2020 Maruti S-Cross First Drive Review

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Maruti Suzuki S-Cross - Topgear Magazine India
Maruti takes the plunge yet again with the S-Cross, but this time round with a change of heart

Okay before you’ll scoff at TG for making a printing error, let me tell you that’s not what has happened. This isn’t a page from 2017 and the S-Cross isn’t the same either. What this is, is Maruti taking the plunge yet again with the S-Cross, but this time around with a change of heart.

Maruti S-Cross First Drive Review - Topgear Magazine

Owing to its shift to petrol engines, the premium crossover is back and now features the ubiquitous 1.5-litre petrol engine capable of 103bhp and 138Nm of torque, and is also shared with the Ciaz, XL6, Ertiga and even the Vitara Brezza.

Maruti S-Cross First Drive Review - Topgear Magazine India

Now, I know the S-Cross has had its share of problems in the past, what with the polarizing design and lack of features, but the addition of a new petrol engine just might be what it needs.

Maruti S-Cross First Drive Review - Topgear Magazine Online

Start it up and the first thing you notice is how silent the engine is. The refinement levels are excellent and apart from a slight thrum, it is barely audible inside the cabin. Then you grab the steering wheel to get a move on and again, the lack of vibrations is appreciated. Once you set off, the strong bottom-end response makes it very easy to drive, especially at city speeds; one of the perks of not having a turbo. However, put your foot down and there is little grunt from the engine; a downside of not having a turbo. That said, power delivery is linear and even though the needle gradually climbs on, you have enough torque to make a quick pass. Just don’t expect a surge like you get on turbo-charged engines. Now being a Maruti, this S-Cross is also a SmartHybrid. So while you’re sitting stationary in traffic, the 48V battery will shut off the engine and start it back up seamlessly as you get going. It does save you some precious fuel and given the current fuel prices, I take that as a plus.

What further complements its calm and laid-back driving dynamics is the 5-speed manual gearbox. The gears are well-calibrated and there isn’t much shuffling even in slow-moving traffic. You can leave it in second gear from as low as 15kph. On the highway though, you miss that extra sixth. Triple-digit speeds are easily attained, but at 100kph the engine spins at around 3000rpm and even though it’s one of the most refined petrol motors out there, it does get vocal.

Maruti Suzuki S-Cross  - Topgear Magazine

Ride comfort has always been a S-Cross positive and it’s the same story with this petrol version. Bad roads are dealt with ease and you need not flinch going over bumps as there is plenty of clearance even with a full load.

Maruti Suzuki S-Cross Display - Car Blogs Online

Then there is the handling which again, sees no change. It isn’t the most exciting and involving, thanks to a vague steering, but the S-Cross does feel more planted at speeds and has far less body roll in comparison to its taller-standing SUV rivals.

Maruti Suzuki S-Cross - Car Update Online

Unfortunately, what is also unchanged, is the features list. The S-Cross is a premium offering by Maruti, but offers little in terms of premiumness. The cabin for one is just not plush enough and it also misses out on key equipment like a sunroof, six airbags, wireless charging, ventilated seats etc. All of which, is available on its rivals.

Maruti Suzuki S-Cross - Topgear Magazine India

Yes, you do get LED projector headlamps, dual airbags and a 7.0-inch SmartPlay system, but that’s about it. So when you consider the price which ranges between Rs 8.39 lakh to Rs 12.39 lakh (for the AT), it is a hard sell in comparison to its more conventional-looking and feature-rich rivals. However, if you don’t mind skipping on extra tech, and want a practical and refined crossover with lots of room and impressive urban characteristics, the S-Cross is an option worth checking out.