Maruti Suzuki has tried many times to break into the premium segment but has received little success up till now. Their previous products, Grand Vitara and Kizashi, were capable enough but failed to please the Indian buyers.
However, with the S-Cross, Maruti has a case on its hands. It is trying to take advantage of the rapidly growing SUV and crossover segment, which is currently dominated by Ford and Renault, with Hyundai recently joining the fray with Creta.
Speaking of the exteriors, the S-Cross doesn’t look like an SUV – it simply doesn’t have the stance and road presence to qualify as one. And to be very frank, it appearance is more of a raised hatchback than a full-fledged crossover, which might be a turnoff for the potential buyers.
The cabin of the S-Cross, however, is quite promising. There is plenty of space for both the front and rear passengers, while the boot is big enough to accommodate 353 litres of luggage.
In terms of equipment, our top-end version came with climate control, a 7-inch touchscreen with navigation and Bluetooth, cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and 16-inch alloy wheels. However, a closer look at the interiors suggests Maruti needs to work more on the quality of materials and plastics used.
Among the engine options, there is the familiar 1.3-litre diesel motor that is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. A 1.6-litre diesel engine is also on offer, fitted with a turbocharger that allows it to produce 118bhp and 320Nm of torque. Despite rising demand, the S-Cross won’t be offered with an automatic transmission or all-wheel drive.
The S-Cross feels nimble and generally handles well; only on bad roads, the ride gets a little choppy. The suspension seems well tuned, while the engine itself is fairly refined. However, there is a lot of turbo lag under 1,700rpm, which might make it tricky to drive in urban conditions. However, once passed that mark, the engine revs well and delivers fantastic mid and top-end power.
An important aspect from both the dealers’ and customers’ point of view is the launch of Nexa – a new line of dealerships that caters exclusively to the premium range of Maruti cars, starting with the S-Cross. The aim is to offer a luxurious buying experience to the consumers.
Overall, the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross offers good drivability and is roomy enough for the passengers. And with Nexa, it is clearly trying to take the brand upmarket, possibly pleasing potential customers as a result.