One of the problems of being the biggest mass-market automotive player in the Indian market is that eventually you get pigeonholed as a brand with regards to the price points and segments that you can compete in. This is a problem that Maruti Suzuki has been dealing with for a long time, and while they have massive dominance in segments where the vehicles are priced below twenty lakh, it’s previous attempts to move above that segment were abject failures. However, over the past decade, the brand has made major leaps in market acceptance when it comes to higher-priced vehicles and the creation of the premium ‘Nexa’ brand has also made certain in-roads into segments where the company was not successful before. However, with the Invicto, Maruti Suzuki is dealing in a segment it has never been before. And secondly, it is going to face formidable competition from the Toyota Innova Hycross, which is a segment in itself. So, how does Maruti’s latest offering fare in the market? Let’s find out.
Maruti Suzuki Invicto Review: Same Same But Different
Well, before any of you shout at me for the above comment about the Innova Hycross, yes, let me state the obvious and admit that essentially, other than new lights and changed bumpers and a different interior colour, the Invicto is just the Innova Hycross is slightly different clothing. Sure, you’ll notice the exclusive Nexa Blue colour that the Invicto is offered in, but other than that the car is the same. Which means, up front, we get a new front grille and I thought the shiny black honeycomb style pattern on the grille looked quite good, and the chrome bars running across it were a nice touch. In profile, all of the lines remain the same, so you get pretty slab sided doors, while there is a fender flare in the rear quarter panel, as well as an indent in the lower part of the doors, which gives the side view some character. The glasshouse is pretty big, which is great for visibility, and we do get a different design on the smaller 17-inch wheels the Invicto comes with. Unfortunately, the visual changes to the exterior are limited to only these aspects, and other than badging, the rear end is virtually the same as its cousin.
Enter the Invicto and you get a familiar feeling of vast space as you get in the Hycross. However, here, the major change is, as is characteristic in Nexa products, the interiors are finished in an all-black finish, and look quite good. Another Nexa touch is the colour detail on the dash and the air vents, where it gets a nice golden-copperish hue, which breaks up the monotony of the black interiors quite nicely. Space in the front and rear rows is ample, and on the top-spec variant we were testing, the second row consisted of captain’s seats. To make sure all occupants inside the Invicto are comfortable, you get three zone air-conditioning with separate controls for the second row. And, for the front occupants, they also get ventilated seats which will definintely help in our summers with the black interiors and the panoramic sunroof.
Space wise, the third is quite satisfactory and can be used for long journeys, but getting in and out of the 3rd row is still not the best, and could be a bit more comfortable. As far as standard equipment is concerned, the Invicto is offered in three trim levels and all of them are quite well equipped. Our range-topping Alpha+ variant came with an electric driver’s seat, six airbags, three-zone climate control, panoramic sunroof, 10-inch multimedia screen with wireless Apple CarPlay, a 7-inch MID instrument cluster, ABS, ESP and other active and passive safety systems along with a 360-degree camera system and the Suzuki Connect suite of connected features that help you locate your car and much more.
Needless to say, while it is very well equipped, the Invicto misses out on a few features such as the ADAS suite (no bad thing in my book) and the foldable leg rests in the second row. However, I don’t think any of these features would be a deal breaker for most customers.
Maruti Suzuki Invicto Review: Hybrid Tech
Another change between the Invicto and the Hycross is that the Invicto will only be offered with Toyota’s 2.0-litre TNGA Hybrid powerplant, paired to an e-CVT transmission. This means that the Invicto gets 184bhp, and while we know the torque produced by the full system is 206Nm, but while driving, you can easily feel that the combined output of the system is easily 30-40Nm more. While there is a pronounced rubber band effect of the CVT transmission, you do get paddle shifters for better manual control to help improve the drive. The steering of the Invicto is quite linear, and it has quite a solid feel when at speed. Visibility is also excellent, and suspension setup is largely quite good, but I thought that it was a bit on the stiffer side, and on really broken roads, it could’ve been slightly better. What do I think of its driving feel? Well, given the new powerplant’s torque, the better rigidity and balance of the monocoque chassis and a well-setup suspension, I think it is one of the few MPVs I wouldn’t mind driving myself. At the same time, compared to the its ‘predecessor’, the ride comfort is far superior and so is the NVH other than the engine noise when the engine is revved higher up in the rev range.
Comfort in the second and third row is also quite good, and passengers will really appreciate the extra room in all three rows and the comfortable seats. Sure, there is very little boot space when all three rows are used, but when two rows are being used, the boot is massive and good enough for a long holiday for a family or for an airport run with large bags.
Another stellar feature of the Invicto is its efficiency due to the Hybrid system, and if driven carefully, you can expect to see figures of around 15 – 17km/l in city traffic and around the 20 – 21km/l on the highways. Which is very impressive for such a large vehicle and promises very low running costs.
Maruti Suzuki Invicto Review: So, Would You?
I think the question that everyone asks is, would you buy a Maruti Suzuki product that costs near ₹30 lakh rupees on-road? And I would say yes, it makes perfect sense for an MPV customer for a few reasons. Firstly, sure it might be missing a few features like ADAS but it has everything else that customers demand and given that it costs a couple of lakhs less than the Hycross, would make perfect sense for many customers. Secondly, you know it’s a tried-and-tested and reliable product and will not have any concerns about the product’s antecedents. And lastly, for many customers, the sheer size and reach of the Maruti Suzuki sales and service network simply seals the deal for them, because their access to both is very easy. And lastly, let’s be honest, with its brand values, reputation, and the sheer abilities of this Maruti Suzuki product, I see it running on a waitlist right from the word go. All in all, a masterstroke by Maruti Suzuki in not just selling their most expensive product to date, but also in creating acceptance for higher-end products from the brand in the Indian market.
- Maruti Suzuki Invicto
Engine: : 1,987 CC / In-Line 4
Fuel: : Hybrid (petrol + electric)
Power: 184bhp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 206Nm @ 4,400-5,200rpm
Price: ₹24.69 - 28.42 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)
X-Factor: The Maruti Suzuki Invicto does everything its sibling does, and is cheaper too, a win-win we think!
• Interior space and comfort