It's been a good four months for us with the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross 1.6 Alpha and with every passing day our affection for the car has only increased. Now some of you might be questioning the affection part because you do not find the S-Cross to be a great looking vehicle. Well, in a way that's right since the S-Cross isn't one of the better looking cars in its segment. However, there's a lot more that makes a car good, bad or ugly. And that is the part where the S Cross shone thoroughly.
Many of you would've read out first long-term report of the S-Cross earlier. In case, you haven't, please click the link below to know how the ball got rolling when the car was given to us.
In our first report, we established that the S-Cross offers an impressive mix of performance, efficiency and practicality. Having driven it more, we can only say that the impression has been engraved further in our minds.
The S-Cross with its 1.6 litre turbocharged diesel engine is one of the most fun-to-drive cars in this price bracket. While there are other vehicles with similarly powered engines, the one in the S-Cross delivers its power in one huge dollop and then follows it up with even larger chunks. Going past 1,500 rpm makes it clear that the turbo is spooling and feeding air into the combustion chamber. Acceleration from this point is devoid of any lag at all, which results in good drivability in traffic and on hills as one doesn't need to shift frequently.
Pin the throttle past 1,700 rpm and the car lunges forward, pushing you firmly into the driver's seat. At this point many cars with similar power delivery give you the task of tackling massive torque steer but in the S-Cross there's hardly any so no need to fight a wrestling match with the steering wheel! Power builds up rapidly right up till about 4,200 rpm and starts to taper thereon. The six-speed manual transmission has the right set of ratios to compliment the car's performance and it offers precise and easy shifts.
Despite the impressive performance from the engine with 118 hp and 320 Nm of torque on tap, the S-Cross has turned out to be fuel-efficient as well. With almost 3,800 km on the odometer, we've driven the vehicle for another 1,600 km since the last update. During this period we managed to take the S-Cross out on some highway drives, which has improved the average fuel-efficiency from 16.8 km/l in the last report to 18.1 km now. The car continues to deliver more than 16 km to a litre of diesel even in the bumper-to-bumper traffic in Delhi during rush hours.
Since during this period we managed to do some short weekend trips in the S-Cross, we got a chance to test the practicality and comfort for people of different ages and also load the car up to max with people and luggage. With four adults, one kid and a boot full of bags, the S-Cross never felt sluggish even while encountering the uphill roads to Shimla. Six feet tall people can easily sit behind each other in comfort and the boot too can take in a lot of stuff. For a family of five, the S-Cross is the right sized vehicle without any compromises in terms of space and comfort.
In terms of features too, the car is at par with the segment as it features a touch screen infotainment system with navigation and the usual connectivity options too. What really impresses is the infotainment system, which has a simple user-interface and some neat tricks up its sleeve. As we told you earlier, the system can read out your text messages or display them on the screen, based on user input. In addition, the voice command system is one of the few in the market that almost picks up all Indian names correctly!
The S-Cross then as impressed us with its peppy engine, good fuel-efficiency, rich list of features and ample space all around. The car has some good bits too like the soft touch dashboard and auto-dimming rear view mirror, which lend it a premium feel. Some plastics, however, in the lower part of the doors and the dashboard don't feel that premium and leaves scope for improvement. The lack of an automatic transmission too is something that puts it behind its key rivals. That aside, the S-Cross excels in pretty much everything and before you say it again, that doesn't include the design.
Yes, it isn't a looker but it does have a commanding road presence and exudes a tough character. That brings us to the headline of this story and the S-Cross clearly has proven that judging a book by its cover can be very wrong at times. It may not be the best looker in its segment but the S-Cross definitely is one of the best cars to drive and live with in its price-bracket. We're about to send our S-Cross for a service soon so in our next update, we'll share details on how much does it cost to maintain Maruti Suzuki's first premium crossover.
Maruti Suzuki S-Cross 1.6 Alpha logsheet
Date Acquired: Mid-November, 2016
Variant: 1.6 Alpha
Odometer reading at start:18,270 km
Distance covered: 3,770 km
Average Fuel-efficiency: 18.1 km/l (60 % in rush hour traffic, 40 % on highway)
What you might like: Powerful engine, spacious cabin and impressive infotainment system
What you might not like: Exterior styling and lack of automatic transmission along with some plastic bits.
Additional Cost incurred: None