The S-Cross was a tipping point for Maruti when it was launched as it also signalled a new and a more aggressive Maruti Suzuki. Just rewind the clock back, the S-Cross was launched with NEXA being introduced then came the Baleno, Brezza and a whole line-up of strong sellers which have taken Maruti to a point where no rival can even ever think of catching up. The S-Cross though has been a bit like the unloved child in the family since the Brezza stole all the limelight. Thus it is an underrated car especially the 1.6 was a bombastic performer. However now Maruti has given it a new lease of life with this facelift version. We drove it in Udaipur to find out more.
More exciting looks
The previous S-Cross though inoffensive and quite pleasant was a design you would forget which is something you cannot say about the new one. There is a lot more aggression and the whole character of the car has been altered. A majority of the changes have been concentrated at the front with the new toothy chrome rich 10 slot grille, new design LED projector headlamps with DRLs, updated rear LED tail-lamps plus more importantly smart new 16 inch two-tone alloys with wider tyres. The alloys do a world of good for the stance and overall it looks way better than the earlier one especially in this signature Nexa colour.
Inside there are subtle changes. You have chrome accents, soft touch dash plus the SmartPlay infotainment system now has Android Auto along with Apple CarPlay. There is also a glossy piano black finish on the centre console. I have to say quality wise this is the best Maruti cabin especially in black with the leather seats. The S-Cross is above 4m (4300mm) and has a width of 1785mm which makes it one of the most spacious and comfy Maruti cars. Space is enough for three and along with the Ciaz this has one of the best rear seats in terms of comfort for a Maruti. The boot is a bit small but you have big space at the back so we would take that. Else equipment levels stay more or less the same.
The 1.6 diesel is no longer there instead you have the sole engine option being the 1.3 diesel with 90 bhp and 200Nm. Much has been said about this engine in various other Maruti cars but the difference is that this time Maruti has also give it SHVS tech- yes like the Ciaz. It is the third car in the Maruti range to have this after the Ciaz and Ertiga. Do not confuse it for being a full hybrid as it just has a clutch of efficiency enhancing tech like stop-start, torque assist, brake energy regeneration, gearshift indicator. Thus the efficiency is a stellar 25 kmpl. The engine though feels much better here than some of the other Maruti cars that have it. There is lag but get past that and there is a reasonably meaty mid-range while obviously it is not as explosive as the 1.6 but performance is good and the gears are spaced out well.
Driving in the city is easy with enough punch which means you are not always shuffling through gears. On the highway it is a good cruiser too so it is best take a step back and relax. The clutch and gearshift is a bit on the heavy side but I found the gearshifts more satisfying than say the Brezza. The handling for a size of this car is admirable and there is more grip now with a more confidence inspiring drive. Mind you these are subtle updates over the earlier S-Cross. It rides much better than other Maruti cars and the driving experience is overall more polished now.
The S-Cross, I feel is the hidden gem of the Maruti range. It looks much better now which makes it a more attractive buy. The Brezza with its SUV stance would continue to be more popular but the S-Cross is something you need to try as it is spacious, well equipped and drives well. It does offer great value. This update has worked wonders and this would result in a big sales increase no doubt, yes, sorry rivals, yet another Maruti that promises big numbers..
Photography- Rajeev Bhendwal