When Maruti Suzuki launched its first Nexa car, the S-Cross, in 2015, it was branded as ‘The Premium Crossover’. When the same car was re-launched earlier this month—with a petrol engine — the company branded it ‘The Refined SUV’. In automotive parlance—as also defined by the Oxford Dictionary—an SUV is a high-performance four-wheel-drive vehicle; a crossover, though not defined by any authority is usually an SUV-like or a wagon-like design on a car-based platform, and is not usually all-wheel drive. Without getting into the crossover vs SUV debate, how good a car is the S-Cross?
Only in petrol
The S-Cross gets only the petrol engine (previously it was only diesel). This proven 1462cc engine (103bhp; 138Nm) is possibly the best thing about the car, and it shows as soon as you start driving.
◗ The cabin is eerily quiet;
◗ The acceleration is amazing;
◗ Fuel efficiency is very good (18.55kpl in manual and 18.43 kpl in automatic);
◗ Seats are very supportive;
◗ The view from the driver’s seat is good (almost as good as in some SUVs);
◗ Steering feedback is accurate;
◗ The4-speed automatic transmission is adequate (hill-hold assist is standard).
And spacious inside
The S-Cross is quite a roomy car, and top-end variants get leather-clad dashboard, steering wheel and seats, as also rain-sensing wipers, auto projector LED headlamps and cruise control. The cabin isn’t flashy but functional—all controls are within easy reach of the driver, and it has connectivity features (Smartplay Studio).
To make up for the outgoing diesel engine’s higher fuel efficiency and torque, the-Cross petrol gets a technology called the Smart Hybrid. It has various fuel-saving features, such as the engine stops automatically when idling, and has a lithium-ion battery that assists engine power.
What it doesn’t offer?
◗ Most cars in its segment get inbuilt connectivity features (as an option) which appear more advanced than the Suzuki Connect the S-Cross has.
◗ Most cars in its segment, even though they are expensive, come across as far more premium offerings—in terms of even basic things such as the appearance of the tripmeter; the S-Cross looks dated.
What it does offer
It’s high on fuel efficiency. While driving in Delhi for half a day the car returned 16kpl; on the highway and on cruise control it returned more than 20kpl. Priced from Rs 8.39 lakh (manual) and from Rs 10.83 lakh (automatic), it is good value for money. (The S-Cross is quite capable crossover car, but it’s not an SUV in the truest sense of the term—for that matter, neither are Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos, its competitors.)
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