The urban/compact SUV is undoubtedly the fastest growing segment in India currently. Renault first explored the space with its Duster, and then almost every car manufacturer tried to grab its share. However India’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki remained detached from the game.
Mid - 2015, MSIL shed it’s cheap and cheerful image and established a sub-brand called ‘Nexa’ to sell its premium offerings. Alongside the showrooms, an all new S-Cross debuted as well. Now, Maruti insists that the car in question isn’t a compact SUV or a hatchback on stilts. They say, it is a ‘premium crossover’. Does the S-Cross justify the tag? Let’s find out.
1. Powerful 1.6-litre diesel engine with segment-best 320 Nm of maximum torque.
2. Roomy cabin - can seat 5 people in relative comfort.
3. Mature ride quality, handles uneven roads easily.
4. Loaded with features: projector headlamps, 7" touchscreen infotainment, leather seats, cruise control etc
1. No petrol engine option. Petrol engine could have brought the starting price down.
2. Average boot space @ 353 litres. A much smaller Honda Jazz gets a similar capacity boot.
3. No automatic variant (like the Creta) or AWD (like the Duster)
Stand out features:
1. All wheel disc-brakes standard. Only car in its class to have this.
2. Dual airbags standard across the range save for the base variant (it gets driver airbag only).
Internationally, the car is known as the SX4 S-Cross, but keeping the SX4's rather forgettable stint in mind, the carmaker has dropped the SX4 prefix for India. Not just this, they have also axed the 'Maruti Suzuki' badge from the boot lid, so you'll just see the Suzuki nameplate there.
This is the first Maruti that’s being retailed through the premium Nexa dealerships, and not via the regular network. Service facilities however, are being shared.
Like the S-Cross, all cars in this segment including the Duster, Terrano, Creta and even the smaller EcoSport are crossovers. But while the rest go out of their way to ape the styling of butch, rugged SUVs, the S-Cross doesn’t.
Let’s be honest, the S-Cross' design isn't jaw-dropping, nor is it outright bad. It’s a simple looking car which won’t attract many eyeballs and no heads will turn when it will pass by. Those desiring macho looks and glamorous styling that made the S-Cross’ closest rival (read : Creta) a blockbuster – is missing on the Maruti.
The S-Cross' front fascia reminded us of the discontinued SX4 sedan. The large headlights and the stubby nose do have hints of the old SX4. There’s abundant bling up front in form of the silver accents in the headlights and the chrome on the foglamp housing. Not to mention, the two slat radiator grill is finished in chrome too and bears a huge, 'S' logo.
Post the bling elements – you’ll notice matte silver accents on the front & rear skid plates and on the side skirts as well. Even the roof rails are painted silver and all these together add some subtleness to the otherwise bling design.
Speaking of bland designs, the alloy wheels really should have been styled differently. These 16-inchers can easily be mistaken for plastic wheel caps; though we started loving it after we saw the ones on Baleno.
Talking about the rear, there’s a strong shoulder line emanating from the edge of the headlamp, which cuts across the door handles and meets the tail-lamps. The tail-lights have a hint of EcoSport to them, which according to us, is not a bad thing. The space between the tail-lamps forms a neat little hexagon that enhances the appeal at rear.
The S-Cross, despite of its rather generous proportions comes across as a car that blends in the crowd. There simply isn’t a ‘wow factor’ to make you give it a second look.
Unlike the Ciaz, S-Cross’ interiors carry an all-black theme. Some find the all-black interiors less appealing, but we at Cardekho find it really sporty. So thumbs up for that.
Like the exterior, the interiors also lack that 'wow’ factor. But what you'll appreciate is a fuss-free dashboard design with matte silver highlights to break the all-black monotony. Due to the decent glass area all around, the cabin does feel airy. The textured overlay on the dash has a nice, rubbery, soft-touch material. The quality of the plastics could have been better, especially on the switches for the power windows. On the whole, fit and finish across the cabin is neat.
A 7” touchscreen infotainment system forms the bulk of the centre console. The unit goes a long way in reducing the clutter of buttons on the dash. Everything is operated via touch, unlike the Hyundai Creta which gets separate physical buttons for operating the infotainment system. The system can play media from a host of sources like Radio, USB, AUX-in and also gets Bluetooth compatibility for music streaming and calls. It also gets in-built navigation.
The steering unit is similar to the one on the Ciaz. It is wrapped in leather and offers nice grip. The wheel gets integrated buttons for the media, Bluetooth telephony and the cruise control. Behind the steering wheel lies the two pod instrument cluster with a cool-blue backlight. It houses an MID sandwiched between two large dials - the rev counter and the speedometer. The MID displays information such as instantaneous efficiency, average efficiency, distance to empty, etc.
The seats on the S-Cross have been rather well executed – upholstered in black leather with contrasting stitching that definitely looks premium and gels with the all black theme of the dash. However, expect these seats to get quite hot in the peak summer days. If you liked the front seats on the Swift, you will love the S-Cross too. The bolstering and cushioning is spot on.
The rear bench is quite wide and good enough to accommodate three adults with ease. Legroom is evidently better than the Creta and the headroom is on the higher side as well. The sad part - rear bench passengers, neither get a rear AC, nor do they have a charging socket. We feel the rear AC shouldn’t have been omitted, especially since the car gets an all-black interior that tends to heat up.
Boot Space is average at 353 litres. The Duster leads the pack with a massive 475 litres of cargo volume.
The top-spec Alpha variant comes with keyless entry, push button start, cruise control, a touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, reverse camera, automatic climate control - the lot! Maruti seems to have taken a leaf out of Hyundai’s books and have loaded the S-Cross with a lot of kit. The quality is definitely a couple of notches above the standard Maruti fare as well. Overall, a simple but plush cabin from the largest automakers in the country.
Maruti did a Mahindra with the S-Cross. It went all-diesel with this crossover, offering a choice of two Fiat-sourced engines – the tried-tested 1,248 cc unit (1.3-litre) and the more powerful 1,598 cc mill (1.6-litre).
S-Cross 1.3 (DDiS200)
The 1.3-litre diesel is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox with power and torque figures identical to the Ciaz, i.e. 89 BHP at 4,000 rpm and 200 Nm of peak torque at 1,750 rpm. Do we need to say that the less-powered variant with the 1.3-litre engine performs in a rather regular and ordinary manner. The same engine, in a similar state of tune can be found in the Ciaz. The engine behaves identically. There is turbo lag before 2000rpm, after which the motor pulls cleanly. In comparison, the 1.4 litre motor on the Creta has better low-end grunt. However, the S-Cross is the more efficient pick between the two.
We have to say that the 1.3 motor does not feel all that underpowered for the size and the bulk of the S-Cross. However, better performance is always welcome.
S-Cross 1.6 (DDiS320)
If performance is what you're looking for, then the imported 1.6-litre engine will surely impress you. The mill promises 118 BHP @ 3,750 rpm and best-in-segment 320 Nm of torque @ 1,750 rpm. This unit is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. The DDiS320 is brilliant to drive and has a nice punch, but only after 2000rpm. In fact, if you aren’t careful, you might even stall the S-Cross when you are cantering around under 2000 rpm. It requires regular downshifts to keep engine alive, which might act a bit irritating in traffic.
Compared to the Creta 1.6, the S-Cross is definitely more fun to drive. The surge of torque is addictive at times and will have you grinning from ear to ear when you let it loose!
Ride & Handling:
The S-Cross has a relatively mature ride quality. A notch higher than it’s direct rival - the Creta, dare we say. It isn’t as bouncy as the Korean rival and definitely feels more sure footed when on the highways like a European offering. The suspension isn’t soft and neither too stiff – in short, very much like the Swift. The car does manage to tackle potholes and broken roads with relative ease.
The straight-line stability is fantastic – best from Maruti Suzuki till date. The S-Cross feels stable and eager to change direction, even during triple digit speeds. Due to the crossover-ish ground clearance of 180 mm, there is inevitable body roll when chucked fast into a corner. But, it isn’t as bad as, say a Duster/Terrano.
Maruti has managed well to strike a nice balance between ride and handling with the S-Cross. The car isn’t uncomfortable and at the same time won’t deter you from pushing it into a corner. The steering feedback is impressive. In fact, for an EPS(Electric Power Steering) – it’s quite good. Like most of the new age Marutis, the S-Cross’ steering also feels direct.
The S-Cross also gets all wheel disc brakes as standard. Again, we have to appreciate Maruti’s outlook for safety here. Braking is a no-frills affair - the car sheds speeds quickly without waving out of line.
In terms of safety, all trims of the S-Cross are loaded with Anti Lock Brakes and Electronic Brake Distribution. Another great addition is disc brakes all around where the convention is to have disc brakes only at the front and drums at the rear.
The S Cross also comes with dual front airbags (Driver + Passenger) as standard (Base Trim Gets only driver side airbag). All of these are welcome additions and shows Marutis growing focus towards passenger safety.
The Indian spec S-Cross hasn’t been through a crash test yet but the S-Cross for the south east asian market was put through ASEAN NCAP crash tests and scored a full 5 stars. However, the variant that was tested had 7 Airbags which is not on offer in India.
The S-Cross is offered in a total of 5 trim levels. The base Sigma trim misses out on essential safety features like the passenger side airbag, seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters. We feel these are essential safety requirements and opt for the Sigma (O) instead of the Sigma in case you are on a budget.
While the Delta trim starts showing few signs of premium features such as the reversing sensors and entertainment system, we highly recommend going for the Zeta trim as it will give the real feeling of premium features.
If you do not want to compromise on the features, go for the ALpha trim as it includes Apple’s Carplay System, Climate Control and a premium leather upholstery.
The S-Cross is undoubtedly the best attempt from Maruti Suzuki in recent time. While most of the offering in this space are hatch-converted crossovers, the S-Cross stands tall as a ‘built from scratch’ crossover. Class-leading features, great engine, good build quality and ample space make it a great package. Though, don’t expect it to act like a compact SUV or an off-roader.
It is definitely a ‘premium crossover’ – as per Maruti’s standards. With the recent price correction, the S-Cross comes across as an even more well-rounded package.
Maruti S-Cross price
|DDiS 200 Sigma |
|8,03,046 ||8,41,851 ||8,59,768 ||8,45,747 ||8,36,024 ||8,41,055 ||8,51,270
|DDiS 200 Delta |
|8,74,564 ||9,14,641 ||9,34,449 ||9,18,537 ||9,09,245 ||9,13,845 ||9,24,559
|DDiS 200 Zeta |
|9,87,973 ||9,86,433 ||9,95,079 ||9,86,303 ||9,68,269 ||9,86,541 ||9,86,247
|DDiS 320 Delta |
|10,23,212 ||10,65,876 ||10,91,381 ||10,69,759 ||10,62,034 ||10,65,150 ||10,77,371
|DDiS 200 Alpha |
|10,59,851 ||11,03,222 ||11,30,176 ||11,07,118 ||10,99,891 ||11,02,426 ||11,14,876
|DDiS 320 Zeta |
|11,26,158 ||11,70,653 ||12,00,257 ||11,74,535 ||11,68,013 ||11,69,927 ||11,49,952
|DDiS 320 Alpha |
|12,03,499 ||12,49,369 ||12,82,271 ||12,53,252 ||12,47,724 ||12,48,643 ||12,27,048