S Cross Facelift

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February 21

Well, the S Cross has been the top of the Maruti range for some time. With 53000cars sold in two years, Maruti has decided to bring in the facelift which was released internationally, early this year. It is a proper facelift with a totally revised front end and looks all the better for it. The sad news is the demise of the 1.6 litre variant which was costing them a lot of money in import costs yet made up only 4000 numbers.

The front grill may polarise opinions, but it does look better in real life than the pictures suggested to me initially. Also the new bumper is much better in shape and has a flatter chin which gives it more appeal. The bonnet is also much nicer with two ridges giving it a more modern look. The blacked out headlamps go well with the black plastic trim all around and this in the new Nexa blue colour makes it look brilliant. Only the top end Alpha gets the new LED headlamps and new refreshed tail lamps. The lower spec models get projector headlamps, but with a silver finish and tail lamps from the earlier car.

Inside, the changes are limited to a new leather-like texture on the dashboard in place of the mesh rubber-like trim. You also get new dials with SHVS branding and a new switch for the automatic start/stop system. Overall cabin quality is good, and the ergonomics are perfect. The front seats could do with a more supple leather and better support. The cabin NVH has improved slightly.

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The 1.3litre engine makes 90bhp and 200Nm like earlier, but gets the mild hybrid system which Suzuki calls, the SHVS. While power output hasn’t changed, it was around a second and half slower from 0-100kmph than the earlier 1.3. This is probably down to the new tuning which is setup for efficiency. The 1.3L Multijet is now showing its age but in the S Cross, the engineers have succeeded in concealing most of the noise and vibration. Drivability is good, but you have to work the gearbox for making suitable progress on the highways. Good thing, the gearbox is nice to use and the clutch is rather light.

The biggest change in the new S Cross is the switch from JK Elanzos to much better UX Royales. It is also wider and slightly taller going from 205/60R16 to 215/60 R16. While the Elanzos were noisy for road use and offered so less grip, the UX Royales are much softer and the extra width offers you more confidence. The brakes are great and bring the car to a halt from triple digit speeds with no drama at all.

It misses out on the explosive 1.6 litre diesel engine and to most, that was the main reason to buy an S Cross. But the bolder styling is sure to draw more people and one can expect sales figures to climb even further. It is an all rounder with good space, practicality, ground clearance, decent road manners, equipment levels etc and with this facelift, Maruti has just broadened its appeal.

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