It's seldom that a brand gets a chance to celebrate 2 anniversaries on the trot. We are of course talking about Nexa and the S-Cross. The S-Cross was the first car to be launched under brand Nexa and it's the flag bearer for Maruti's premium brand and 5 years later a lot has changed. While the car in the picture might look the same as the one we reviewed in 2017, a lot has happened in the 3 years and this update is more about being spot on when it comes to technology, a 100 per cent commitment to ensuring that cars adhere to the BS6 emission norms and of course give the consumers a chance to buy something that is in with the trends.
The S-Cross then is a more rounded product in that sense because while looks can be deceiving there's a lot that has changed. There's no diesel anymore and if there is a demand for one, then Maruti Suzuki will address it, but for now it's petrol-only for the company and the S-Cross, if you remember, was a diesel only model. So there's a change of heart. Let's dive into it then, the new engine. What is it all about?
We're no stranger to it because it's the same 1.5-litre unit we've seen on the XL6, Vitara Brezza and even the Ertiga. So, it's refined and there's a sense of urgency and I especially like the one we got to drive, the 5-speed manual. It's so peppy right from the word go. The 103 bhp churning engine is silent and there is no engine noise that seeps into the cabin, which shows how much the company has worked on the NVH levels in the car. With the torque kicking in at 1400 rpm it just makes things easier and it pushes the car. The clutch is nice and light and makes it easy for you to drive in and around the city and comes in handy if stuck in traffic. The gears slot in well too and the short throws makes it better to drive. What it also gets is the Smart Hybrid technology and that is standard on the S-Cross.
The dual battery setup which has a lithium ion battery and a lead acid one store the energy generated during braking to assist the engine's idle start-stop and the torque assist functions. The energy stored in the Lithium-ion battery assists during acceleration and hence as we said earlier makes it peppy. It's high off the ground and that's one reason why Maruti Suzuki calls it an SUV, though I still might say it's a crossover.
Ride And Handling
But whatever, I say, doesn't matter, because the S-Cross still glides over anything the roads throws at it. There's a noticeable thud that you hear when it has to deal with larger craters but otherwise the ride is comfortable and road undulations do not disturb the cabin in a big way and that's a characteristic it carries from its diesel cousin. There's a hint of body roll though, but overall it's very similar to the facelift version. While the engine update works wonders to the way the S-Cross now drives, there's a slight bump in the features department as well.
This top end variant is feature loaded of course and comes with rain sensing wipers, cruise control and more. But are there any changes to the cabin?
There aren't any changes on the inside. It's all very similar and familiar to what we've seen on the facelift model in 2017. But the biggest change is this 7-inch touchscreen smartplay studio system which comes equipped with Android Auto and Apple Carplay but this one needed more. The additions of a sunroof, which is quite in demand, would have certainly added to the appeal and features. There's no wireless charging either and even the rear AC vents have been given a miss. The sense of space however, is still very much the same and ergonomically everything is within reach.
Price And Verdict
With 4 variants on offer, making a fully packed S-Cross should certainly have made a big difference and so the car leaves us wanting for more. But when it comes to price, the S-Cross makes a strong statement and that's where Maruti flexes its muscles.
It undercuts all the compact SUVs right from the Renault Duster, Nissan Kicks, Hyundai Creta and even the Kia Seltos and I am not just talking about the entry level variant. The base variant is ₹ 10,000 cheaper than the Duster and ₹ 1.60 lakh more affordable than the Creta and the Seltos.
The top-spec variant is ₹ 28,000 cheaper than the Creta, and ₹ 5000 less expensive than the Seltos. Mind you the Creta and the Seltos are connected cars and if you wanted that on the Scross, you'll have to shell out ₹ 10,000 rupees for Suzuki connect.
Throw in Maruti's wide spread service network and you have a formula that has always produced a winner. The S-Cross petrol then ticks all the right boxes except the features box, because yes, we know it's capable of much more.
Photos: Pawan Dagia