this competitive segment.