The S-Cross will always be a special car for Maruti Suzuki. Back in 2015, it was the one that kick-started the premium Nexa retail chain of the country’s largest carmaker. In fact, if considered independently, Nexa is now the third largest carmaker in the country. The S-Cross is also the last remaining car from the brand to get a BS6 treatment. And it is a big change as the crossover has had a change of heart. All through the last five years, the flagship Nexa product was running only on diesel engines, and now it will run only on petrol.
The S-Cross had received a significant upgrade in the 2017, which gave a massive push to the sales of the car. The new 10 vertical slat grille was liked by many and SUV traits like body cladding, roof rails as well skid plates too worked in its favour. In this 2020 upgrade nothing really has changed on the outside as the changes are more technical. You also get automatic LED projector headlamps along with LED DRLs which look quite attractive. The circular fog lamps, split tails lamps and the upright stance all make for an attractive looking car that has always looked different in a sea of compact and subcompact SUVs, though this is longer than 4 metres.
The cabin is also more or less the same when compared to the face-lifted car that came 3 years ago. However, one big change is the addition of the new SmartPlay studio with 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that also connects to the cloud. So what you can get are live traffic updates, voice recognition and access to curated online content. The system is also enabled with smartphone connectivity and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The dashboard is leather clad and that along with good quality material on the steering wheel and seats gives the cabin a premium appeal. Automatic rain sensing wipers and cruise control are also available on the higher variants. The cabin is big on space, but a big miss is the absence of rear AC vents.
In its first avatar the S-Cross was launched with 2 diesel engine options which later became one and now the only option available on the car is the 1.5 litre K-series BS6 petrol engine which does the duty on several other cars from the brand like Ciaz, Vitara Brezza and Ertiga. The new engine delivers a peak power of 103 bhp and a top-end torque of 138 Nm @ 4400rpm. The big difference when compared to the Diesel is that this is a more refined and silent engine which ensures a quiet cabin while driving. Apart from the 5-speed manual transmission, the S-Cross has also gone Automatic for the first time and gets the same 4-speed gearbox seen on many other cars from Maruti Suzuki. It comes with hill hold assist feature as standard. The company claims a fuel efficiency of 18.5 kmpl and an improved cooling performance on the car.
Smart hybrid technology
A good reason for that impressive fuel economy is the smart hybrid technology that comes as standard on the car. The presence of li-ion dual battery setup comes with an idle start-stop system, torque assist functions and brake energy regeneration. The car also gets a good list of standard safety features which includes dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, driver and co-driver seat belt reminder, rear parking assist, high speed warning alert, reverse parking sensors and ISOFIX child seat restraint system. According to the company, the car is also compliant with advance safety norms including frontal offset crash, side impact and pedestrian safety.
There are as many as seven variants to choose from in the new S-Cross Petrol. Four of these are manual and three are automatic, which is not available in the base variant. The manual starts at Rs 8.39 lakh (exshowroom) and goes up to Rs 11.15 lakh (ex-showroom). The automatic starts at Rs 10.83 lakh (ex-showroom) and the fully loaded top variant will set you back by Rs 12.39 lakh (ex-showroom). That means on an average, there’s a difference of Rs 1.25 lakh between the manual and automatic variants which feels a bit on the higher side. But despite this, the S-cross is cheaper than many other over 4-metre SUVs, which makes it a viable option in the market. And despite being a Maruti, it does stand out owing to its unique stance and crossover design that is complemented well with a high enough ground clearance.
The writer is Senior Editor at carandbike.com.