It’s not a secret, but let me say it nonetheless – Maruti Suzuki accounts for almost half of India’s new car sales. If nothing else, this fact tells us one thing for sure – that Maruti Suzuki knows the Indian passenger car market better than any other carmaker. As a small-automobile manufacturer, it has always prioritised petrol cars. But when it came to some of its bigger cars, Maruti Suzuki made a conscious decision to offer them as diesel-only models years ago. Case in point is the S-Cross, which was branded as a premium crossover. This, in fact, does make sense, as customers of bigger and heavier cars prefer diesel models, owing to their lower fuel consumption.
However, and here things get interesting, in the BS6 era, India’s leading carmaker has completely removed diesel engines from its entire model line-up. Will it work? Well, only time will tell.
So, the S-Cross is now on sale with its 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine, which offers linear performance. The automatic transmission, meanwhile, offers smooth shifts for a comfortable drive. For some reason though, the S-Cross automatic has higher levels of NVH than the Brezza automatic, which has the exact same powertrain. Regardless, like in the Brezza, the engine in the S-Cross is progressive and feels the most willing in the top-end of the rev band. The trouble with its high-speed performance is that its four-speed auto ‘box, with tall ratios, doesn’t allow for aggressive acceleration. And that’s why it was four seconds slower in comparison to the Brezza manual.
That aside, the S-Cross offers great ride comfort like before. The suspension setup is optimal for handling and comfort. Its wide dimensions and low centre of gravity make its handling better than other compact SUVs in the same price bracket. As a petrol model, it offers enhanced driving comfort, and the presence of the automatic variant complements this premium and refined nature. Also, Suzuki’s mild hybrid system is available as standard.
Overall, the S-Cross retains its strengths of being a spacious and comfortable car for five occupants, with very supportive seats and easy ingress and egress. But we would choose the manual over the automatic because the four-speed auto does seem a little antiquated in this day-and-age.