THE PREMIUM CROSSOVER
Maruti is not known to be successful with premium cars. The Grand Vitara didn't sell to expectations and the Kizashi just couldn't find a place in the Indian buyer's heart. Well, now it seems Maruti finally has a plan to make a mark in crossover segment with the S-cross. My car the S-CROSS. Lets start with the looks. I know the s-cross isn't a great looker but, now after a year, the design has started to grow on me. The creases on the front bumper and stretched back headlamps might remind you of the SX4. Move to the side, and you'll know it is long and at the back you have rounded twin piece tail lamps which reminds me of an old Hyundai. Stepping inside isn't an issue and once in, you are welcomed by a handsome dashboard. Sure it isn't a great accomplishment for the design, but does look good. Quality is best Maruti's best yet but still this side of the kizashi. It is loaded with features but a few like a panoramic sunroof and ventilated seats offered in the european s-cross are missing. Overall comfort is good, as the seats are wide and have enough bolstering. Boot space is decent at 350 litres which can be increased to 1800l by folding seats in 60:40 ratios. Safety - It comes with dual air bags, ABS with EBD. Along with a high tensile steel structure which inspires confidence at high speeds. Engine and Driving Experience - I drive a 1.6l diesel S-cross which has around 118 horsepower and 32.6 kgnm of torque, quite a high for an engine this size. The clutch as in all diesels is a bit heavy but is easy to live with. In traffic conditions I have to keep the engine above 1800 rpm for it to move around without any fuss. Once I got used to this, S cross was easy to drive. But put your foot down and you are pushed back on to the seat. Once it gets past 2000rpm, the engine becomes a beast. There ample power to play with in its power band and the car keeps pulling up to 6000rpm. The hundred comes up in 11.5 seconds, quite good for a car this size. then you got a sixth gear which is really useful on the highway as it keeps the engine spinning at low rpms (around 2000 - 2200) at cruising speeds which makes a case for relaxed driving. On the hilly sections, I find my car to be great fun in the corners though it's no swift which I had before. The seats also hold you in place while spirited driving.In the city the ride is a bit stiff but it smoothens as I build up speed, though sharper bumps tend to crash in. But the thing that doesn't inspire confidence are the JK tyres. I got mine changed and the experience has just got better. Economy and Ownership - In the city it offers a decent 15 kmpl while on the highway expect around 20 - 21 kmpl. These figures are really good considering the fact that it has a torquey engine and weighs around 1.3 tons. Since it is a Maruti, I don't have much to say as ownership costs are low (around 18000 - 25000 rupees). The Verdict - The S-cross might not have the road presence of some of its rivals, but after spending time with it, I realize that style doesn't but substance does matter. At around 15 lakhs, it isn't the cheapest but you do get a lot of car for your money. I am happy with my car. After all it is a wolf in sheep's clothing.
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