The BS6 version of the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross has undergone some big changes. Now it may not look so on the outside, but skin deep it’s a whole different car. So what are these changes that we are talking about? Let’s take a look.
Design for the 2020 S-Cross petrol remains the same and there are no changes apart from the missing DDiS badges. The main draw is at the front with the toothy chrome metal grille that gives the S-Cross some SUV intentions. The sharp looking crystalline headlights get a lot of busy elements and come with projector beams and DRL’s as well. Adding to the crossover looks is the thick cladding outlining the air dam and the fog lamps with a bash plate taking center place.
On the sides, the cladding continues. You get this nice strong shoulder line giving it some character and adding further to the looks are this 16-inch machined alloy wheels wrapped in fat 215 section rubber. The rear is the most hatchback-ish part of the S-cross with only the skid plates trying to make it stand out.
Overall the S-Cross is still a good looking crossover and has enough presence even though it’s not a full sized SUV.
The best part about getting into the S-Cross is that you can just walk into it. It’s neither as high as SUVs nor as low sedans or hatchbacks. The seats are comfortable and the low dash means very good visibility. While it’s a clean dashboard layout with the big 7-inch screen, the design layout looks a little dated. What also does not help is the all black layout with no dual tone colours. Quality of plastics is acceptable and nothing to complain about.
With an overall length of 4300mm and a wheelbase of 2600mm, the S-Cross is a large car and as a result space was never going to be an issue. It’s got more than enough legroom, under thigh support is decent and it can seat three people comfortably.
Bootspace is 353 litres which can expand to a massive 810 litres with the seatback completely folded. Apart from practical storage places all around, you also get a 60:40 split to make things more convenient.
The S-Cross gets a bunch of features like LED projector headlamps and DRLs, 16-inch alloy wheels, leatherette upholstery, auto headlamps and wipers, keyless entry and go, a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a rear-view camera and cruise control. Standard safety equipment on the S-Cross includes dual airbags, ABS, ISOFIX child seat mounts, rear parking sensors, front seatbelt reminders and a high-speed alert system, along with a hill hold assist function for the automatic variants.
Now talking about the engine this is where the big changes have occurred. The S-Cross initially came with 2 diesel options, the 1.6 and the 1.3 DDiS engines. Unfortunately in a bid to keep costs down, the 1.6 was axed. And now in its BS6 avatar, the 1.3 litre diesel has been laid to rest as well. What you get now is the 1.5-litre, naturally aspirated petrol engine that also does duty in the Ciaz, Ertiga and the XL6.
The K15B motor pushes out 105bhp and 138Nm of torque. The engine comes with a 5-speed manual gearbox and for the first time the S-Cross also gets a 4-speed AT option. This is the 4-speed auto that we are driving now. While driven normally, the engine feels refined and the upshifts and downshifts are smooth. But step things up and the 4-speed torque converter starts to show its limitations. It’s just too slow to respond and nowhere as quick as the other CVT’s and twin clutch automatics out there.
After the AT, the 5-speed manual feels way quicker to respond. It feels stronger at low revs, pulling the car effortlessly. Post 3,000rpm there is even a bit of spike in power delivery which makes progress a little bit quicker. That being said, you need to work this engine pretty hard to get the S-Cross moving briskly but then it sounds a little harsh at high revs though it’s not something that will bother most users.
The S-Cross also gets Maruti’s mild hybrid tech which includes a dual battery setup which assists the engine with start-stop function and generates additional pulling power, thereby taking some load off the engine and in turn reducing the fuel consumption. Coming to the fuel efficiency, the petrol-manual version has an ARAI rating of 18.55kpl, while the petrol automatic is rated at 18.43kpl.
Now the S-Cross being a crossover will have to deal with the city conditions as well as bad road conditions should you decide to take it off the beaten path. Considering that, the S-Cross has a well-judged suspension set-up. Ride comfort is good, with a supple and planted feel that absorbs all but the nastier potholes on the road. Factor in the generous 180mm ground clearance, and the S-Cross can handle broken roads without stress. High-speed behaviour is excellent as well, and the car feels planted at triple-digit speeds. We didn't get to test the outright fun factor on a tight mountain road, but the S-Cross impresses with how it balances comfort and dynamics.
Prices for the new S-Cross start at 8.39 lakh and goes up till 12.39 lakh and it goes up against the likes of the Renault Duster, the Nissan Kicks and more. Now the S-Cross might not have the SUV appeal of some of its competition but it makes up for that with its value for money pricing. So if you are looking for a comfortable family car but are a little short on cash for your favourite SUV, the S-Cross fills that gap nicely.
Pictures By Kaustubh Gandhi.