The crossover craze in India rages on. The year 2015 marks Maruti’s entry into the SUV crossover segment of the Indian market. Set to battle it out with established marques such as Ford, Nissan, Renault and now Hyundai, Maruti’s S-Cross has quite a lot riding on its initial response. Already available for prospective customers to view at malls across India, the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross will make its big debut in dealerships in the coming weeks. We pit the upcoming Maruti crossover against the popular Ford EcoSport and see how well the pseudo SUV fares.
Maruti Suzuki S-Cross:
The Maruti Suzuki S-Cross’ exterior is derived from the now discontinued SX4 sedan. The crossover shares numerous elements from the sedan such as the muscular profile and aggressively styled headlights. The upcoming crossover will also feature LED DRLs which are fast becoming the norm. Typical of most crossovers, the S-Cross sports black plastic cladding, raised ground clearance, silver skid plates and discernible muscle lines flowing around it. Although the S-Cross is quite aggressive when compared to its sedan derivative, the car fails to earn the same degree of attention as some of its other rivals.
The Ford EcoSport was among the first to don the American automaker’s new Kinetic design philosophy. One of the key design elements in the car manufacturer’s design language is the large hexagonal chrome lined front grille; A character trait that makes the EcoSport was one of the most easily recognizable cars on the streets. However, the Ford EcoSport is a sub 4m compact crossover. As such, despite the pseudo off-roader’s raised ground clearance, lower body cladding and SUV silhouette, it fails to flaunt the genre of road presence commonly associated with SUVs here in India. Unlike the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross, Ford has opted for an amalgam of sleek body elements with SUV overtones to create a more balanced package.
Maruti Suzuki S-Cross:
The interiors of the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross is surprisingly upmarket. The Indian car maker has opted for an all black cabin aiding in the S-Cross’ sporty appeal. Silver accents around the A/C vents, center console and steering wheel add a bit of contrast and up the upmarket appeal of the car’s cabin. The crossover’s top end variants also come equipped with an advanced 7 inch touchsreen display. Dubbed SmartPlay, the new system packs conventional connectivity options such as Bluetooth, USB, AUX and also comes with GPS navigation and voice command.
The Ford EcoSport’s interior may have been cutting edge back in 2013. However, while the American car maker has stuck with its old school monochrome display and button interface, other manufacturers have moved on to more contemporary forms of infotainment systems such as touchscreen displays and Android/iOS app interfaces. As such, the Ford EcoSport, with its dizzying array of buttons and knobs on the center console feels a bit dated.
Winner: Maruti Suzuki S-Cross
Maruti Suzuki S-Cross:
Powering the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross crossover for the Indian market is a pair of diesel engines. Maruti offers a Fiat sourced 1.3 l DDiS engine for all variants of the S-Cross while only three out of the four trims on offer also comes with a more powerful 1.6 l oil burner. The 1.3 l diesel mill churns out 89 hp @ 4000 RPM and a peak torque of 200 Nm @ 1750 RPM. The four cylinder 1.6 l diesel unit is good for 118 hp @ 3750 RPM and 320 Nm @ 1750 RPM. While the 1.3 l unit is mated to a 5 speed manual, Maruti offers the 1.6 l variants with a six speed stick shift. Currently, Maruti Suzuki has not made any announcements of an automatic variant.
Ford’s engineering prowess is revered in the automotive community. The manufacturer’s new EcoBoost series of engines have garnered critical acclaim for its practicality and immense potential. For the Indian market, Ford offers a range of diesel and petrol engines including a 1.0 l EcoBoost. Base variants of the petrol EcoSport sport a 1.5 l i-VCT unit that churns out 109 hp @ 6300 RPM and a peak torque of 140 Nm @ 4400 RPM. Power is sent to the front wheels via a 5 speed manual transmission or a 6 speed automatic gearbox.
Diesel variants of the Ford EcoSport are powered by a sole 1.5 l TDCi unit that churns out 89 hp @ 3750 RPM and a peak torque of 204 Nm @ 2000 RPM. While the Maruti S-Cross offers more power engine options, the Ford EcoSport caters to a wider audience.
Winner: Ford EcoSport
The Ford EcoSport’s reign in the crossover segment has come to an end. With the debut of mass volume pushes such as Hyundai and Maruti, the crossover segment just became a whole lot more competitive. Although Ford’s Ecosport remains a good buy, the American car manufacturer’s initial inertia to deliver the first batch of cars permanently damaged the impact of the crossover here in India.
With the S-Cross, Maruti Suzuki has managed to create yet another winner. The premium leather seats, touchscreen navigation and entertainment system and SUV DNA is certain to make the new S-Cross a winner.