S-Cross 2017


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Review: refreshed Maruti S-Cross

Driven September 2017

Review: refreshed Maruti S-Cross

Maruti unfolded a new chapter with the S-Cross couple of years back. It wanted to change its small-car-maker impression in people’s head and started with a new retail chain for the more premium cars. And over the past couple of years that the Nexa chain has been active, it’s got plenty of momentum and has managed to sell thousands of cars, distinguishing it from the regular retail chain of Maruti.

With four cars in the Nexa kitty, one of those hasn’t really worked too well – the S-Cross. At the start, the pricing was not up to the mark that turned away a lot of buyers and then the styling – which was too similar to that of the SX4 – didn’t really work in its favour, resulting only about 2500 units moving out of the showroom floors every month. Yeah, that number could be a big reason for some carmakers to have a party, but for a company like Maruti, it wasn’t up to their expectations.

But now, Maruti has taken some measures to change that and have got an updated model. For starters, it’s a mid-life refresh and not much has changed mechanically.

Front is where most of the changes have been done. Maruti has done away with the grille with horizontal slats, and instead opted for the one with vertical slats. It makes the face look more aggressive and more SUV-like, ditching the crossover look. What also complements this look is the reworked hood that has grown in height and makes the car look a tad bit more imposing than earlier. Headlamps too have made way for new ones. And just like the previous ones, these too get LED projector technology, which helps in illuminating the road well in most situations. The headlamps also house the new DRLs that look funky and are an instant distinguisher from the previous look S-Cross.


At the back, the tail-lamps have been swapped for really funky ones that give a ‘floating’ feel. And apart from that, not much has changed in the design and even the styling at the side remains unchanged. But we’re happy to report that the changes made to the face of this updated S-Cross do make it look more SUV-like and increases the road presence by a bit.

Maruti has done some changes to the cabin too. Not that it needed to, but things have been refreshed a bit. The dashboard still remains to be all-black and well accentuated and the large screen on the centre console gives an overall premium look to the whole cabin. Soft touch materials have been used and overall fit and finish meets our expectations. There are no rough edges and colour tone in the cabin is soothing to the eye. The colour of the upholstery has changed a bit and adds a touch of premium-ness to the package. The bolstering on the seats, too, has been worked on to make you even more comfortable on long journeys.

As we mentioned earlier, not much has changed mechanically in the S-Cross. But one exception to that is the addition of the SHVS technology. In simple words, it’s a mild hybrid technology that cuts the engine off at idle, uses regenerative braking and powers some applications purely on electric power to save fuel. Recently, the government has taken off the subsidy for mild hybrid technology, but Maruti continues to offer this tech in some of its models. According to the top officials at the Maruti HQ, the company has matched the economies of scale so that the buyer doesn’t pay more to have the SHVS system.

Another change is that Maruti has now discontinued the bigger 1.6-litre engine in the S-Cross and this too, like the Brezza, will be available only with one engine-gearbox combo – 1.3-litre turbo diesel mated to a simple five-speed gearbox. As you may have guessed by now, it’s the tried-and-tested DDiS engine and makes 88bhp and 240Nm of torque. Unlike the 1.6-litre engine, this doesn’t feel extremely torquey or powerful, but has sufficient grunt to satisfy the regular driver. Things are dead till the rev meter touches the 2,000rpm mark and it’s only after that the VGT comes to life and adds some excitement to the drive. Luckily, there isn’t an unsuspected surge in the way the power is delivered, but a more progressive acceleration is what you get. The engine is the happiest around 3,000rpm and after the 4,200rpm mark; it’s just noise and barely any power.

The gearbox is a simple affair with five ratios. But it’s slick and changing cogs doesn’t take much efforts. This S-Cross drives almost identical to the previous one and the ride too is as accommodating as earlier. It soaks up bumps well and the body roll is present, but within controllable limits. The handling too is nice – not too dull, not too exciting and everything is predictable and friendly. Maruti hasn’t gone all out to the change the perception of the buyer towards the product and one lost opportunity of doing that was to add an automatic or even AMT to variant list.

Prices of the new S-Cross have not been announced yet, but with what we understand, there’s not going to be much change from the previous pricing. The S-Cross with the updates looks slightly more intimidating and the styling change works in its favour to refresh things. It’s practical, convenient and friendly in each and every way and delivers everything that you expect it to without much fuss. No automatic option, in today’s day and age is a crime, at least in this segment. But overall, it fits the bill for someone who wants a comfortable car that isn’t too large for the city, but still has enough room and practicality to fit his family.

1248cc, 4cyl, turbo diesel, 88bhp, 240Nm, 5M, FWD

Practical and friendly, refresh adds zest to the styling. Needs an automatic variant.

Photography – Rajeev Gaikwad

Agasti Kaulgi

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