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Old 25th July 2015, 10:50   #1
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Default Maruti S-Cross : Official Review

What you’ll like:

• Solid build & good quality, inside out
• Powerful 1.6L diesel with 320 Nm of torque. Superb mid-range and top-end performance
• Mature ride & handling package. High speed behaviour is exceptional
• Practical interiors, spacious cabin and supportive seats
• Maruti's excellent after-sales support network
• All variants get 4 wheel disc brakes, ABS & dual airbags
• Feature loaded: Bi-xenon headlamps, leather seats, cruise control, 7" touchscreen ICE etc.

What you won’t:

• Unappealing styling. Looks like a big hatchback (not a crossover / SUV)
• 1.6L diesel variant has a hefty premium over the 1.3L
• 1.6L diesel suffers from turbo-lag until 1,750 rpm
• No petrol engine, no automatic transmission, no AWD
• 353 liter boot - though well shaped - is small for a car of this size & positioning
• Sold only through Nexa dealerships, thereby limiting its availability
• Noise insulation is below average for a premium car

This review has been jointly compiled with Rehaan. Thanks to him for the expert observations & photography!

Last edited by GTO : 14th April 2016 at 10:57. Reason: Editing 2nd dislike due to the price cut
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Old 25th July 2015, 10:50   #2
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Default Maruti S-Cross : Exteriors

In a country where image means so much, SUVs are popular for obvious reasons. Add some practicality & a frugal engine, and you've hit the market's sweet spot. Renault did just that with the Duster in 2012, making every manufacturer sit up and take notice. Some added superficial muscles to their regular hatchbacks, while others began developing new compact SUVs from the ground up. Make no mistake, everyone wants a piece of the urban SUV / crossover pie.

It's amazing how Maruti & Hyundai have missed the compact SUV trend. These are manufacturers who usually have their finger on the pulse of the market. Maruti's compact SUV is still sometime away. Enter the S-Cross, which is a crossover (and not an SUV). Internationally, the S-Cross has been on sale since 2013. Maruti had showcased the model at the 2014 Auto Expo. However, the launch of more important cars (new Alto K10, Celerio, Ciaz) and Maruti establishing a new dealership brand meant that the S-Cross' India entry was delayed.

The Ciaz has proven that a 10 lakh rupee Maruti can sell, if the product is right. It is the first million buck Maruti that actually moved off showroom floors! The SX4 was a slow mover in its later years, and the Kizashi & Grand Vitara bombed, but that was due to the price & product, not the brand. We're not sure if Maruti realises this as it's working hard to uplift its image by setting up brand centers and opening upmarket 'NEXA' dealerships. We don't agree with the idea behind NEXA, but that's a topic for a different thread.

Internationally, this car is known as the SX4 S-Cross, a successor to the Sports X-over 4 all seasons. Maruti doesn't want this car's future to be associated with the SX4's mediocre innings in the country and has dropped the SX4 prefix. They've also removed the 'Maruti Suzuki' badge from the car - what you'll see is only the Suzuki nameplate. The S-Cross will only be sold through the NEXA dealerships, and not in the regular Maruti-Suzuki sales network. Service facilities however, will be shared.

To understand the S-Cross better, try recalling the Chevrolet Forester, Ford Fusion and Fiat Palio Adventure. These were competent cars from the early 2000s, yet failures in terms of sales. They didn't belong to conventional segments, attempting to create an all-new category instead. The fact that they were backed by manufacturers still finding their feet in India didn't help either. The poor marketing & positioning strategy played a pivotal role in their failure. Well, the S-Cross is a package which has some strengths from these vehicles and is backed by Maruti's trusty brand & widespread support. You'll see similarities between the aforementioned cars & the S-Cross throughout this review. But can it succeed where the others failed? Will be interesting to watch the sales charts in the coming months.

Maruti S-Cross : Official Review-maruti-scross-specifications-price.png

On first impressions, the S-Cross appears to be a regular hatchback on stilts - like say, the Hyundai i20 Active or Fiat Avventura. But it's actually much longer than these hatchbacks and merely 15 mm shorter than the Duster. The 1,765 mm width is the exact same as the EcoSport and ~60 mm lesser than the Duster. Height-wise, the S-Cross is taller than the other crosses (i20 Active, Avventura, Cross Polo & Etios Cross), but much lesser than the compact SUVs. The overall dimensions are the same as the European version. Only the ground clearance has been increased by 15 mm to 180 mm, which incidentally is still 10 mm less than the SX4 sedan's 190 mm rating (note: later SX4 variants had between 170 - 180 mm of clearance).

Let's get one thing straight, the S-Cross' design isn't jaw-dropping, nor is it ugly. This is a bland car which will go unnoticed in a crowd; no heads will turn when an S-Cross passes by. Those desiring macho looks and glamorous styling won't even consider the S-Cross over a Hyundai Creta, Ford EcoSport or Nissan Terrano. However, those looking for an inconspicuous, practical crossover from a well-trusted brand are the prospective buyers here. Additionally, the S-Cross gives a choice to Maruti owners who are upgrading and want to remain in the family. Maruti intends to aggressively market the S-Cross to existing customers.

The S-Cross' front-end looks like an evolution of the SX4 sedan, as it bears an uncanny resemblance to its predecessor. Maruti has chromed up the front end with an India-specific two slat grill bearing a huge, well-integrated 'S' logo. Then, silver accents in the headlamps and the chrome of the foglamp housing give the face a lot of bling. Matte silver accents added to the front & rear skid plates and side skirts, as well as the silver roof rails, add some flavour to the otherwise boring design. Speaking of uninspiring designs, the alloy wheels really should have been styled differently. These 16-inchers can easily be mistaken for plastic wheel caps; they are just incredibly bland.

Paint quality is good, with the orange peel effect only slightly visible upon close inspection. For the shades offered on the S-Cross, Maruti has stuck to more conservative colours like grey, silver & white, with brown and blue being the two standout options. Can you have it in black? Unfortunately not! That said, I think the S-Cross in a lighter shade brings out the best contrast with the black body cladding.

At 1,250 kgs, the S-Cross 1.6L is heavier than the Duster and its own sedan sibling, the Ciaz. It is a solidly built car that feels more European than Japanese. Even if you hit the body panels with a firm hand, you'll realise that the panels aren't paper thin or tinny (barring a few places). Panel gaps are consistent all throughout, even in areas where the black plastic cladding meets the metal body. If you look very closely, you might notice an uneven panel gap on the bonnet shut line (between the A-pillars and the headlamps). However, it seems to be in the design, rather than an assembly inconsistency. On a related note, two test cars had the edge of the black plastic wheel-arch cladding pop off a little.

The Hungary manufactured S-Cross scored a 5-star rating in the ASEAN and Euro NCAP tests. The ASEAN test car had 2 airbags, while the European model offers 7 airbags. In India, all trim levels are equipped with ABS, dual airbags and front & rear disc brakes.

Internationally, the S-Cross is available with an optional AWD. No plans to offer the same in India. Period. The S-Cross isn't really an SUV and it doesn't have 200+ mm of ground clearance either (like the Duster), so we agree with the decision of selling it in FWD here. The S-Cross AWD is perhaps meant only for countries with snowy weather conditions. Here's a webpage with some information on the AWD.

Maruti S-Cross : Official Review-scross-features.png

The face bears resemblance to the SX4:

The rear has a handsome design. No Maruti badging here. Thankfully, Maruti has bucked the trend and not slapped on a chrome number-plate garnish:

An overgrown hatchback or a shrunken station-wagon? Maruti calls it a 'premium crossover':

No, this car isn't a head turner. Touches of chrome and silver add some flavour to the dated design:

A glance from this angle and the S-Cross looks nice. Faux skid-plates (plastic) at the front, rear and sides:

Even though the i20 Active wears a bland white colour, its aggressive face overshadows the S-Cross:

The S-Cross is clearly a size larger than Hyundai's cross hatchback:

Length-wise, the S-Cross is a very noticeable 305 mm longer than the Hyundai:

I'd say most people considering the EcoSport won't be swayed away by the S-Cross, mainly due to its styling (rather, the lack of it):

Mercedes' premium hatchback vs Maruti's premium crossover. Both are almost identical in length, though the S-Cross is 160 mm taller:

Bi-xenon projector headlamps are a first in the segment. High & low beam are both HID and do a great job of illuminating what's ahead. The LED strip at the bottom isn't a DRL, it's the pilot lamp:

With just the LED strips on (pilot light mode):

The two-slat chrome grill is India-specific. Dual-tone Hella horn is visible in this picture:

The foglamps are fairly bright. Chrome touches around them add a premium appeal:

With its raised sides, the bonnet is almost concave in appearance. Overall, it is smooth and fuss-free:

The S-Cross gets automatic rain-sensing wipers which work well:

A pair of tri-nozzle windscreen washers are hidden away under the edge of the hood:

Light sensor for the automatic headlamps, and rain sensor for the automatic wipers:

The ORVMs have integrated LED indicators and fold electrically. They will also rotate forward if bumped the wrong way by a biker. Bolted onto the body like the Jazz & EcoSport:

A very familiar badge. Maruti uses Fiat's 1.6L diesel in India before Fiat itself!

Request sensors (keyless entry) are present on both front doors, and the tailgate too. From the MFD settings, you can choose to unlock only 1 door or all 5. The sensor button is soft and rubbery, not the hard plastic like in most other cars:

Alloys look more like wheel caps! A smarter design would have worked wonders for the S-Cross' visual appeal. All cars wore 205/60 R16 JK Elanzo-NXT rubber. 123 mm sidewalls are on the taller side. And yes, the brake caliper is located above the solid rear disc - a unique placement:

Small mud guards are well-integrated:

A touch of silver to the black plastic cladding breaks the monotony. Panel gaps are consistent all-throughout, even where plastic meets metal:

Blackened C-Pillar and the immensely useful rear quarter glass:

The silver roof-rails are the modern 'flush' type (no gap between the rail & roof). A rack of choice can be clamped onto the rails:

The waistline integrates with the tail-lamps. I quite like their design:

The reversing camera is placed towards the left of the car. As a result, while using the screen to parallel park, you will always feel that your car isn't aligned with the car behind you, even if it is:

Even the rear washer has three nozzles. However, it could have been better integrated into the high-mounted stop lamp:

A short, stubby radio antenna:

4 rear parking sensors. The Indian version gets two reflectors and no rear foglamp:

The request sensor on the tailgate will be useful for those who use the hatch often:

Two parting shots:

Last edited by GTO : 7th August 2015 at 09:25.
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Default Maruti S-Cross : Interiors - Front

Maruti's ordinary double-chirp is what you'll hear each time you unlock the car; be it via the remote key or the keyless request sensor. Ingress is an easy task, even for the elderly, as the S-Cross has a higher stance compared to regular hatchbacks. Still, it isn't a car you walk into (like the Duster or EcoSport). From the time you first grab the door handle and shut the door, the S-Cross feels like no other Maruti currently on sale. The doors close with a nice solid sound. It feels more sturdy than the Ciaz!

The interiors carry an all-black theme. Some find all-black interiors too dull and boring in comparison with beige, but I'm not one of those people. These interiors immediately appear and feel upmarket. The leather on the seats, steering wheel, door armrests and doorpads only strengthen the S-Cross' case. Like the exterior, there's no 'wow' factor on the inside. What you'll notice is a fuss-free dashboard design with matte silver highlights to break the all-black monotony. Due to the enormous glass area all around, the cabin doesn't feel too dark or dingy. The textured overlay on the dashboard has a nice, rubbery, soft-touch material. Plastic quality is good for the most part and, though you don't get soft touch plastics all throughout, the dashboard material feels nice to the touch. Fit and finish across the cabin are neat.

Almost instantly though, you'll associate this cabin with Maruti. This is because of the steering wheel which is shared with several other Maruti cars. Sure, it is leather-wrapped, with many more buttons added on, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the Rs. 4 lakh Celerio uses the same design. I'd have loved a meatier steering wheel to match the price tag and handling characteristics of the S-Cross (more on that later). Even the switchgear on the doorpads is shared with other Maruti cars; this, in particular, feels downmarket. If Maruti wanted the S-Cross to be perceived as a premium product different from the rest of its fleet, they should have gone all-out in their attempt. The power windows don't get a delayed function either, so in case you forget to roll up a window after powering off the vehicle, you will have to switch it on again to operate them.

The leather seats are very supportive. Even for a medium-built person like me, lateral support was good. I have no complaints with the firm seat cushioning, nor with the front headroom & legroom. These should be sufficient for the taller drivers amongst us. It doesn't take long to find an ideal driving position, as the driver's seat can be adjusted for height and the steering wheel adjusts for both, reach and rake. If you're one of those who regularly rests their left hand on the central armrest, you'll find the S-Cross' sliding armrest to be comfortable in its forward position.

You sit higher in the S-Cross than most other hatchbacks and sedans (to help create that 'crossover' feel), thus visibility is good. The ORVMs are nice and big. While the view from the rear windscreen is limited, the parking sensors / camera do make up. The A-pillars are thick and pushed all the way to the front, but the front quarter glass aids visibility. You won't have to strain your neck at roundabouts or when tackling those right hand curves. Even the rear quarter glass proves to be useful while joining a main road from a bylane, or when changing lanes.

Storage areas are generous. All doors can accommodate a 1 liter bottle (and some more knick-knacks in the extended pockets of the front doors). You can park your smartphone below the center console, where a 12 volt socket is located too. There is a small yet deep cubby under the start/stop button and 2 cup-holders besides the handbrake. Incidentally, the handbrake is placed closer to the passenger than the driver, yet it's easily operable. The center armrest has a deep storage area underneath that also houses the USB & AUX ports. Lastly, the illuminated glovebox is on the smaller side and tapers sharply towards the bottom, almost like a triangle in section. It doesn't offer much utility beyond the basics. Nope, no cooling vent here.

The air-conditioner did a fine job of keeping us cool during our test-drive. Since it was in the monsoons, we'll leave final verdict to our ownership reports. We aren't concerned as Maruti's bigger cars have excellent air-conditioners.

A 7" Smartplay touchscreen audio system eliminates the need for multiple buttons on the center console. The touch sensitivity is good and the system is responsive. Maruti seems to have ironed out the bugs that plagued early versions of this head-unit in the Ciaz. What'll take getting used to are the few buttons with icons that are difficult to decipher. We particularly liked the touch-sensitive volume slider. This system offers USB, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity, plus navigation and voice commands. Navigation is via pre-loaded maps from an SD card. The voice commands feature understands our Indian accent most of the time, but can have a mind of its own at others. Sound quality from the 4 speakers and 2 tweeters is decent, even if they're treble-centric and lack lower mid-range punch. The system has pre-set equalizers which can make the sound suit individual tastes to some degree. At the maximum volume (~40% higher than the typical listening volume), the sound doesn't distort or crack. We'd rate the overall sound quality a 7.5/10, and add that most people won't need to upgrade. The Delta variants get a CD player (minus the navigation, voice commands and touchscreen). While the Delta variants have a standard remote control for the audio system, the Zeta and Alpha variants get a smartphone app that connects via Bluetooth, providing the same functionality as a remote control. Fancy!

All-black interiors are back in vogue. The fit and feel are a cut above any other Maruti on sale today:

From the Celerio to the S-Cross - they all use the same steering wheel. To its credit, this one is leather-wrapped and has more buttons. Thumb contours missing in a premium car:

In addition to the array of infotainment buttons, cruise control is offered too:

The steering wheel adjusts for rake & reach, with a healthy range of travel for both:

Instrument cluster looks classy with the illuminated blue rings and white fonts. Also note, the MFD points out exactly which door is open:

You can cycle through 5 display screens on the MID - instant fuel economy, average fuel economy, average speed, range (DTE) and a blank screen. Why blank screen? That's for when you want an uncluttered look:

Additional settings are available at the driver's disposal. Here are a few:

There aren't any control buttons on the steering wheel to toggle through screens / settings on the MFD; it's done via this old-style stalk! Long press for the additional functions and rotate to scroll through lists:

Wiper and indicator stalks are hard and utilitarian. Note the 'Auto' setting on both:

Engine start button to the driver's right. Some more buttons borrowed from its lesser siblings; one of the few areas where the interiors of the S-Cross lose some points:

An all-black doorpad with a silver accent and chrome door handle. All 4 doors can hold a 1 liter bottle:

Only the driver's window gets the auto up/down function, and only that switch is illuminated at night. The borrowed switchgear feels very dated and cheap:

Door armrests are well padded, as is the area around it. Little touches like these add to the 'feel good' factor:

Comfortable leather seats are on the firmer side. They offer good lateral support. Those on the healthier side will find them too snug:

Driver's seat gets height adjustment. Has a healthy range above its already high seating position:

Properly spaced out pedals. What's new is that you get a padded dead pedal! There's also an extra layer of carpeting where you rest your heels:

Here's the bonnet release lever:

Tall and wide ORVMs offer a sufficient range of view on both sides:

Useful front quarter glass aides visibility while taking right hand corners:

Silver highlights around the center and gear consoles certainly lift the spirit of this all-black interior:

The middle air-con vents can't be shut off like the ones on the side:

The 7" touchscreen head-unit's homescreen is split into 4 sections. The touch-sensitive volume bar on the left can be tapped on, or slid up & down. Button on the top left can be tapped to mute the sound, or long-pressed to turn the system off. Like a smartphone, the homescreen, voice command and settings menu buttons (on the right edge) are touch-sensitive:

Some of the functions are shown below. Touch sensitivity is nice and the user interface is snappy. We didn't encounter any of the bugs earlier reported in the Ciaz, which uses the same head-unit:

While the Delta variant gets a remote control for the audio system, owners of the Zeta and Alpha variants can download an app on their smartphone (available on Android & iOS), connect it to the infotainment system via Bluetooth and use their phone just like a remote control from the rear seat:

Parking display is clear with colour-coded distance demarcations:

While the climate control kept us cool on a warm monsoon day, we shall leave final judgement to the summertime ownership reports:

1.6L diesel is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox:

A storage area to park your smartphone, smartkey or any other knick knacks. 12v / 120w power socket:

2 cup-holders are placed beside the handbrake. While the handbrake's positioning is left-hand-centric, it doesn't cause any inconvenience when being used:

This armrest is very usable and comfortable in its forward position. Also wide enough to be shared:

Storage area under the center armrest isn't very wide, but it is deep. USB and Aux inputs are located within:

There is a small yet deep cubbyhole below the start / stop button, to place your keys or smaller items:

Holder for your sunglasses:

Front cabin lamps can be switched on or off individually too:

Auto-dimming IRVM darkens up when there are bright headlamps behind you. Can be deactivated using the 'auto' button, if you so wish:

Rearward visibility is restricted due to the small glass area and large headrests (when in their extended position):

Both sun visors get a ticket holder and an illuminated vanity mirror. Nice to see this from Maruti, the company that taught others cost-cutting!

This is the soft, rubbery area on the dashboard. It has a sweet textured finish:

The illuminated glovebox opens in a neat, slow motion. It's deep, but weirdly shaped which hampers practicality. No cooling vent in here:

Spring-loaded grab handles return to position in a smooth & damped manner. Rear ones get a coat hook as well:

Front seatbelts are height-adjustable. Don't miss the contrasting stitching of the black leather seats:

Last edited by Aditya : 18th August 2015 at 14:39.
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Default Maruti S-Cross : Interiors - Rear

The rear bench of the S-Cross is a comfortable place to be on. The back seat is raised, with rear passengers perched higher than those at the front (who already sit relatively high). There is plenty of light coming in, thanks to the generous glass area. Needless to say, it doesn't feel claustrophobic like the Swift.

Due to the tall seating, you can sit almost in a chair-like position, rather than with your knees pointing skyward. Headroom and legroom for rear seat passengers are very good. At 5'10", I could easily sit behind my own driving position with ~4 inches of knee room to spare. There is satisfactory foot room too. You can slip your feet under the raised front seats which offer a gap of nearly 6" below them. Seat cushioning is just right (once again, more firm & supportive than soft & couch-like) while the under-thigh support is decent.

The bench is wide enough for 3 medium-sized adults and the seat is a little contoured. Party trick = the backrest can recline, but its range is limited. There are only two positions available - normal and more upright. By default, most would set it to the normal position, as that is the average recline angle you'd find in other cars. The upright angle is too upright, I can't think of too many people who would use it. This takes the luxury out of the "reclining rear seat" feature.

A complaint we had is that the rear neck restraints can hamper comfort. They can be adjusted in 2 positions only. In their lowest position, they aren't usable as they jut into your upper back. In their highest position, their bottom edge juts into the nape of your neck a bit. They're soft no doubt, but are far from being ergonomically designed. Another complaint is that the rear armrest is positioned too low and it isn't long enough either. I found myself sitting in a revised position to dodge these two flaws, post which, I was comfortable.

A third adult can be accommodated at the center, as the middle of the backrest and seat-bottom aren't raised too much. The S-Cross gets a medium sized transmission tunnel, and the front armrest console does jut out at the back. Knee room isn't compromised though. Interestingly, when the outer passengers sit closer to the sides (say, there are 3 on the rear seat), lateral head-room is intruded upon slightly by the headliner. This is because the sides of the S-Cross slope inward aggressively (from the window sill to the roof). Overall, the S-Cross is fairly friendly to 5 onboard. Just wish this premium crossover had a rear air-con on that large armrest console. The Ciaz has one, as does my Rs. 6 lakh Grand i10!

The Indian S-Cross gets a 353 liter boot (375 liters with the backrest in the upright position). Compare that to the international version and you'll be wondering why boot space isn't 430 liters? Simple, we get a full-size spare wheel (a steel one that is) tucked below the boot floor. The spare leads to a raised floor in the boot. One positive side effect is that the boot floor sits at exactly the same level as the boot lip, making loading / unloading heavy items a breeze. To add further practicality, the rear seat splits in a 60:40 ratio, and also folds completely flat (you can remove the rear seatbase), liberating 810 liters of cargo area!

The Japanese have learnt a trick or two from the Germans, and added some nifty features to the boot area. Each time you lift the boot floor to access the spare wheel, the floor automatically slides into a bracket which holds it in the propped-up position. Therefore, you immediately have both hands free while meddling around with the tools or spare tyre. Very clever! There are two deep storage areas in the boot, a hook for hanging loose shopping bags, a 12V power socket and a boot lamp (manually operated). Yes, a manual boot lamp. In case you forget to switch it off, the lamp will remain on until you turn the car off or lock it from the outside. Just for the record, it will switch on again when the car is restarted! Given that the rear hatch has a 'door-open' sensor, it shouldn't have been too difficult to offer a boot lamp that activates automatically.

Even the rear door can accommodate a 1 liter bottle:

Ingress & egress are convenient, as the rear seat is positioned fairly high and there's enough foot room too:

A look at the slightly contoured and wide rear bench. Front seats are arranged to display the maximum and minimum legroom:

Due to the width of the S-Cross, 3 adults will fit on the rear bench without too much of a squeeze:

Since you're seated higher up at the rear, your legs will be almost perpendicular to the ground (like sitting on a chair). Under-thigh support is decent while knee room, legroom and headroom are all good:

Look closely. This image compares the two recline angles of the backrest; upright and standard. The former is too upright:

A view from the rear when the backrest is in the more upright position:

In their lowest position, the headrests tend to jut into your upper back - not comfortable at all:

In their raised position, the lower edge still juts into the nape of the passenger's neck. Although the headrests are soft, their overall design could have been more comfort-oriented:

The rear armrest is positioned a bit too low for my liking. It could have been longer too:

There is a prominent floor hump at the rear, along with a protruding (front) armrest console. This means the third passenger will have to rest his/her feet on either sides of the hump:

Why doesn't this 'premium crossover' have a rear air-con vent? The Ciaz gets it:

Cabin lamp is located between the rear & front seats, adding to its usability:

Useful seat-back pockets:

The parcel tray is huge! However, it won't prevent loose items from sliding ahead due to its design. Look closely and check out the pull strap, you can lift the parcel tray from the back seat if you need something from the boot:

The trick - this 'dual operable' parcel tray can be flipped up 50% from either side (i.e. from the back seat or the hatch):

Boot space is 353 liters (375 liters with the rear seat in its upright position):

You can fold down the backrest in a 60:40 ratio, or entirely:

Remove the rear seat's base and you get an almost flat floor, liberating 810 liters of cargo space:

There are deep storage bins on either side of the boot floor:

A super useful feature - each time you raise the boot floor to access the spare wheel or tool kit, the boot floor automatically slides into a bracket which holds it in the raised position:

This is the bracket:

Result: You can access the full-sized spare tyre with both hands, as the floor stays raised:

Last edited by Rehaan : 29th July 2015 at 16:20.
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Default Maruti S-Cross : Engine & Driving Experience

Maruti has decided to go all-diesel with this crossover, offering a choice of two Fiat-sourced engines - the familiar 1,248 cc unit (1.3L) and the more powerful 1,598 cc motor (1.6L). The 1.3L diesel is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox with power and torque figures identical to the Ciaz, i.e. 89 BHP @ 4,000 rpm and 200 Nm of torque @ 1,750 rpm. Since the S-Cross is heavier than its sedan sibling by 75 kgs, its performance with the same 1.3L engine will be even more ordinary. If speed is what you're looking for, the 1.6L engine promises a healthy dose of it - 118 BHP @ 3,750 rpm and 320 Nm of torque @ 1,750 rpm. The 1.6L is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. Starting with the Celerio diesel, we saw Maruti's new engine nomenclature based on the torque rating. Hence, the 1.3L is called the DDiS 200 and the 1.6L is badged DDiS 320.

Interestingly, unlike the 1.3L which is locally built, the 1.6L and its ancillaries are completely imported from Italy. Result: A 67% level of localization, compared to 97% for the S-Cross 1.3L. In India, we don't get a petrol, automatic gearbox or AWD - definitely a missed opportunity! The market is moving to petrols in a big way and premium customers love their automatic gearboxes. At a time when Hyundai is offering a wide variety of engine and transmission options in its cars, Maruti's case is weak here.

The 1.6L DDiS 320:

Press the clutch pedal, hit the start / stop button and the diesel motor comes to life with a faint vibration felt across the cabin. You'll hear a mild diesel rumble from the 1.6L. It isn't as super refined as the Hyundai Verna, yet at the same time, the clatter isn't as much as in the Volkswagen Vento. Once the engine has warmed up, it is well-behaved on the inside as well as the outside, with only a faint diesel hum heard all throughout. No, you won't have to raise your voice to maintain a conversation with other passengers.

This 1.6L engine is the new torque king. The 320 Nm of torque is the same as the more expensive Jetta / Octavia and significantly higher than the norms of this segment. It is a real cracker of a diesel, albeit with one flaw - turbo lag! Lag is inevitable...when you see the tall torque rating from an engine of this size, you know it's using a bigger turbo. Below 1,500 rpm, the accelerator is unresponsive. Still, there is enough torque at low rpm to keep you moving. The S-Cross will chug along in traffic and even climb inclines without a fuss, albeit in a relaxed manner. At those low rpms, throttle response is too dull. You'll be waiting for the turbo to start spooling. If you're in a hurry or driving with a heavy right foot, the lag will be very evident. Only one solution = downshift. Once past 1,500 rpm, the motor starts waking up and responding to your inputs. Get in the turbo zone (past 1,750 rpm) and there is a wild surge of power. Get this: if you completely mash the A-pedal in 1st or 2nd gears above 2,000 rpm, you can feel some torque steer (car pulling to the left). The diesel engine relentlessly pulls all the way to its 5,000 rpm redline, with power only just beginning to taper off in the final 250 rpm. What's more, the diesel doesn't sound too strained or coarse, even when it's being driven hard.

To enjoy a smooth drive in the city, you need to adjust your driving style due to the peaky power delivery. I found myself backing off on my throttle input as the revs increased, to ensure that passengers don't get pushed back to their seats as the turbo spooled up. On the other hand, for someone who drives with a light foot, upshifts can take place early. Again, there is enough torque below 1,750 rpm to keep the S-Cross moving, but just not with instant punch / throttle response. We even climbed up an incline in 4th gear at speeds of 45-50 km/h. No doubt, if you want responsiveness, you will need to seriously work the gearbox in traffic. The city speed limit (~50 km/h) is exactly where you'll be in the powerband in 3rd gear. Overtaking auto rickshaws or two-wheelers requires only a slight tap on the accelerator.

Open road performance is very impressive. No surprise as the torque-to-weight ratio is higher than the Jetta & Octavia! You can easily keep up with - and pass - more expensive cars on the expressway. Maruti says that the 0 - 100 dash is completed in 11.30 seconds (13.2 seconds for the 1.3L). That's not too impressive (turbo-lag affecting the time perhaps?). What is really strong is the in-gear acceleration with the rpm needle above 1,750 rpm. Here, the S-Cross is explosive and it just shoots forward. Given that the 1.6 diesel revs so quickly, an enthusiastic driver will find himself frequently maxing out in the lower gears. 1st gear takes you till 48 km/h, 2nd till 84 km/h and 3rd should go beyond 130 km/h.

The S-Cross can be a calm highway cruiser too. 100 km/h comes up at just 1,750 rpm in 6th (~2,200 rpm in 5th gear). Good thing is, you are in the turbo zone. At highway speeds in 5th or 6th gear, all it takes is a light tap of the throttle to surge past cars on your left. It's that simple. You'll get used to driving the S-Cross in a higher gear on open roads (due to the ample torque available). That said, slow down momentarily, dropping the needle below 1,750 rpm, and the lag catches you out - making a downshift is mandatory for a quick overtaking manoeuvre then. Here's an example: you're cruising along in 4th gear at 70 km/h and the S-Cross is lively and responsive. Drop your speed to 60 km/h in 4th and suddenly, there is very little action if you stomp on the throttle. When the speed rises to 65 km/h, you'll be closer to the turbo zone once again, with the accelerator pedal coming back to life. When you hit the turbo zone in any gear, the enthusiast in you won't be able to lift off the throttle. The wild surge of torque is truly addictive! Stay in the turbo zone on the highway and she just pulls & pulls.

ARAI ratings for the DDiS 320 (1.6L) stand at 22.7 kmpl and for the DDiS 200 (1.3L) at 23.65 kmpl. The 48 liter fuel tank will give you a healthy touring range. Internationally, the S-Cross gets a slightly bigger 50 liter tank.

The S-Cross' overall NVH gets a 6.5 / 10 rating from us. Engine refinement on the move is satisfactory. On the other hand, road and wind noise filter inside the cabin at higher speeds. Those JK tyres are the main culprits for road noise on anything less than a perfect surface. Crosswinds can be heard bellowing on the A-pillars too. The cabin's insulation from low-frequency sounds (tyre hum, bus engine next to you) is strictly average. You just don't get that cocooned kind of feeling like you would in a European car (or even the Elite i20). A lot of traffic noise from the outside is audible inside. While on it, I must mention that - during idling - you can hear the air-con compressor kick in & out very frequently. I'd noticed a similar trait in the Celerio diesel that we tested recently; enhancing fuel economy whilst maximizing cooling, is it?

The gearshift is precise with well-defined gates. Shift action is very positive and you'll never mis-shift. The gearbox doesn't disappoint while quick-shifting either (other than just a little notchiness). The S-Cross gets a fully synchronized reverse gear. This prevents the grinding of gears when you engage reverse (by lifting the collar on the gear lever and slotting it into position).

For a car of this size, the clutch is perfectly weighted - it's on the lighter side, yet not feather light. Pedal travel is on the shorter side. Even if you have to battle stop-and-go traffic for extended periods of time, the clutch shouldn't cause any pain. This is the first Maruti to get a 'Self Adjusting Clutch'. In short, the engagement point on the clutch pedal will remain the same (rather than moving up the pedal travel), regardless of how worn out the clutch gets.

There is only one way to say it = On-road behaviour is more European than Japanese. The way that the S-Cross can mask speeds is commendable...or downright dangerous - whichever way you look at it! Firstly, that sweet 1.6L diesel takes you well into triple-digit speeds without you ever having to try hard. Secondly, at those speeds, you don't feel like you're actually driving fast (unless you look at the speedometer). The stability is rock solid. Credit must be given to the excellent driving dynamics of this car. The S-Cross feels tight and eager to change direction without ever feeling skittish or nervous when cornering. Due to the jacked-up ground clearance (180 mm), there is body roll, yet it's not something you'd find unnerving. Low speed ride isn't what you'd consider soft or plush. Instead, it's on the tighter side of the spectrum. The suspension certainly isn't stiff or jarring; again, it is a lot like European cars. High speed ride quality is excellent and the car remains absolutely flat, ironing out all of the road imperfections. When the S-Cross hits large bumps at high speed, it recovers almost instantly, and without any of the pitching or vertical bobbing movement you see in other cars. There's no crashing or banging of the suspension on bumps and potholes either - just mature and extremely well-muted thuds. This planted behaviour is terrific. It's a beauty on the highway and just gets better and better with speed! A downside to that is, in the city, you can feel the suspension's firmness, with bumps being more obvious than cars with a softer suspension. Nonetheless, ride quality isn't disturbing nor does it have the suspension crashing through bad sections of the road. To put things into perspective, this car handles like a more mature Swift and enthusiasts will surely have a smile plastered on their face when behind the wheel. Family men too will strike a great balance, with not a complaint from the rear.

The S-Cross' steering is one that will keep the large majority happy, although it does have a few flaws that BHPians will spot. At parking speeds, the steering is usable by all (light, but not 1-finger light). Just as you start moving, the EPS remains light; this results in some vagueness till 10-15 km/h (you might notice this the most in stop and go traffic conditions). After that, the steering weighs up nicely as the speedo needle climbs. On the expressway and through faster curves, there is adequate feel from the steering and it is sharp. The EPS isn't dead or disconnected like a Hyundai, albeit it isn't a Fiat or Ford steering either. For an EPS, the steering is nice to use. When making U-turns, we found the return-to-center action to be weak, often requiring us to assist it back to the straight-ahead position. The other complaint is the dead spot around the center position at high speed; sometimes, you have to make corrections on a straight highway.

Braking is a fuss-free affair from the disc brakes all around. We tried 100-0 km/h braking and the car dropped speed confidently with no interference from the ABS. There was some nosedive here, maybe due to the increased ground clearance. In terms of pedal feel, I'd have liked it if the brakes grabbed a little sooner - there is some travel before the brakes bite.

Fiat's 1.6L diesel engine makes its Indian debut in a Maruti!

256 Nm torque-to-weight ratio is the best in this class of cars. Makes it a capable cruiser:

Check out the Garrett variable-geometry turbocharger. Big size explains the high power figures, as well as the turbo-lag:

The air intake plumbing sucks in air from the front of the engine bay and then arches over the battery:

Engine underbelly is protected by a metal sheet. You can't see the ground:

Bonnet insulation keeps engine sound in check when heard from the outside:

A reason to upgrade the JK Elanzo-NXT tyres would be the excessive road noise they make. The Elanzo-NXT is part of JK Tyres' SUV range:

Recommended air pressure:

180 mm of ground clearance is adequate to tackle most broken roads. Add the car's firm suspension to the mix, and you'll really need to try hard to make it scrape anywhere:

Diesel only; there's no petrol S-Cross. See the black plastic spill protector below the fuel cap:

Last edited by Rehaan : 29th July 2015 at 16:29.
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Old 25th July 2015, 10:50   #6
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Other Points:

• Standard warranty of 2 years or 40,000 kms. Extended warranty pricing for 4 years / 80,000 kms is as follows:
DDiS 200 - Rs. 12,000 - 15,000
DDiS 320 - Rs. 17,000 - 20,000

• The S-Cross concept was first showcased at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. The production version was later unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. Closer home, it was showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo (Maruti @ Auto Expo 2014). Not much has changed between the car displayed then and what we tested.

• As of today, the S-Cross is built at Magyar Suzuki in Hungary for the European market, Latin America, Oceania, Africa and the Middle East. It's also manufactured in China by Suzuki's joint venture there (Changan Suzuki). In India, the S-Cross will roll out of Maruti's Gurgaon factory.

• Interestingly, this car gets HIDs without headlamp washers. The international version has washers, as they are required by law (more info).

• This is the first Maruti on sale without a petrol engine on offer. Maruti has a lot of petrol-only cars, but this is their first diesel-only model.

• Turning radius = 5.2 meters.

• Why such a tall floor hump at the back? Remember, the S-Cross is available with Suzuki's AllGrip (AWD) technology internationally.

• The S-Cross diesel AWD is available with an automatic transmission in Europe.

• 1.3L diesel will be sold in all 4 variants (Sigma, Delta, Zeta & Alpha). 1.6L in the top 3 variants only.

• Maruti MUST bring out the Ciaz with this fast 1.6L diesel. That'll make it a 'complete' sedan. Right now, the puny engines are a big disadvantage for the Ciaz.

About NEXA:

• NEXA stands for "New Exclusive Automotive Experience". It's a rich sounding name, no doubt.

• Maruti will be relying on the NEXA showrooms to sell its premium range of vehicles, starting with the S-Cross. The Ciaz will continue to be sold through Maruti dealerships though. Period.

• There will be approximately 35 - 40 NEXA dealerships initially. Maruti targets to open 100+ NEXA outlets across 30 cities by April 2016. Whatever way you look at it, this small number of sales outlets will greatly limit the S-Cross' availability & volumes. Maruti's regular network has over 1,000 sales points!

• All showrooms will either have a dedicated customer parking area, or more likely, valet parking.

• The showrooms will be designed to keep the limelight on the display cars. Thus, the interior theme will be a monotone black & white, with only the car being in colour.

• Interestingly, NEXA showrooms prominently carry 'Maruti-Suzuki' branding, while the S-Cross doesn't. What a confused branding strategy?!

• Each customer will have a Relationship Manager (RM) that stays with them through the entire buying & ownership experience. Some of the RMs are from banking, airline and even premium car dealership backgrounds, having undergone specific training for their role at NEXA. The RMs will be the single point of contact when you send your car for servicing as well.

• Customers can use Maruti's widespread support network to service their cars. However, they will be given the option of a mobile workshop van visiting their house, or a pick up & drop off service. Of course, customers can visit the service center themselves, if they so prefer.

• Transactions will be paperless as far as possible. Wall-mounted displays will be connected to tablet PCs to give customers information about the product.

• Showrooms will have a dedicated delivery area. Deliveries won't be done in the traditional (cracking a coconut) way, but will be personalized to suit the customer's taste (e.g. with his choice of music playing in the background). Time to dig out that old Guns N' Roses CD!

• NEXA dealerships won't be directly operated by Maruti. They will be owned & operated by existing dealers.

Disclaimer: Maruti invited Team-BHP for the S-Cross test-drive. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by GTO : 1st September 2015 at 13:20. Reason: Adding extended warranty pricing
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Old 25th July 2015, 10:51   #7
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The Smaller yet Significant Things:

Premium Silver, Granite Grey and Pearl Arctic White are 3 of the 5 shades on offer:

Caffeine Brown is one of the new colours, in addition to the Urban Blue of our test car:

The S-Cross is rough road friendly. At low speeds, you'll feel the bumps. Over 50 km/h, the car dismisses all bumps and rides as flat as it can get:

High quality rubber beading along the door edges:

India-friendly ORVMs:

Rear windows roll down almost all the way:

Exit the car with the smartkey in your pocket and the engine running? The MFD will turn orange and a warning will flash on the screen. 3 audible beeps too:

Lift the collar and then engage reverse. No grinding since it's a fully synchronized reverse gear:

Tweeters are located at the far edge of the dashboard:

Navigation is via pre-loaded maps on an SD card:

The 2 large cup-holders can also hold 1 liter bottles; though using them for this unintended purpose could hinder gearshifts to 4th & 6th:

Floor mats are secured in dedicated slots. Notice the Hindi warning label, a rare sight on cars in India:

This bracket allows the rear seat to recline:

This picture has been shot with the boot floor removed. On international versions (with the lower boot floor level), you can remove the sides of these bins. On the Indian version, it makes little difference, since the raised boot flooring creates the recessed bin in any case:

The boot gets a nifty hook to hang shopping bags:

12V power socket and a manual boot lamp . In case you forget to switch it off, the lamp will remain on until you turn the car off or lock it from the outside. Just for the record, it will switch on again when the car is restarted!

Tools are tucked into a thermocol holder, just like the Ciaz:

Last edited by Rehaan : 28th July 2015 at 19:51.
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Old 25th July 2015, 11:09   #8
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Default Re: Maruti S-Cross : Official Review

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th July 2015, 11:35   #9
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Default Re: Maruti S-Cross : Official Review

"Brilliant stuff guys! Rated 5 stars!
Comprehensive car and review. I think I know what will be my next car.
This is Maruti joining the crossover show with a bang"

Last edited by ampere : 25th July 2015 at 12:29. Reason: Changed as requested
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Old 25th July 2015, 11:36   #10
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Default Re: Maruti S-Cross : Official Review

Brilliant weekend surprise. Rated 5 stars just for the pics alone. Seems like Maruti finally have a good crack at the premium segment.

Thank you S2 and Rehaan! Some very detailed observations regarding the car. Fitting of Team-BHP Standards!!!

To put things into perspective, this car handles like a more mature Swift and enthusiasts will surely have a smile plastered on their face when behind the wheel. Family men too will strike a great balance, with not a complaint from the rear.

Just one question to Maruti; When will you get the seats right? Went from being cramped to being spacious but lacking under thigh support to getting the recline wrong. Is this the first instance where a recliner feature is used to get the seat more upright?
Could have just avoided the feature as a whole instead of this half baked effort.

But all things considered, it seems like a delight to drive and own. Only missing part of the puzzle is the price.

Hope that fits right and makes this car complete!

Last edited by SchumiFan : 25th July 2015 at 12:04.
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Old 25th July 2015, 11:53   #11
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Default Re: Maruti S-Cross : Official Review

Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
The Smaller yet Significant Things:
Lift the collar and then engage reverse. No grinding since it's a fully synchronized reverse gear:
That's wonderful. I didn't know they cared to add synchro rings to reverse. Which are the other cars that do have it ?
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Old 25th July 2015, 11:58   #12
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Default Re: Maruti S-Cross : Official Review

Wow, amazing review better and precise than the auto magazines,thiswill be the next have to have car in the 1.6 trim, but if it only had a automatic.
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Old 25th July 2015, 11:59   #13
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Default Re: Maruti S-Cross : Official Review

Bang ON.
Excellent Review. In fact one of few reviews that i am totally in agreement with about the hits and misses. The pros and cons are aptly put.
Now i cant wait to get my hands on the 1.6 L beauty for a TD , before i go ahead with the booking.
Seems like a perfect crossover for my retirement long drives.
BTW the Silver looks absolutely dull in the picture ?

Last edited by nkghai : 25th July 2015 at 12:00.
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Old 25th July 2015, 12:01   #14
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Default Re: Maruti S-Cross : Official Review

Fantastic review, thanks.

What is the car length ?

The dimensions and other specs ?

The engine area cannot be cleaned by spray water, thanks to the closure of the bottom.

Maruti should plonk AT in this car for the urban commuter whom they want to call at their Nexa showroom.

Last edited by tanwaramit : 25th July 2015 at 12:10.
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Old 25th July 2015, 12:03   #15
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Talking Re: Maruti S-Cross : Official Review

Extremely well written, touching all the points. And forgive me, it felt more like a Fiat review (sans the steering) Well-deserved 5*. I think this is going to do very well.

I am not quite sure about this NEXA dealership thing though. Siliguri does not have a NEXA, but the existing major dealer (Beekay) showed quite a lot interest about the car. Though I did not plod, I think they will be displaying it soon.

Does that mean that where NEXA is not available (smaller cities/towns), they will be available via the normal Maruti dealerships?

Last edited by johy : 25th July 2015 at 12:07.
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