Maruti Suzuki S-Cross petrol: First impression and drive review [Video]

Maruti Suzuki launched the S-Cross five years ago as the first car of Nexa. Over the years, the S-Cross lost the 1.6-litre diesel, the 1.3-litre diesel with a few visual changes that make it look premium. In the latest iteration, the S-Cross is not available with any diesel engine but for the first time ever, it also gains an automatic transmission. We spent a short time with the new S-Cross and here is what has changed in the car.

A new engine and transmission

The new 2020 S-Cross, which is now BS6 compliant has the biggest changes under the bonnet. It leaves the DDIS the engine behind, which is the same case for all other Maruti Suzuki cars and is currently powered by a single petrol engine. Now, this is the same engine that also powers other Maruti Suzuki cars like the Ciaz, Ertiga and Vitara Brezza. It produces a similar 105 PS of maximum power and 138 Nm of peak torque. It gets a 5-speed manual transmission and the 4-speed automatic, which is the version that we drove and will talk about in this review.

The engine has become more powerful compared to the diesel-powered S-Cross. Since the engine is naturally-aspirated, there is no power lag and the delivery of the power and torque are very linear too. The four-speed automatic does a decent job inside the city limits when you do not need quick power delivery to overtake other vehicles. The transmission shifts smoothly between the gears but if you really use your right leg and push the accelerator against the floor, you will definitely feel the gear shifts.

The automatic transmission comes with Overdrive, which means that on the highways when the car is cruising along, it will return a great fuel efficiency. However, if you suddenly need the power to overtake on the highway, you will definitely feel a lag of a microsecond. However, if you spend more time with the car, you will be able to time such overtakes in a much better way and more comfortable. The automatic variant of the S-Cross comes with standard SHVS, which means a lot of fuel savings. It shuts off the car automatically when it idles and starts it again silently, which is something that is needed in the stop-go city traffic. The SHVS mild-hybrid system works by charging the battery kept under the codriver’s seat and using that energy to help the car accelerate. This way, there is more fuel saved. According to ARAI, the S-Cross automatic returns around 18.53 km/l under standard conditions. During our test, in which we were stuck inside the city limits, the S-Cross automatic returned about 14 km/l.

What about everything else?

Apart from the engine, the new S-Cross also gets an updated infotainment system. It gets the new Smart Studio system that comes with features like AHA radio, live traffic and more such options. Apart from the infotainment system, everything else remains the same in the cabin. It gets a feel-good steering wheel that you can hold for hours without getting tired and there are buttons for the controls of cruise control and infotainment system. You also get a dedicated panel to control your smartphone connected to the infotainment system and you can use the voice recognition command to control your Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connected device.

The S-Cross feels very spacious and there are large bottle holders on all the four doors. Even the armrest can be adjusted by sliding it and there is space underneath too. But it is not cooled storage. More cubby holes and space can be found in the central console. The front driver seat offers a commanding seating position and you can see well ahead on the road too. The seats have a good amount of bolstering that keeps the body in place even while making high-speed turns. Talking about high speed turns, the steering wheel is very light and you will love it while driving through heavy traffic. However, at the higher speeds, the steering does not gain on much weight and you may feel a little underconfident.

There is a lot of space in the rear too and the boot is also big enough to store your weekend luggage. However, you do not get a rear AC vent or charging socket.

The new S-Cross petrol does not look any different from the diesel S-Cross that was discontinued in the market. It gets the same vertical slat strong-looking chrome grille at the front. The headlamps look quite premium with integrated LED DRLs. The S-Cross also comes with a faux skid plate at the front and rear that adds to the masculinity of the vehicle. However, it still misses on the X-Factor design of the SUVs.

Has become better?

The S-Cross has much better NVH levels due to the petrol engine. Comparing the price of the diesel variants of the S-Cross, the petrol S-Cross has become about 30,000 to 50,000 cheaper. Yes, it misses out on certain features compared to the competition like the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos but Maruti Suzuki has priced the S-Cross very smartly, which ensures that it has a great value-for-money. Yes, you would not get a sunroof, ventilated seats, wireless phone charging system, Bose speakers, ambient lighting and much more if you compare the brochure with the other cars but what you get is a value-for-money price tag and a decent feature list. So the missing features are not a deal-breaker, it only helps to put a better price on the car.