Maruti S-Presso Review
Car Tested: Maruti S-Presso; Road Test No. 1137; Test Location: Jodhpur
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 4.35 - 5.75 lakhs
The Maruti S-Presso looks funky, no doubt, but it's a hoot under the hood too
SUVs. What comes in your mind when someone utters ‘SUVs.’ Masculine, butch, rugged, sizeable off-roaders, vehicles one would take places, chunky tyres and the list goes on. Maruti Suzuki has gone out on a limb here and called their most recent offering, a ‘Mini-SUV’. Yes, it’s mini alright, but an SUV? Well, not so much. What it actually is, is a quirky small car, directed at young, first-time car buyers who probably have their heart set on an SUV but are on an extremely tight budget. The Maruti S-Presso comes with an attractive price tag, a BS6-compliant engine, 6 colours, 4 variants, 1 engine and two gearbox options. It does well on paper, let’s walk you through on how it fares on the road.
Motor Quest: The Maruti S-Presso is based on the Heartect platform which underpins models like Swift, Dzire and Wagon R. The platform brings structural rigidity benefits that might help it meet the new crash test norms apart from making the car light.
Exteriors - The Maruti S-Presso retains the upright stance not far away from the Future S concept displayed at Auto Expo 2018. The one we got our hands on was the top of the line VXi+ variant mated to an AGS (Auto Gear Shift). It had chrome elements in the grille and LED DRLs positioned below the headlights. Sadly, neither are a part of the standard package or even offered in the higher variants. Instead, they are included in an extensive accessories list offered by the company priced at Rs. 1490/- and Rs. 9990/- respectively. I agree that the S-Presso is made to fit a budget, but the chrome could be offered at least in the higher variants. Keeping the chrome aside, the grille mimics its bigger sibling, the Vitara Brezza. The car has a black front and rear bumper to go with the body cladding along with the sides. Truth be told, the base Standard variant, reminds me of the Alto!
Interiors - The S-Presso’s cabin is one of my favourite things about the car, the price and it’s BS6-compliance being the other two. The Mini Cooper inspired instrument cluster surrounds Maruti’s 7-inch SmartPlay infotainment system. It’s an interesting take and definitely amps up the dashboard. It also gets Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and navigation in a very easy to use interface. The instrument cluster is placed centrally, instead of being traditionally positioned behind the steering wheel. It gets a large digital speedometer but no tachometer.
The front seats are comfortable and offer good lumbar support. There is enough legroom and knee room keeping in mind its compact size. Though the under-thigh support is average, the headroom is abundant, thanks to its tall-boy stance. There's even some side bolstering to keep the passengers in place. Having said that, the seats are a little on the stiffer side and get non-adjustable headrests.
The seats are comfortable and the cabin offers great legroom but the under-thigh support could've been better
The second row feels roomy due to good headroom but the shoulder room will isn't ideal for three people sitting abreast. The under-thigh support could have been better but hey, the buyer’s on a budget right.
The boot space is quite capacious at 270-litres and there are numerous storage areas in the cabin. At the front, there is a sizeable glovebox, cubby holes on the front and rear doors and one at the end of the gearbox for the rear passengers. But even after all that buzz, there are no power windows for the rear passengers even in the top variant.
Performance - Under the hood is an Alto K10 derived K-Series 1.0-litre petrol engine producing 68 PS of power and 90 Nm of torque. Offered with this engine is a 5-speed manual gearbox and an auto gear shift. The engine is BS6-complaint helping it score a point over its arch-rival, the Renault Kwid.
A BS6-compliant engine gives the S-Presso a headstart against its rivals
The drivability is surprisingly good as I was initially scared to floor the S-Presso. The car just weighs 1170 kgs (Maximum GVW) and has a potent powertrain under it. To my delight, the engine is peppy and the new BS6 compliance does a lot to help it. It sprints right off the bat, has a good low-end but its the high-end of the rev band where it actually shines. Noise, vibration and harshness are well controlled and it's only when you grind the accelerator, that the engine noise seeps in the cabin.
We drove the automatic variant and the gear ratios felt just adequate for city and highway driving. The shifts were smooth but impossible to miss. One has to think ahead before overtaking as the car takes its sweet time to respond. Having said that, one just cannot ignore the comfort and ease of two-pedal driving. This engine-gearbox combination is peppy and fun to drive. Though Maruti claims a fuel efficiency figure of 21.4 km/l in its lower and 21.7 km/l in its higher variants, the best we got was 16-17 km/l city and highway combined.
Driving Dynamics - The ride quality is brilliant. My initial reluctance to accelerate was challenged when we had a flight to catch and were pressed for time. The S-Presso surprises on every bump and pothole. You’d squint your eyes hoping for a thud and some rattle but it glides over. I could feel the car smirking. The steering is light at low speeds hence manoeuvring around the city is very easy, the light clutch only adding to the comfort. As the speedometer goes up, the steering weighs up but not enough and still feels light. Body roll is present but is well controlled. Maruti has equipped the S-Presso with front disc brakes and rear drums. The brakes offer good bite and are predictable under sudden and heavy braking.
Safety and After Sales Service - The Maruti S-Presso gets ABS, EBD and a driver airbag as standard. As one goes up the price list, the company offers a passenger airbag as well. The car is backed up by Maruti’s reliable after-sales service and that’s another +1.
Verdict - Maruti has been quoted saying that with S-Presso they are birthing an entirely new segment; mini-SUVs. In my opinion, it’s a fun, quirky, extremely fun to drive small car with SUV-inspired looks. A high ground clearance of 180 mm helps its cause, but the square-arched wheel arches could use some body-cladding. The price is worthy of an applaud and will attract first-time buyers. Slap on some accessories and you’re good to go.
* Fuel efficient and peppy engine
* Funky interior styling
* Ride quality
What's Not So Cool
* Boxy looks
* No power windows at the rear
Maruti S-Presso Specifications
* Engine: 998cc, 3-Cyl, Petrol
* Power: 68 PS @ 5500 RPM
* Torque: 90 Nm @ 3500 RPM
* Transmission: 5-Speed MT, 5-Speed AMT
* Fuel Consumption: 15-17 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Tyre Size: 165/70/14 (Front & Rear)
* Suspension: McPherson Strut (Front), Torsion Beam (Rear)
* Brakes: Disc (Front), Drum (Rear)
* Safety: 2 Airbags, ABS with EBD
Maruti S-Presso Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 3565 mm X 1520 mm X 1549 mm
* Wheelbase: 2380 mm
* Ground Clearance: 180 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 27-litres
* Boot Space: 270-litres
* Kerb Weight: 726 - 767 kgs
Further Reading -
Maruti S-Presso Review
The Maruti S-Presso is based on the Heartect platform and shares its mechanicals with some of its siblings. It has a unique design and its compact footprint helps in crowded cities. It is offered with an AMT which lends a lot of convenience to the package. The Maruti S-Presso also offers good ride quality. The downside here is that it misses out on some vital features like fog lamps, rear power windows, etc.