Maruti Suzuki S-Presso: Thinking outside the box

It looks boxier than a box. But on four wheels a box shape ensures maximum space utilisation inside a vehicle.

By: | Updated: October 7, 2019 9:55 AM
The rear seating area is large, but the bench seat has poor thigh support. The circular centre console looks strangely similar to the one in Mini Cooper cars

The S-Presso might just be the weirdest looking car in the Indian market right now. This new mini SUV by Maruti Suzuki, however, appears to get certain things right. To evaluate it, we drive it near Jodhpur in Rajasthan.

What defines its design?

It looks boxier than a box. But on four wheels a box shape ensures maximum space utilisation inside a vehicle. The S-Presso, with its upright A-pillar and back door design, is much more than a jacked-up Alto. However, it doesn’t come across as an SUV either, even though it has SUV-inspired squared wheel arches and sculpted body lines. It’s a design than, honestly, is difficult to define.

How spacious is the cabin?

Cabin space is its forte, especially headroom. The high seating layout offers a good view of the road, and also enables easy ingress and egress (getting in and getting out). The rear seating area is large, but the rear bench seat has poor thigh support—changing the seat angle by raising the front may make it more comfortable. The luggage space is the maximum you’d get in a car in this segment.

What tech features does it get?

It offers you steering wheel-mounted audio and voice controls. The top-end VXi+ variant gets the SmartPlay Studio—the 17.78cm touchscreen infotainment system that helps you control music, entertainment and navigation—compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The dashboard has a circular centre console that, the company says, is inspired from sports watches. However, it looks strangely similar to the centre console in Mini Cooper cars. Nevertheless, inspirations aside, it makes the cabin look stylish.

How does it drive?

It gets the proven 998cc K10 petrol engine (BS6-compliant) that produces 50kW (67bhp) of power and 90Nm torque. The cabin is noisy, and more so when you hard-accelerate. But the acceleration is peppy—initial as well as through the gears.

The Auto Gear Shift (AGS) variant—or automated manual transmission (AMT)—takes its sweet time to change gears, but the engine power delivery nullifies that lag to an extent. Fuel efficiency is rated at 21.4kpl (manual Std. and LXi variants) and 21.7kpl (VXi manual and AGS), and the fuel tank capacity is 27 litres, so the best possible driving range is about 550km.

Thanks to regulations, all variants of the S-Presso get safety features such as driver-side airbag, ABS with EBD, seat-belt reminder, reverse-parking sensors, speed alert, etc. There are some cost-cutting features—like you get only front power windows, only two speakers, and alloy wheels are offered only in the accessory package.

Is it value for money?

Priced from Rs 3.69 lakh to Rs 4.91 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the S-Presso offers you a lot of cabin space for your money. You also get a peppy and fuel-efficient engine, and variant-to-variant the S-Presso is about Rs 30,000 more expensive than the cramped Alto K10. The design, while weird to some, might just grow on you in due course of time.

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