5 August 2015 Maruti-Suzuki S-cross has been launched in India at a starting price of Rs 8.34 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The growing popularity of SUVs in India has been encouraging all major manufacturers to offer their models in the market segment. While some of them such as Renault Duster were built as utility vehicles from the ground up, others are just regular hatchbacks with cladding for a muscular look.
Maruti Suzuki’s offering here is the S-Cross but the company does not call it a compact SUV as that title is formally reserved for another product. The S-Cross is a crossover. It has been marketed internationally as the ‘SX4 S-Cross’ and in India it was first exhibited at the 2014 Auto Expo.
You get two engine options with the S-Cross and both are diesel:
• 1.3 litre DDiS generating 89 bhp at 4000 rpm and torque of 20.39 kgm at 1750 rpm - this is mated to 5 speed manual gearbox
• 1.6 litre DDiS generating 118 bhp at 3750 rpm and torque of 32.63 kgm at 1750 rpm – this is coupled with 6 speed manual gearbox
In India there is no petrol engine, automatic transmission or all wheel drive for this car.
On a casual glance, the S-Cross can be considered a regular hatchback with cladding for pseudo muscles but it is longer than Fiat Avventura and Hyundai i20 Active. At 4300 mm, its length is also more than Hyundai Creta. It has a width of 1765 mm and the height measures 1590 mm. The ground clearance of 180 mm is less than that of Duster and EcoSport.
The design is aggressive but not particularly unique. There are hints of family looks too. The fact that it has evolved from the SX4 is quite apparent. Chrome has been applied on the front end for the customisation of the two slat grille to Indian preferences. The grille has an integrated Suzuki ‘S’ logo. There are silver highlights on the headlamps and the cluster includes an LED strip which is not a daytime running light but a pilot light. Fog lamps are also outlined by chrome.
The door panels have a touch of silver on their black plastic cladding. Black cladding goes around the wheel arches. S-Cross gets 16 inch alloy wheels with 205/60 R16 tyres. The ORVMs have integrated LED blinkers in the top end versions.
There are silver roof rails with flush type make. There is a short radio antenna at the back. The waist line of the car merges with the tail lamps that have a nice design.
Getting inside the S-Cross is easy thanks to the calculated ground clearance and the cabin feels premium. The all-black dashboard has touches of silver and plastic quality is good. With ample glass area, the interiors feel airy. It is easy to identify the parts – steering wheel, switch gear, gear lever - that are shared with other Maruti cars.
S-Cross has supportive seats and the cushioning that is on firm side does not feel uncomfortable. Legroom and headroom are enough. There is a usable centre armrest. It’s easy to find a comfortable driving position in this car and frontal visibility is good. The size and make of ORVMs makes them practical for view.
There are many spots for storage of small articles. All doors get 1 litre bottle holders and there is place under the centre console to keep a mobile phone. Centre armrest also has sufficient storage underneath and the ports for USB and Aux. The glovebox is not cooled but has illumination.
The AC does a nice job in cooling up the cabin and there is a 7 inch touchscreen based Smartplay infotainment system thanks to which not many buttons are put up on the centre console.
Moving over to the rear part of the cabin, the bench seat feels comfortable. Headroom, legroom and under thigh support are also good. There is plenty of light through the large glass area. The rear seat is good enough for three adults and the backrest can recline albeit to a limited range. The transmission tunnel hump is not big enough to make the middle seat passenger uncomfortable. A centre armrest is provided for more comfort when the bench seat is occupied by only two.
S-Cross has a boot of 353 litres and it goes up to 375 litres when the backseat is not reclined. The international version of S-Cross gets a boot of 430 litres. The reason for less space in the Indian model is a full-sized spare wheel (steel, not alloy) that is fitted below the boot floor and causes it to have a raised level. The rear seat is capable of 60:40 split and can also be folded flat for 810 litres of stowage area. Loading and unloading of luggage is easy.
Like the premium hatch Baleno, Maruti S-Cross is available exclusively at the company’s NEXA (New Exclusive Automative Experience) that has been categorised to sell their premium line-up of vehicles. The four variants for S-Cross are called Sigma, Delta, Zeta and Alpha.
Colour options for this crossover include Urban Blue, Caffeine Brown, Pearl Arctic White, Granite Grey and Premium Silver.
The variants with 1.3 litre engine (DDiS 200 badge) are priced between Rs. 8.03 lakhs and 10.60 lakhs. With the 1.6 litre engine (DDiS 320 badge), they are priced between Rs. 10.23 lakhs and 12.03 lakhs. (all prices ex showroom Delhi). The base variant Sigma only comes with the smaller engine. A good point is that all variants have disc brakes on all wheels, ABS & dual airbags.
The built and cabin finesse are some fine points of S-Cross at first look. There is a significant price difference between the models with small and the bigger engine - this can be an impediment to sales to the latter but the 1.6 litre engine does make the car a commendable performer. Ride and handling package also gets a Like from us. All of this coupled with the trustworthy sales and service network of Maruti means the S-Cross is a good buy if you are considering a crossover.