2017 Maruti S-Cross: A practical, no-nonsense family car
The S-Cross crossover is the first car the company sold using Maruti’s new and upmarket Nexa retail chain. No wonder then that despite selling a humble (by Maruti’s standards) 53,000 units in two years, the company is not giving up on it. The S-Cross is back with a fresh face, a host of tweaks and a mild-hybrid system.
There’s a muscular new bonnet design, with strong character lines and a large toothy grille with strong chrome accents. The top Alpha model is now fitted with LED projector lights and LED daytime running lamps. The lower three variants make do with halogen lights. There’s a new eye-catching bumper and the overall design is appealing.
The interiors are largely the same, with the company adding more soft-touch materials. The overall cabin feels a bit plasticky, not as good as some other cars in this class. The touchscreen display remains unchanged, and supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system is a bit slow to respond though. The top two variants come with new, high-gloss piano-black treatment for the dash and a satin-polished chrome trim. The top Alpha variant features leather upholstery as well.
The S-Cross comes with auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and cruise control. You don’t get the full-colour multi-information display from the Baleno hatchback though. As far as safety goes, the S-Cross now offers dual airbags, ABS and rear Isofix mounts as standard on all variants.
The front seats are comfortable and supportive. The driving position features multiple levels of adjustment. There’s enough space at the back for passengers to be seated comfortably—there are no rear-AC vents though. The 375-litre boot space also has a 12V power outlet and a large enough boot and the seats fold flat in a 60:40 split for more space.
The 1.6-litre diesel engine option has been dropped, so the range now only features the 1.3-litre diesel engine. There is no automatic gearbox option either, and that is down to the fact that the only option is an AMT gearbox, which the company doesn’t think is good enough for its flagship model. So, what you get is the 1.3-litre diesel with a five-speed manual gearbox. And the engine now features Maruti’s smart-hybrid technology.
With 90hp and 200Nm, the engine is about adequate for most regular driving, but if you drive fast, it starts feeling a bit underpowered. The gearbox, however, has a nice and slick feel, and the clutch is not heavy. The engine now features a start-stop system and brake energy regeneration which assists the engine in reducing emissions and improving fuel mileage. The ride is good and you’ll be comfortable for the most part—the suspension can absorb all but the nastiest potholes. The car has generous ground clearance height, and its high-speed driving manners are excellent as well.
The updated S-Cross has prices starting from Rs8.49 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) and the top-end Alpha variant will cost as much as Rs11.29 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). This means it is priced significantly lower than its main rival, the Hyundai Creta.
The S-Cross has received a fairly big makeover but it continues to be a practical and pleasurable vehicle to drive and be driven in. However, Maruti was unable to broaden its appeal with a new petrol engine or automatic variants. The S-Cross remains just the right size to be a practical family car, while remaining compact enough to deal with the urban crawl. Its striking new face certainly gives it more road presence too. It plays to Maruti’s strengths and is worth considering if you’re looking for a practical, no-nonsense family car at an attractive price.