Maruti Suzuki S-Cross Facelift: Review
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Can the new S-Cross still wow customers armed with a new face and just the 1.3-litre DDiS 200 engine?
Car Tested: Maruti Suzuki S-Cross
Engine: 1.3-litre Diesel Automatic | 90PS/200Nm
ARAI Certified Fuel Economy: 25kmpl
Road Test Fuel Economy: 19.15kmpl (City) / 20.65kmpl (Highway)
If there was one criticism that the S-Cross was guilty of, it was its lacklustre looks. And while the facelift that the S-Cross received in September last year received mixed reviews, its looks are now certainly worth a comment or two. Maruti has also axed the 1.6-litre Alpha diesel motor in the range-topping variant. This has allowed them to drop the top end of the S-Cross’ price bracket. Maruti has also added Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki or SHVS that aims to boost fuel economy and initial pick up. We spent a good week driving the S-Cross in different conditions to figure if these changes help or hamper the S-Cross in the real world.
Getting right into the biggest change in the new Maruti Suzuki S-Cross and the one that makes a significant impact, is its new face. Looking at the old S-Cross and the new one side by side, you wouldn't immediately think that they are the same car. The all-new 10-slat grill with bold chrome accents is flanked by a set of new LED projector headlamps. The bumper is also a completely new unit and there are now two accent lines on the bonnet as well. The rest of the car receives little cosmetic changes with the rear taillights getting a redesign and a new set of alloys that are a refreshing change from the older design that looked a lot like plastic hubcaps.
The new grill and headlight design gives the front a much more purposeful face that’s a change from the neither-here-nor-there look the old car sported. We have learnt that his facelift is quite polarising and even in the CarDekho office opinions are divided as to which one looks better. I think it looks quite nice though.
On the inside not much has changed at all, at least visually. There is a change in the texture of the material on the dashboard, just in front of the passenger seat. It’s now a soft touch material with a better texture than the plasticky bit that’s been trashed. The rest of the cabin is exactly the same all-black themed passenger space.
Maruti haven’t tampered with a formula that hit close enough to the mark in the first instance. The driver and passenger seats offer nice support with nice side bolstering that gives you great lateral support through corners. The rear bench can fit three in a crunch and is comfortable for two in the rear, even on long journeys, without front passengers having to compromise their legroom.
While there are no real complaints with the cabin, Maruti could have taken this opportunity to add in a set of rear aircon vents. That seem to be the only thing that you would really want from a car in the this segment.
The 7-inch touchscreen infotainment now features Android Auto which was missing with the initial units but is now also available as an update for owners of the pre-facelift versions. It now offers the complete trio with Apple CarPlay and Mirrorlink bundled in as well. Also part of the infotainment system is a 6-speaker setup that sounds decent for standard equipment. The infotainment also includes built-in navigation, Bluetooth with steering-mounted controls, voice commands and even a smartphone app for further control over entertainment functions. The top-spec Alpha variant also gets push-button start, cruise control, reclining rear seats, parking sensors and camera, auto-leveling and auto-on headlamps, auto-dimming IRVMs and rain-sensing wipers.
There is now just one engine to talk about - the 90PS, 1.3-litre multijet diesel. And while it’s an engine we have talked about many times (the same engine features in the Brezza, Ciaz and Ertiga in addition to a number of other cars from other manufacturers), this time it’s paired with the Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki or SHVS. Though it only plays a small role, the difference it makes is significant. The hero of the systems is a combination of a starter motor and an alternator for charging the battery. This motor, in addition to starting the car up during auto-start-stop functions, also provides additional torque to the engine during acceleration, boosting fuel efficiency. The same starter motor then uses energy from deceleration to charge the batteries back up.
This electrical assistance is quite small, so you won’t feel much of a change in performance. But there is a distinct smoothness to the engine as compared to the non-SHVS car which has a sudden surge of torque that builds up around the 1800rpm mark. Where the difference is felt is over longer distances and this showed up in our fuel runs too with the S-Cross returning 19.16kmpl in the city and 20.65kmpl on the highway. While the SHVS wouldn’t have affected the highway figure much on account of the more constant speeds, the city figure of most cars is usually around 3-4kmpl less than our highway test figures. The only explanation for such a small difference between city and highway figures is down to the effectiveness of the SHVS system.
In our straight line performance tests, the S-Cross managed the 0-100kmph sprint in 10.31s and the quarter mile was completed in 17.15 seconds at 127.23kmph.
Ride and Handling
The suspension set up remains the same as the old car and the cabin remain nicely composed in most situations with roll nicely controlled over rough roads. Small imperfections are taken care of well and you only feel larger bumps in the front seat. In the passenger bench you can feel the bumps a little more than in the front, but not so much that it ever becomes a concern. Maruti claims that there have been no changes to the tuning or the components in the suspension, but a back-to-back drive of the old version left us a little confused. The new S-Cross clearly dispenses surface imperfections better and seems better damped as well.
The new S-Cross also rides on wider 215/60 R16 tyres as compared to the 205-section tyres from the outgoing model. This extra width means that ever so slightly, the steering feels a little heavier than the old car. The S-Cross also handles corners in a fairly controlled manner and only starts to pitch and roll a little when really pushed.
Dual airbags and ABS with EBD are standard on all models of the S-Cross as are ISOFIX child seat anchorages.
With this update Maruti seems to have solved the biggest issue that the S-Cross seemed to suffer from - it’s rather lacklustre looks. It now looks much more SUV-like and is still a spacious and comfortable urban car that is not shy of doing long trips as well. The addition of the SHVS system has made a subtle, but positive difference in the way it drives and the benefits of the micro-hybrid tech also reflect in the excellent fuel efficiency figures we received on this test. If the current upwards sales trend is anything to go by, it seems that Maruti has done good again.