2020 Maruti-Suzuki S-Cross Petrol - First Drive Review

27/08/2020 - 18:45 | ,  ,  ,  ,   | Karan

2020 Maruti-Suzuki S-Cross petrol - Introduction

The Maruti-Suzuki S-Cross has been around in one form or the other for quite some time. In India we got the SX4 sedan, while International markets got the SX4 as a hatchback. The SX4 hatchback is the S-Cross’ true predecessor and even came as an AWD version in some countries. When the Maruti-Suzuki S-Cross was first launched in India, it combined premium features and a stonking big diesel engine under its hood. With its crossover looks and dimensions; along with a hefty price tag which Maruti loyalists could not fathom, it failed to make an impression on India’s SUV-worshipping audience. Following that, Maruti launched a facelift, in combinatination with a smaller 1.3-litre diesel engine, in order to rope in more customers. Now with Maruti-Suzuki completely discontinuing its production of diesel engines, the S-Cross has been re-introduced with a petrol power plant. So without  further ado, let’s see what it has to offer.

2020 Maruti-Suzuki S-Cross petrol - Design & Feature

The Maruti S-Cross’ exterior styling was updated in 2017. As part of this upgrade, the S-Cross got a new upright front end, consisting of a 10-slat chrome grille, redesigned dual-tone bumper, upgraded headlamps with projector lamps and LED DRLs; along with the addition of LED tail lamps and new 16-inch alloy wheels as well. The 2020 S-Cross petrol also continues with the same design and in our opinion, the S-Cross still looks as fresh as it did when it was upgraded in 2017. Unfortunately, part of that has to be because of its decline in popularity after downgrading to the 1.3 DDiS.

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As for the interior, the Maruti S-Cross continues to feature the same upgrades which were made to it back in 2017. This includes Piano Black trim on the centre console, leather finish on the centre armrest, new chrome accents strewn across the cabin and Maruti’s 7-inch SmartPlay touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. However, like the outside, there is not much to complain about either.  The fit and finish is quite good, the cabin is one of the roomiest in the segment and with the amount of features on offer, the 2020 S-Cross petrol is quite the value-for-money proposition. Even the back row of seats are plush, get a centre armrest with cupholders and offer generous amounts of leg and headroom. However, we do have a few gripes. What the S-Cross still misses out on is a sunroof, wireless charging, rear AC vents or rear phone-charging capabilities. While these are niggles, customers of today have now become accustomed to these features, especially in this class of vehicles

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2020 Maruti-Suzuki S-Cross petrol - Engine & Performance

Now let’s get to the biggest change for the 2020 Maruti S-Cross - its petrol heart. The K15 naturally-aspirated petrol engine is quite a versatile unit. Along with Eritga and the Vitara Brezza in our markets, it can now be found under the hood of the new S-Cross. In terms of power, the 1,500cc NA engine develops 105bhp and 138Nm of peak torque. As for transmission duties, that is taken care of by either a 5-speed manual or the easy-going 4-speed automatic torque converter. The 2020 Maruti S-Cross also comes mated to 48-vold mild-hybrid system hich helps add extra bit of of oomph during acceleration or help with fuel efficiency in stop-go traffic

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In terms of performance on paper, the Maruti S-Cross is clearly the underdog in its segment. The Kia Seltos and Hyundai Creta make 138bhp/242Nm with their turbo-petrol options, and 113bhp/144Nm with NA-petrol units under the hood. The all-new Renault Duster, on the other, now gets a 1.3-litre turbo petrol making 156bhp and 254Nm. However, when it comes to real-world performance, you’ll find that the S-Cross has quite a bit more to offer than what the specifications suggest. 

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The 1.5-litre unit has quite a bit of grunt in the low-end, aided by the instant torque from its SHVS power pack. As speeds rise, the K15 does disappoint just a little with its bland mid-range, before picking up steam around the 3,500-4,000 rpm mark and making its mad dash toward the 6,500rpm rev limit. On open stretches of tarmac or empty mountain roads, the engine seems to be in its element. In our acceleration tests, the fastest 0-100kmph run we could clock was 14.85 seconds driving the S-Cross petrol-automatic. However, with the same engine and a manual transmission, we managed to do the 0-100kmph run in 11.37 seconds at the helm of the Maruti Vitara Brezza. Unfortunately the lack of drama in its mid-range means you’ll always be looking to downshift if you wish to stay in the right powerband. Between the 5-speed MT and 4-speed AT, it is no surprise that the former manges to excite more. However, the automatic transmission manages to make lighter work of everyday city-driving conditions. It also features options to stay in first gear or alternate between 1st and 2nd gear for hill climbs and low-traction areas. Along with that, there is even a button on the lever to turn off the overdrive function. Both transmission options offer good acceleration and highway-cruising capabilities. In our mix of fast-paced city and highway runs, we managed to get an average fuel efficiency of 14.2kmpl, according to the odo.

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2020 Maruti-Suzuki S-Cross petrol - Ride & Handling

Before becoming Marui’s flagship offering in India, the Maruti S-Cross started life as a crossover for the European markets. Having inherited a platform meant to serve high-speed driving and fast lane-changing characteristics, the S-Cross offers extremely refined and capable driving dynamics. With a kerb weight of 1,240kgs, it is lighter than its rivals, but still feels a tad overweight for the amount of performance it has to offer. The S-Cross is quite stable at three-digit speeds and equally sure-footed when it comes to corners. With the lighter petrol engine under the hood, the 2020 Maruti S-Cross also offers faster turn-in speeds. For stopping power, the S-Cross comes with disc brakes at all four corners and also offers energy rejuvenation for the battery pack during braking. Another way to charge up the battery is through coasting.

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When it comes to the S-Cross’ ride quality, it certainly is a well-balanced suspension set-up. While it can easily munch miles-after-miles with ease, fast lane changes and corners are easily dealt with as well. Body-roll is well controlled and the suspension dampening is well-tuned for Indian conditions. Speed bumps and potholes at high speeds do manage to send a definite thud into the cabin but it never gets jarring. Overall, the Maruti S-Cross offers quite a plush ride for everyday and highway use. It deals with bad road conditions well and always managed to remain pliant in every driving condition.

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2020 Maruti-Suzuki S-Cross petrol - Verdict

The Maruti S-Cross has always been the special member of the Maruti stables. It was better-built and better-performing of the entire lot. Unfortunately, the 2020 Maruti S-Cross just doesn’t feel as special as it did when it was first first introduced in 2015. However, despite that, it still comes across as a VFM proposition in the crossover segment. It offers a well-built and premium cabin, a modern exterior design and a frugal petrol motor that has enough grunt to keep you happy when you need it. With a price range of INR 8.39 lakh (ex-showroom) and INR 12.39 lakh, it stands a good choice of car for those that need a comfortable city car, that enjoys the occasional highway and fast-driving requirements.

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