2017 Maruti S-Cross test drive review
Dhruv Saxena, Mechanical engineer trying to find his place in the world of automobile journalism.
Maruti launched the S-Cross back in August 2015. The crossover was a significant launch for the company as it did not just become their flagship product but also kick-started the Nexa sales channel. Despite being a rather likeable product, the car didn't quite click with the Indian car buying lot. A massive price cut followed, and the S-Cross eventually managed to carve out a niche for itself. Fast forward a couple of years and MSIL is ready to take on the crossover market once again with the refreshed S-Cross. So, how does it fare? Read our 2017 Maruti S-Cross test drive review to find out.
What's new on the outside?
The S-Cross gets a comprehensive nose job giving it a more aggressive front end. It has a more imposing face thanks to an upright chrome grille and the new sculpted front bumper. The headlamp units are new as well, which along with the flatter, more muscular bonnet help the S-Cross shed its conservative looks. Overall, the redesign helps the exterior of the S-Cross tip the scales more towards SUV than a crossover.
Changes to the rear are hardly noticeable. The tail lamp detailing has been updated with a C-motif LED stop lamp cluster. Sharp looking 16-inch machined alloy wheels round off the changes to the exterior. Oh, and lest we forget, the paint shade you see here is the new Nexa Blue colour that replaces the Urban Blue shade offered on the outgoing model.
What's new on the inside?
Just a handful of things that may well go unnoticed. The most notable addition comes in the form of the updated 7-inch touchscreen Smartplay unit that now offers Android Auto smartphone integration. There's new leather seat upholstery along with a more extensive use of soft-touch plastics. Also, the speedo bears "Smart Hybrid" lettering highlighting the mild hybrid tech the 2017 S-Cross employs.
As before, the features list remains long with the top end Alpha trim boasting automatic headlamps, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, electrically adjustable and retractable ORVMs. The updated S-Cross scores higher in terms of safety with ABS and Isofix child seat Anchorage points joining dual front airbags as standard fitments.
What's new under the hood?
With the introduction of the facelift, the Maruti S-Cross will March on without the 1.6 L DDiS 320 diesel engine. That may bum out enthusiasts, but it's the cheaper, locally made 1.3 L DDiS 200 motor that has driven sales so far with the bigger engined variant finding relatively fewer takers. At 66 kW and 200 Nm, the peak power and torque outputs remain the same coming in at 4,000 rpm and 1,750 rpm respectively. The talking point here is the introduction of Suzuki's mild hybrid technology. As is the case with the other recipients of the Smart Hybrid system viz. Ciaz and Ertiga, the setup combines engine stop/start tech with a larger battery that recuperates energy released while braking that would otherwise have been lost. This system not only saves fuel by turning the engine off once the car comes to a complete halt, but the larger battery also aids initial acceleration.
Despite the modest power output, the S-Cross rarely feels underpowered unless you are looking to pull off a quick overtake. In the DDiS 200 spec, the engine's behaviour is similar to what we have already experienced in case of the S-Cross. There's a strong surge of torque just after around 1,800 rpm. Until around 4,000 rpm the progress is brisk post which the power tapers off. The 5-speed manual 'box sending power to the front wheels is a joy to use. A fact that becomes instantly noticeable since you'll have to keep working it to stick to the meat of the power band.
Does it ride and handle better?
It does thanks mainly to fatter rubber in the form of 215/60 section tires. The added grip helps the car corner better and instills more confidence in the driver while attacking corners. Aside from that one change, the Maruti S-Cross facelift feels identical to its predecessor in the ride and handling department. It rarely gets unsettled over rough patches and feels well planted even at speeds of 150 km/h+. The steering is well weighted, but the slight vagueness around the dead centre position remains. Also, the driving position and seat height is spot on giving a commanding view of the road.
Should you buy one?
Looks are a matter of personal taste so, we'll leave it up to you to decide whether you like the new face or not. However, we should point out that it looks much better in the flesh than in pictures. The Maruti S-Cross scores high in almost every other aspect. The interior finish is quite easily the best we've seen from Maruti and on par with the segment benchmark. The cabin is spacious and feels properly premium. On road mannerisms of the S-Cross are commendable, and though the engine might seem underwhelming on paper, it does a satisfactory job in most conditions. Plus, it's frugal nature combined with the mild hybrid system is sure to keep running costs low. Prices of the 2017 Maruti S-Cross facelift have witnessed an increment, but the VFM rating of the crossover remains high. Quite simply, the Maruti S-Cross is amongst our top picks in the market for INR 11 lakhs.
2017 Maruti S-Cross - Price List
|Variant||Ex-showroom price in Delhi|
|Maruti S-Cross 1.3 Sigma||INR 849,000|
|Maruti S-Cross 1.3 Delta||INR 939,000|
|Maruti S-Cross 1.3 Zeta||INR 998,000|
|Maruti S-Cross 1.3 Alpha||INR 1,129,000|
2017 Maruti S-Cross test drive review - Specifications
|Engine||1,248 cc DDiS 200 Smart Hybrid diesel|
|Power||66 kW @ 4,000 rpm|
|Torque||200 Nm @ 1,750 rpm|
|Length x Width x Height||4,300 x 1,785 x 1,595 mm|
|Fuel tank capacity||49 litres|
|Boot space||353-375 litres|
|Tyre Size||215/60 R16|
|Kerb Weight||1215-1240 mm|