The current car market scenario is witnessing a drastic change, be it the cars or the mindsets of the buyers. Even the most well-renowned auto makers have come to India to build and showcase what they're capable of; this is a direct testament to how India is gradually rising as the best investment plan for many of the prominent car makers. In the car space, a special class of cars belonging to several of the car makers, have risen over the years and seem to be conquering the market by storm, and to be precise, it is the 'Cross-over' or 'Compact-SUV' class. A few examples being the Ford EcoSport and the Renault Duster. But one must wonder why Maruti never answered to any of this, until now. Behold, the Maruti S-Cross.
Showcased as a prototype at the 2014 AutoExpo, Maruti Suzuki was well aware of the fact that it was lagging behind the competitors in terms of what was “in chic”, currently. The S-Cross can be termed as a long relative of the international SX-4. Now, although the SX-4 was not launched in India as a crossover version, Maruti Suzuki decided to develop a car from the older relative. Rightly so, the S-Cross will be badged with an additional 'SX-4', but only in the international market, to help buyers identify the car as the latest in the line. The car recently attracted attention in Malaysia while at a Bollywood awards ceremony.
So what does the S-Cross offer? Surprisingly, Maruti Suzuki have decided to launch the car only as a diesel, which becomes obvious when you think about it because Maruti's success in the Indian market is owed to the Swift and the diesel engine that came with it; buyers still would want to choose the Swift diesel – a) it is affordable b) an engine that performs and saves up on fuel. One of the common misconceptions or misinformation, sadly, is that the engine is made by Maruti Suzuki themselves, however, it certainly isn't. The engine was sourced from the Italian giant, Fiat and then tuned and used on the cars. The story takes no abrupt turns or twists in the case of the S-Cross either. The compact SUV gets two diesel options – a 1.3 litre four-cylinder Multijet diesel and a brand-new monster heart, the 1.6 litre diesel – both from Fiat. The 1.3 produces the same amount of power and torque as before (90PS&200Nm), however, it's all minute compared to the 120PS of power and 320Nm of torque that the 1.6 litre churns out. The 1.6 will be mated to a 6-speed gearbox and will not be offered as a four-wheel drive or an automatic.
Since this S-Cross comes as a compact SUV, the exterior gets a fair amount of cladding, where the body is closest to the ground. The front end looks similar to the Fiat Crossover that was launched recently, the Avventura. Chrome plated grill, with a large Suzuki badge prominent. The S-Cross will be offered in five variants – Sigma, Sigma (O), Delta, Zeta and Alpha, all of them offering the 1.3 while the 1.6 will be limited to the last three. The tie-up with Suzuki has certainly helped Maruti, and the S-Cross gets a long list of gizmos and gadgets on it, including HID lamps with projectors, day-time-running LED lamps, rain sensing wipers, reverse parking sensors, illumination control and digital-analogue instrument console; what's more exciting, it gets a touchscreen navigation and infotainment unit, cruise control, keyless go and smartphone integration, among other things. Ground clearance of the S-Cross crossover stands at 180mm, which is a bit strange, at least for me.
In terms of safety, 7 out of 8 variants get standard ABS and dual-airbags and the base variant gets a driver-side airbag, something that deserves appreciation, after the recent reports of Indian made cars performing poorly in the crash tests. The S-Cross is certainly slated to be a premium offering in the compact SUV segment and it is safe to assume that the competition is feeling the pressure from the new kid on the block. The S-Cross will be a direct competitor to the successful Ford EcoSport, Renault Duster, Fiat Avventura and the Hyundai i20 Active. Neither the price nor the exact launch date have not yet been announced/released by the folks at Maruti Suzuki, but the car should be expected to roll out next month, keeping up with the launch of the Hyundai Creta, another crossover/compact-SUV.
Image Courtesy - MotorBeam
The S-Cross is the new competitor in the compact suv/crossover segment
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