CD Speak: Could Turbo-petrol Engines Bring A Breath Of Fresh Air To Maruti Cars?

Modified On Apr 24, 2023 01:16 PM By Rohit for Maruti FRONX

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The carmaker has been missing exciting powertrains from its lineup for the longest time while its rivals have offered them for time

Update (24/04/23): Maruti has launched the Fronx crossover SUV in India, starting from Rs 7.47 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

Maruti Suzuki Boosterjet engine

Maruti took the covers off the Baleno-based crossover, the Fronx, at the 2023 Auto Expo. One of the key highlights about the Fronx is the reintroduction of the 1-litre Boosterjet turbo-petrol engine option last seen in the Baleno RS a few years ago. While being a detuned turbo-petrol it is not exactly packed with performance, it’s a promising start and Maruti’s lineup could benefit from the long-awaited introduction of turbocharged petrol engines across the lineup.

The Odd-one Out

Maruti Grand Vitara ReviewGrand Vitara hybrid powertrain

In recent years, turbo-petrol engines have become quite common in most premium compact offerings. However, Maruti has not offered the benefit of punchier and smaller engines while rivals like Hyundai and Tata have used them to position themselves as more exciting brands. Instead, the brand offers TWO petrol engines across 12 models. A 1.2-litre petrol unit for hatchbacks and the Dzire, while the others share a 1.5-litre petrol engine. Even the newly introduced strong hybrid powertrain in the Grand Vitara offers less than 120PS of performance.

Furthermore, brands like Mahindra, Kia, and MG have also introduced potent turbocharged engines that offer more punch than their Maruti rivals in almost every category. Even Nissan and Renaul offer the choice of a 100PS turbo-petrol engine with their subcompact SUVs. 

Also Read: Maruti Plans To Launch 6 EVs In India By 2030, Expect Electric Versions Of Wagon R, Fronx & Swift

Maruti’s Previous Turbocharged Offering

Maruti 1-litre Boosterjet engine

The Fronx 1-litre Boosterjet engine is somewhat familiar to the Indian market. It premiered as the powertrain for the sportier Baleno RS with a performance rating of 102PS and 150Nm, mated to a five-speed manual only. However, it entered the premium hatchback space too late and with too little. Even then, the likes of the Volkswagen Polo and Fiat Punto Abarth offered 105PS/175Nm and 145PS/212Nm respectively, leaving the Baleno RS in the dust. The Polo GT TSI also had the advantage of the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. So, after a short run of just three years, the Boosterjet engine and the Baleno RS were shown the door.

Related: An All-electric Maruti Fronx Is In The Works, Likely To Rival The Tata Nexon EV

How Maruti Can Do It Right With Turbo-petrol Engines

Maruti Grand Vitara

With Maruti reintroducing a turbo-petrol engine option at the cusp of new emission norms coming into effect, we feel the carmaker also sees some worth in bringing these types of engines to its lineup. But the market has evolved and the 100PS 1-litre Boosterjet unit is not enough to take on the competition. Instead, Maruti should bring Suzuki’s 1.4-litre BoosterJet unit to India, as an option with models such as the new Grand Vitara and XL6

This engine, in global markets, is rated at 140PS and 220Nm, making it a lot more suitable for the job. It would also bring those Maruti models up to par with their rivals from Hyundai and Kia that also come with an engine making 140PS.

Which Maruti Model Needs It The Most?

Hyundai Creta
Kia Seltos

We feel that the Grand Vitara is in dire need of an exciting powertrain option. A premium offering, although beloved for its highly efficient strong hybrid powertrain, it is clearly underpowered for the segment. In our real-world performance tests, the 103PS Grand Vitara took an agonising 15.24 seconds to accelerate from zero to 100kmph. Meanwhile, the turbo-petrol variants of the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos did the same in under 9.5 seconds. Even the 1-litre turbo-petrol variants of the Skoda Kushaq and Volkswagen Taigun are quicker than the Grand Vitara.

Where Would The Current Turbo Unit Make Sense?

The Maruti model bringing back the turbo-petrol engine is the Fronx. Even with 100PS and 148Nm on tap from the updated 1-litre Boosterjet unit, it falls short in comparison to other turbocharged subcompact offerings like the Tata Nexon, Hyundai Venue and Kia Sonet that offer 120PS. However, it would be far more appealing in something like the Swift to position it as a hot hatch in the Indian market and be more affordable than the Grand i10 Nios Turbo that was priced around Rs 9.5 lakh (ex-showroom).

Maruti will offer the 1-litre Boosterjet engine with the choice of five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions. While the latter is more refined than what is offered by Mahindra and Tata rivals, Hyundai and Kia’s turbo-petrol engines get the choice of a dual-clutch automatic.

Also Read: Maruti And Hyundai India Combined Have Over 5 Lakh Pending Orders

Do you also feel the lack of turbo-petrol engines in the Maruti lineup? Let us know which Maruti model you would most like to have with a more powerful turbo-petrol engine in the comment section.

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Feb 12, 2023, 11:59:31 AM

1.2 NAPE with CVT is my preference

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