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Up until now with the S-Cross, Maruti Suzuki played only in the diesel segment due to the fuel-type preference. Though it offered two engine options - a 1.3 litre diesel and a 1.6 litre diesel. The latter found few takers while the former still managed to attract the huge chunk of customers towards it. Seeing this, the company discontinued the 1.6-litre diesel unit. However, with the turn of 2020, implementation of BS6 emission norms meant that diesel would be the less preferred choice in comparison to petrol. Plus, seeing its previous record Maruti decided to finally take the plunge into the gasoline territory with an all-new 1.5 litre petrol engine. Can this change of heart change its fortunes well let us find out?
Baring the engine, the latest iteration of the Maruti S-Cross remains the same as its previous generation. Cosmetically there are no additions on the exterior design of this crossover. Nevertheless, let me throw some light upon a couple of key elements. Head-on, the front end features a very muscular nose that is highlighted via a sculpted bonnet, chrome garnished grille, projector headlamps, pair of fog lamps and the all-important silver finished skid plate. On the sides, there are a set of 16-inch alloy wheels with the profile remaining unchanged. Taking about the rear profile, this too is almost identical to the predecessor that caters to a roof mounted antenna, LED tail lights, S-Cross moniker positioned towards left while on the right lies the Smart Hybrid badge giving way to the technology being offered on-board. The bumper comprises of reflector inserts on either side with the prominent skid plate making an appearance here too. Overall, the presence of black plastic cladding running across the length and breadth of the vehicle give it the much-needed crossover look.
Having looked at the exterior, let us now turn towards the interior. The Maruti S-Cross’s cabin from the beginning has been about spacious interiors. In fact, its all-black finish lends the crossover a premium look. The fit and finish of plastic has been impressive while speaking about enhancements in this latest generation, there is not much. The dashboard layout is the same as before. Since this is a Smart Hybrid, the instrument cluster stands to provide blue surrounds for the dials and the technology’s insignia given within the speedometer. Moving to the centre console, it’s infotainment system (SmartPlay interface) is the same as before. The only minor change which has been made is that the system is said to have been updated for better user experience. We have always been a big fan of its comfort, the 2020 edition follows in the same direction with ample cushioning, leg, shoulder and headroom for both front and rear passengers.
How does it perform? Well this is where things have entirely changed for the 2020 Maruti S-Cross. If you remember, the crossover initially came with only diesel powertrains but recently it has been equipped with an entirely new BS6 compliant 1.5-litre K-Series petrol engine with Smart Hybrid technology. A first for this model, the K-15B gasoline power plant is identical to the one present in Maruti Vitara Brezza and for that matter the Ertiga. Its specifications state that the BS6 compliant 1462cc engine produces a maximum power output of 103 bhp with 138 Nm of peak torque. Going by these figures, the heart might not be as competitive as others in its segment but nevertheless it does make a mark for itself. The engine NVH levels are restricted to the minimum while the engine in particular feels very agile both in the city as well as the highways. Its linear acceleration with a combination of perfect gear shift makes the drive an enjoyable one. Talking about the gearbox, the S-Cross comes fitted with both manual and automatic transmission options, however the one that we drove was the 5-speed manual. Its clutch is very light which would be a boon in stop-go-traffic. Though we could not test its fuel efficiency, given that there is Smart Hybrid technology on board the figure hovers around the 18 to 19 kms mark (ARAI certified). For what it was, we were expecting the ride and handling characteristics to remain identical which is true for the petrol version as well. The suspension set-up is such that, be it broken roads or for that matter potholes, it soaks in everything with utter ease. The handling also remains spot on and does not bother the driver much due to its good weight distribution.
Fortune favours the brave, well the saying holds true in this case given that Maruti has updated the S-Cross with a new petrol power plant. With the exterior and interior design remaining more or less the same, the crossover not only manages to portray its masculine appeal but also demonstrates decent on-road performance with a ‘change in heart’. At its price point of Rs 8.39 lakhs to 12.39 lakhs, the Maruti S-Cross petrol seems like a great option and most importantly a value for money proposition given the features and comfort level that it has to offer.
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