2020 BS-6 Maruti Suzuki S-Cross 1.5L Petrol – Road Test Review

Maruti Suzuki India’s #1 carmaker launched their premium outlet Nexa in 2015. Their first offering through this premium dealership channel was the S-Cross. This was Maruti Suzuki’s Premium Crossover offering and the first of its kind from the Japanese giant for the Indian market. The model received a lukewarm response on launch, as the pricing was on the higher side. Knowing the market and the buyers sentiments well, Maruti Suzuki quickly reworked the pricing on the S-Cross lowering it, not only this, they also sent refund amount via cheques to existing customers giving them back the price difference. After this the S-Cross sales picked up decently well. It’s been a while the S-Cross has been around, and it had begun to look dated. Suzuki globally facelifted the S-Cross, and Maruti-Suzuki is all set to launch the latest model here in India in 2018. We have with us the latest 2020 version of the S-Cross that gets an all new BS-6 heart and lots more for our extensive road test review, Read on…

Food For Thought

The SX4 is supposed to be the father of the S-Cross. The S-Cross is the successor to the SX4 Crossover that was co-developed by Suzuki along with Fiat. Fiat sold the same as the Sedici in Europe. The SX4 sedan was replaced by the Ciaz sedan while the S-Cross replaced as the crossover version. The 1st generation of the S-Cross saw production in 2013 and landed in India in 2015. The S-Cross also is available as a 4-wheel drive version in some markets with the SX4 S-Cross badging.

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Exteriors

The front end on the SCross comes with the bold looking 10 vertical slats in thick chrome along with chrome hexagonal border running surrounding it. This grill design reminds us a lot of the ones that are on the Maserati’s. Adding to the face value of this front end is the strikingly different designed headlights. These projector headlights get a sharp design that extends back into the side fenders and also run down into the bumper. Extremely attractive-looking diamond style day time running lights take their place as eyebrows on the headlights in form of a thick band that lights up with a soothing white glow. The front bumpers come with nice blending black portions that run across the lower half of the bumper and on the air dam. The bumpers also get a prominent faux skid plate in silver grey finish along with round fog lamps that add essence to the SUV-like front fascia.

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The side profile also remains the same with a strong waistline running across the length of the car, the blacked out window frames and door mounted wing mirrors with LED turn lights. The wheel arches come with protector inserts in unpainted fiber material and the running board also continues to get the fiber protection with faux silver cladding on them. The 2020 S-Cross drives on 215/60 R16 sized tubeless tyres mounted on dual tone (black-silver) sleek looking alloys. The roof also comes with real metal roof rails giving that Crossover SUV look.

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The rear profile also remains unchanged with the neat looking C shaped LED tail lamps and the rear bumper with the integrated silver faux skid plate completing the rugged look at the rear. The boot lid comes with the Smart HYBRID badging on it. All in all the SCross still looks trendy and in time with current breed of cars that it rivals in the segment.

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Interiors

On the inside, the S-Cross continues with the premium, well crafted and spacious interiors. The black theme is carried forward and still looks appealing. The soft touch dashboard along with hexagonal center console and round dials on the instrument cluster looks nicely laid out. The instrument cluster comes with twin round dials with Smart Hybrid inscribed on the speedo meter dial and TFT screen placed between the dials that displays the multi function readings. The center dash comes with the 7 inch highly updated Smartplay touchscreen infotainment system that connects to Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, plays music and also has navigation in it and also doubles up as the reverse camera screen.

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The three spoke leather wrapped steering comes with manual height adjust and adjust for reach. Multi-function control buttons, cruise control buttons are on it. Seats come in all black leather upholstery with the drivers seats retaining the manual adjust for height on this fully loaded Alpha trim. Rear seats come with two manual adjust head rests and foldable arm rest. Air con unit is the same single zone unit that works very efficiently. There is no AC vent for the rear passengers sadly.

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On the package are features like rain sensing wipers and automatic headlights to name a few. The trademark abundant space and extremely comfortable seating., legroom, headroom and the under-thigh support is good too. The S-Cross comes with a boot space of 375 litres, with a good, easy loading area. The rear seats can be folded down in 60-40 split configuration to increase the boot area if needed.

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Engine – Transmission – Drive

Powering the 2020 S-Cross is the New 1.5L K15 BS-6 Petrol engine. Now this is the same engine that also powers the other Maruti Suzuki models which include the Ciaz, Ertiga, Vitara Brezza, XL-6. This engine is developed totally in-house and boasts of high refinement and low noise levels. The engine develops 105Ps of power at 6000 rpm and 138Nm of peak torque 44oorpm. This engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission and also 4-speed Automatic transmission options. The claimed fuel efficiency is 18.55kmpl for the S-Cross manual and 18.43kmpl for the S-Cross automatic which is excellent for a car this size and this engine capacity. Not only the engine is now larger but the Smart Hybrid system has also gotten better and more intelligent and advanced with this update.

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Previously you had the lead-acid battery that worked like the start-stop system every time the car was brought to a standstill. But now the updated Smart Hybrid system comes with two batteries which include a lead-acid along with a new lithium-ion. The regular lead-acid takes care of the start-stop function as before, while the new lithium-ion chips into the engine performance during acceleration by providing additional torque to the 138 Nm to the engine.

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The driver can see the battery power flow pattern on the instrument cluster. The hybrid system sends power to the front wheels while acceleration. When the gas pedal is deactivated ie you are in coasting mode or while braking, the energy is generated is used to charge the batteries. The power made by the battery isn’t huge but what it does is that it reduces the load on the engine and indirectly helps improve fuel efficiency to a certain extent.

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First things first, we drove the manual version for our test drive. First thing that is evident on this new engine on the 2020 S-Cross is it ultra high refinement levels that it has. It reminds you of the super smooth petrol i-Vtec engines from Honda in many ways. on the move the S-Cross feels peppy and powerful. There is abundant power available across all speeds. The engine has a evident sporty grunt to it that is audible and feels very sporty to listen to on the move. Gear shifting is excellent with positive shifts. The steering feels very well weighted, not heavy nor light just well balanced.

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The ride quality feels premium with good suspension tuning, we drove the car on bad roads and some real bad Mumbai potholes but the S-Cross just glided through them with a broad smile. Also the ground clearance of 180mm helps matters on driving on bad roads or big speed breakers to a large extent. As mentioned the Smart Hybrid system works flawlessly and so does the Auto Start Stop function. The in cabin comfort level is very good for the front and rear passengers both. The driver getting the best and most commanding view of the road ahead. The ride quality is excellent with premium drive feel.

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Safety

The 2020 S-Cross comes loaded with a long list of safety equipment which includes standard front dual airbags, ABS with EBD, ISOFIX child seat anchorages, pedestrian protection compliance, fully frontal, front offset and side impact compliance, auto head lamps, auto wipers, Hill hold (AT trim), auto dimming IRVM to name a few.

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Verdict

The S-Cross not only gets a new BS-6 compliant engine with this update but also gets a lot of features included on the list. The car has always been an excellent option in its class in terms of performance, safety and looks and now gets better. The S-Cross still holds its ground and infact gets a lot better with this BS-6 update in all its virtues that its known for. The S-Cross 1.5L Petrol is super fun to drive and delivers an excellent overall drive feel too. Starting at Rs. 8.39 Lakh for the Sigma MT trim this becomes a very good option if you are out there looking for a sturdy and proved Crossover SUV in this price range.

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Review – Ritesh Madhok
Photography & Video – Govind Gadekar

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