Journey towards getting a S-Cross AT
After many years, I was in the market for a compact SUV/Crossover. Requirements were: AT, > 4m, decent legroom, highway-capable, ABS/EBD, disc brakes. Budget < 28L OTR.
The options under consideration were (links to official reviews):
• Tata Harrier (2020 Tata Harrier Automatic : Official Review)
Pros: Great-looking, powerful engine, 6-speed AT, good front and rear legroom, ESP, 6 airbags, good sound system
Cons: Big for city driving, No AWD or all-disc brakes at this price point, some awkward design elements with placement of the rear AC vents
Dealership/TD experience: Like interacting with a Govt. office. Registered my interest online and called multiple dealerships. Got a call-back after 2 days, with the salesman saying there was only 1 AT Harrier in all Pune for TD, and asked me to visit the showroom the next day. Upon arriving there, I was studiously ignored by all the salespeople, who were chatting away, no doubt exchanging gossip on the large number of Nanos they had sold in 2011. After sitting inside the display Harrier and (unsuccessfully) trying to open the hatch, a salesperson approached me to helpfully inform me that the car battery was possibly dead. After I made some noise, the Harrier salesman showed up, and apologetically informed me that the TD vehicle was being repaired due to an accident, and had been in the workshop all week. No explanation for why I was informed otherwise. Still waiting for the dealerships to call back.
• Mahindra XUV (Mahindra XUV500 Diesel Automatic : Official Review)
Pros: Good road presence, rugged, very roomy and comfy, decent power, 6 airbags, ESP, all-disc brakes, 6-speed AT, AWD option
Cons: Crude fit & finish, boat-like handling, will be replaced by new model in 2021, hate hate hate the vertical door handles
Dealership/TD experience: Like Tata, but didn’t even end up visiting the showroom due to lack of interest shown by dealership.
• Kia Seltos (Kia Seltos : Official Review)
Pros: Good size, plenty of (too many actually) variants, decent sound, spacious interior and boot, ESP & all-wheel disc brakes available on some of the million variants on offer (let me know once you figure out which), 1.5L NA petrol has decent zip for city driving.
Cons: Too much bling, confusing as heck to navigate through the various trims, too well-equipped with gizmos (not a big fan of connected car technology – why should Kia know where I am and how I drive the car, creeps me out), fun to drive 1.4L turbo is paired with the DSG transmission (reliability issues as per this august forum)
Dealership/TD experience: The salesperson skipped the first TD appointment, with nary an apology for the no-show. He did show up on time the second time around. The car drove and handled well (good allrounder as per the Team-BHP review). Engine and transmission (CVT) was adequate for the city drive and NVH levels were good. Liked the higher seating, boot space and rear legroom. The touchscreen display was too big and intrusive for my taste – guess I’m showing my age. Would’ve test driven the Diesel AT, but for the dealbreaker: undiagnosed BRAKE FAILURES (Brake failure issues in the Kia Seltos)
, which put paid to further interactions with the Korean twins.
•Hyundai Creta (Hyundai Creta : Official Review)
: Two things:
Same brake failure issue
That rear end https://www.team-bhp.com/carpics/202...i-creta-04.jpg
• Jeep Compass (Diesel) (Jeep Compass 4x4 Diesel AT BS6 coming in lower variants)
Pros: Looks great, fun to drive (the 2.0L diesel packs a punch), solidly built, tons of safety features (disc brakes, ESP, TC, rollover protection), AWD, great fit & finish, it’s a JEEP. The heart was sold
Cons: Pricey for the size, poor dealership/service coverage, 6 airbags only in the Limited trim, uncertainty about the future of FCA India. Petrol engine is anemic in comparison to the diesel.
Dealership/TD experience: TD was quickly arranged. The Jeep handled and drove really well, and my sister was soon cowering in the rear seat as I put it through its paces. The power of the engine was enough to overcome any lag in the transmission, and NVH was great. Was head over heels in love, and decided to go for the Longitude Plus Diesel, at a healthy 1.6L discount. Almost signed the paperwork for a red one, when the sales guy told me (only upon asking, mind you) that the car was built in January 2020. No way was I going to get a vehicle that had been sitting at the dealership for 9 months. Unfortunately they were unable or unwilling to find a more recently made unit, and were unwilling to give me the same discount for the Limited, which had units that were built 3-4 months back. So the heartbroken Majnu walked away with his bank balance intact.
• Maruti S-Cross 2020 Petrol: Maruti hadn't even been on my radar, till a friend suggested we check out the Nexa offerings after a cup of coffee. That cappuccino sealed my fate.
Pros: The best-built Maruti by far. Decent but not great front and rear leg room (I’m 6’1”). Interiors have good amount of soft-touch plastic. All-disc brakes, reclining rear seats, tilt/telescopic steering. Engine has adequate power (103PS) and so-so torque (138Nm), for a 1.5L NA. It revs nicely though.
Cons: No AWD option. The AT is ANCIENT. 4 speeds in this day and age, that too with the disco-era “OD off” button. No ESP when the Ciaz has it. Boot space is mediocre at 353 liters.
Dealership/TD experience: TD was arranged promptly after the showroom visit. TD car was the top-of-the-line Alpha variant, with leather everything, auto dimming IRVM & rain sensing wipers. Car handled well in city traffic, and the engine ha enough oomph for quick overtaking when required. The AT is not a deal-breaker, but the smaller number of gears means downshifts are noticeable when slowing down. The all-disc brakes work great though.
Decision: The head won over the heart, and the solid after-sales support network of Maruti, coupled with the highly professional interactions with their sales manager Prateek (Nexa Shivajinagar) carried the day. There is a White Zeta S-Cross in my garage now, and I have enough $ left over for the Thar as well..
Still breaking in the engine as per Team-BHP guidelines (ARTICLE: How to Run-In your new car)
, and will post an ownership review once enough miles have been run.
Initial observations: Car handles well, and feels planted at high speeds on the expressway. Brakes inspire confidence, and the S-Cross is able to deal with bad roads easily. NVH levels are high, though. Looks like I will have to bite the bullet and replace the tires with Michelins, if I can find them, and get rid of the stock JKs. Does anyone know if dealers will accept tires with 500-600km on them?
Other upgrades planned: leather seat covers, damping, and possibly an audio upgrade, once I confirm this will not void the warranty.
Thanks a ton to all the moderators and members of Team-BHP for creating this amazing community. It has been and continues to be a pleasure to read the articles and discussions, and participate in my own small way.