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SUZUKI S-CROSS: THE FEARED COMPETITOR

Superficial cladding integrated into an SUV type body but priced at a much lower margin seems to have hit the right chords with the Nepali market, giving rise to the rapidly increasing crossover market. This market first made its appearance when manufacturers (more specifically a German juggernaut currently in hot waters) began slapping on the word ‘Cross’ alongside their hatchbacks that were aesthetically optimized to give a larger appearance. Things have definitely changed and as the new segment began hitting high strides manufacturers began focusing less on the looks and more on tweaking performances to make sure customers get what they pay for. Now entering the segment is Suzuki with their first ever crossover named The Suzuki S-Cross, and that is reason enough for the existing competitors to break a sweat.suzukiscrossnepal1The biggest automobile distributor in Nepal is wading into one of the most prolific segments in the market and that should be enough cause for concern. The Indian and Nepali market have dropped the prefix and touted the internationally known SX4 S-Cross as the Suzuki S-Cross. Under the biggest automobile distributor in Nepal (CG Motocorp), the Suzuki brand name is widespread and well trusted. One of the most awaited products to enter the country and a well placed competitor already waiting, the S Cross is ready to pounce onto the roads of Nepal. And we test it out first hand.

EXTERIOR

The S-Cross is a well designed vehicle that doesn’t scream for attention. It is far from aggressive or excessively glamorous and sticks to more mature design elements. It is taller than other crossovers  and has a significant road presence.Up front the S Cross holds some resemblance to the SX4 sedan. It has a double slated grille with a healthy dose of chrome and a large S on the center. There are silver accents on the headlamps and chrome treatment on the fog lamps. It comes equipped with bi-xenon projector headlamps which is a first in the segment; the LED strip at the bottom works as a pilot light and not DRLs. Matte silver accents have been added to the front & rear skid plates and side skirts, as well as the silver roof rails, to give more design character to the S-Cross.suzukiscrossnepal4Although the S Cross comes equipped with 16 inch alloys, they could definitely have been designed better. The ORVMs which are electronically foldable have integrated LED indicators as well as a nifty feature that allows them to rotate forward if bumped the wrong way (say by an over aggressive biker).There aren’t major shoulder lines that run through the side, keeping that profile of the car subtle and classy. It also seems longer than other vehicles in the segment and has a pretty decent ground clearance of 180mm which is a good utility factor for the roads of Nepal.suzukiscrossnepal3Suzuki have not conformed to the norm of garnishing the rear with an abundance of chrome and have also refrained from slapping on the chrome strip that seems to be appearing on every other car recently. The rear has a well designed taillamps and black plastic claddings on the bottom. A really useful feature was the rear quarter glass next to the blackened C- pillars.suzukiscrossnepal7INTERIOR AND FEATURES

Inside, the S-Cross exudes class and sophistication. Suzuki has been adamantly improving on their build quality which was exemplified with their Ciaz. The torch has been passed over to their newest crossover and the S-Cross does pretty well to keep things up to par. The cabin is spacious and comfortable with ample legroom and shoulder room for all passengers. Suzuki has gone with an all black interior with silver accents which helps give it a premium appeal. The use of leather on the seats, steering wheel, door armrests and door-pads further helps the case. Dashboards are built with a soft rubbery material which has a soft texture to the touch.suzukiscrossnepalext2Steering wheels are decent and have been borrowed from other Suzuki models (Celerio) and clothed in leather and a number of buttons to control audio and telephony. It is adjustable for reach and rake so the driver can find a comfortable riding position. The central armrest is well positioned to rest your left arm but for those who don’t use it, it might get some getting used to. suzukiscrossnepalext1The center console houses a very useful 7” Smartplay touchscreen audio system which gets touch sensitive volume adjusters. The system offers Bluetooth connectivity, USB and Aux and doubles as a rearview camera display.  The instrument cluster illuminates with blue rings which works well with the dark interiors. It also displays an MID which not only lets you toggle thorough instant fuel and average fuel economy, as well as which door is open (if one is). There is an engine start/stop button, auto dimming IRVM, automatic rain sensing wipers and light sensors for automatic headlights. All trim levels are equipped with ABS, dual airbags and front & rear disc brakes.

PERFORMANCE

Although the premium crossover might not get the highest marks in terms of over the top designs, it scores top marks for drivability and performance. We were handed the keys to the 1.3 liter diesel and it took us some time to convince ourselves it wasn’t a 1.6. Bring the engine into life and the diesel engine eggs you to let your eager right foot have a go at the pedal and the car responds with the same torquey enthusiasm.suzukiscrossnepal10Mated to a 5 speed gear box the torque figures of 89BHP @4000rpm and 200Nm of torque @1750 rpm are similar to that of the Ciaz. Throttle response was good and it held its own during overtaking maneuvers. The diesel engine pulls well through all the rev ranges. We hear the 1.6L is even better but this time we had to suffice with its smaller variant. suzukiscrossnepal2As explosive as it is, the S-Cross performs well on open roads as well. It is a calm cruiser and feels grounded and stable due to its amazing driving dynamics. It is keen to change directions on demand and corners with confidence. Thanks to a firm suspension it performs well at high speeds and does well to counter bumpy roads.suzukiscrossnepal8Well defined gear shifts allows for precise gear shifts which helps maintain its premium feel. The clutch is well weighted and won’t pose many problems in stop and go traffic. Overall the S Cross is a beautiful car to drive with little place to complain.suzukiscrossnepal11VERDICT

For an image conscious nation, the concoction of SUV designs at a less than SUV price hits the nail on the head. Crossovers, although not to the liking of hardcore SUV enthusiasts, have become very popular in the market. However, Suzuki seemed to be lagging behind in the segment because they were busy with the launch of other products. But when Hyundai, Suzuki’s strongest competitor, launched their compact crossovers (i20 Active and later on the Creta) it was game ON! It didn’t take long for Suzuki to bring in the S-Cross in the Nepali market.suzukiscrossnepal9What we have as a result of this is Suzuki’s first crossover. And when Suzuki come, they come with guns blazing. However, they’re not relying on their strong suit of economy and a cheap price tag. It is easy on the eyes (although sans of over the top glamour), a great car to drive and all that backed with a trusted brand name. Although it falls on the pricier side of the spectrum it makes up for it with a plethora of creature comforts, good quality and driving satisfaction. We can’t wait for higher capacity variant to enter the market.suzukiscrossnepal5For specifications, variants and pricing, click here

 

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