The Indian customer might have been kind to the compact/sub-compact SUV segment, but the similarly large crossovers failed to get as much attention. But that didn’t stop Maruti from bringing the updated S-Cross to India. The company has clearly learnt from the rather lacklustre performance of the original. Which means the second one isn’t just a better product, it’s a better performer on the sales chart as well.
The original SX4’s influence might have soon worn off, but the overall design hasn’t changed. It’s still a pucca hatchback — and not an SUV wannabe. The well-proportioned body still has enough space for large wheels without having to jack up the height to the usual SUV levels. The vertical-slat front grille is instantly recognisable and makes a solid first impression. The rear is a bit bland in comparison, but it’s a well-designed car on the whole. But if you’re looking for things like the contrasting roof, tailgate-mounted spare tyre, you might have to look elsewhere.
If you’re also looking at a proper SUV experience, then the S-Cross won’t work for you either. The seating and the whole cabin is from a car, well, because it is a car — and not an SUV. Or a hatchback on stilts, either! With all that said, there’s enough to like the S-Cross, too. The standard list of features isn’t bad, and it’s a fairly comfortable place, too, the S-Cross’s interior. The touchscreen infotainment system works flawlessly, and while the interior isn’t the most premium one out there, it does the job. Does it feel cheap? Hardly. Does it feel special? Not exactly. There’s a decent amount of space inside, including a 353 litres of boot space that can be increased to 810 litres with the rear seats folded.
You might have understood by now that Maruti is extremely particular about not offering a wide range where it’s unlikely to be profitable. For instance, the Celerio and Ignis are now petrol-only. The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza and the S-Cross are both diesel only at the moment. The crossover gets the Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre diesel engine that makes 88.5 bhp and 200 Nm. It must also be noted that unlike in the Brezza which now has the optional AMT available, the S-Cross is manual-only, with a 5-speed gearbox. There’s no AWD system available, and the more powerful 1.6-litre engine available earlier (on the pre-facelift model) has been done away with, because, as you must’ve guessed by now, of low demand. On the bright side, the diesel engine on the S-Cross gets the mild hybrid SHVS tech. Which aids in improving efficiency and decreasing the wastage of fuel.
Like all vehicles sold through Maruti’s premium NEXA outlets, the Maruti S-Cross too is offered in four trim levels: Sigma, Delta, Zeta, and Alpha. The prices start at Rs 8.85 lakh, ex-showroom, and go all the way up to Rs 11.45 lakh. That price puts it closer to the Ford EcoSport and not the Hyundai Creta, although keeping its dimensions in mind, it’s actually a rival to the latter. Disc brake on all four wheels, 16-inch wheels, a claimed fuel economy of 25.1 kmpl, and features like cruise control are some of the things that further back the claim that the S-Cross is a good product.