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The 1.3-litre engine gives average performance to the S-Cross

Performance – The Maruti S-Cross was launched with two diesel engines earlier, both sourced from Fiat, one being the 1.3-litre unit which needs no introduction while the other was the 1.6-litre unit that belted out 120 BHP and 320 Nm, it was quite a fun motor but being imported, was costly. Maruti has now ditched the big 1.6-litre oil burner and the S-Cross is now only available with a 1.3-litre engine.

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With the addition of mild hybrid, Maruti has made the S-Cross more efficient

While low-end punch is lacking, the mid-range & top-end is where the action lies

Better known as DDiS 200, this motor, as you guessed it, produces 200 Nm of torque and 89 BHP of power. Changes have been made to this engine, it now gets SHVS aka Suzuki’s smart hybrid tech along with engine stop-start, brake energy regeneration and an integrated starter generator motor which has a mild torque assist function, thereby improving acceleration slightly. The most obvious benefit is a boost in fuel economy from the previously claimed 23.65 km/l to 25.1 km/l.

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The Multijet diesel has low-end lag but redlines at 5300 RPM

The 1.3-litre engine is more than up to the job to get the Maruti S-Cross moving as in city conditions, one won’t miss the bigger engine. However, out on the highway, the performance of the smaller diesel mill isn’t in the same league as it is slower to reach to the ton and thereafter as well. One needs to work the gearbox to extract the best from the engine, more so because there is low-end lag and the powetrain only wakes up past 2000 RPM, redlining all the way at 5300 RPM. NVH too isn’t the best and the engine has started to show its age with the drivetrain being quite vocal at high engine speeds. The 5-speed gearbox offers short throws but the shifts aren’t smooth and at times you have to try twice to get to a gear, the clutch is also on the heavier side.

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Ride quality of the S-Cross is very good, it’s stable at speed

Driving Dynamics – The Maruti S-Cross isn’t a tall vehicle which makes it drive more like a hatchback than an SUV, yet there is some amount of body roll due to the heavy weight of the car. The vehicle does handle well and can be fun but there is little feedback that the steering offers although still better than the Ciaz. What is fantastic though is the ride quality as the car absorbs most bumps in its stride with ease, only throwing that occasional thud when you suddenly encounter a bad patch at higher speeds. The S-Cross could do with better stopping power and although the tyres have good grip, the feedback from the brake pedal is a bit lacking.