Motoring

Meet the hot new Maruti Suzuki S-Presso

User-friendly The S-Presso builds speed with ease and you won’t have any trouble in typical urban environments Gaurav Thombre

User-friendly The S-Presso builds speed with ease and you won’t have any trouble in typical urban environments Gaurav Thombre  

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It’s got a relatively roomy cabin, it’s reasonably well-equipped, it’s easy to drive, and performance is good too

The concept of a rugged-looking hatchback isn’t new. There’s a full sub-segment of cross hatchbacks in the market but if there’s one model that got the formula right, it’s the Renault Kwid. And it is the ‘SUV-inspired’ Kwid that Maruti Suzuki wants to take on with its all-new S-Presso.

The S-Presso’s appearance is an acquired taste. The upright pillars and relatively high-set bonnet give it a somewhat SUV-like silhouette, but the overall proportions are off — the S-Presso appears too narrow for its height. The chunky cladding on the front bumper does give the car a bit of visual mass up front, but the sides are pretty featureless and there’s nothing remarkable about the tail either. The standard 14-inch wheels not only look boring, but are also a size too small, amidst the large squared-out arches.

Maruti S-Presso VXi+ specifications
  • Engine: 998cc, 3 cyls, petrol
  • Max Power: 68hp at 5500rpm
  • Max Torque: 90Nm at 3500rpm
  • Gearbox: 5-speed manual/5-speed AMT
  • Brakes (F/R): Discs/Drum
  • Length: 3565mm
  • Width: 1520mm
  • Height: 1564mm
  • Wheelbase: 2380mm
  • Ground Clearance: 180mm
  • Tyre size: 165/70 R14

It’s inside the cabin that you see the S-Presso in a more positive light. Sure, the centrally-stacked position of the speedometer takes getting used to, but the neat dashboard with its Mini-like circular centre console looks quite attractive. The centre console also houses the infotainment system — Maruti’s latest 7.0-inch touchscreen SmartPlay Studio unit in this fully-loaded VXi+ trim. The screen is responsive, the menus are well-laid-out and the system also gets you Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Cabin quality is also impressive by class standards — material quality is good, fit and finish is consistent and the body-coloured embellishments on the dash also do much to uplift the look. The steering is also good to hold and looks like it belongs to a pricier car.

The high roof and large glass area make the interior feel airy. The high-set front seats are comfy and offer a good view out, though taller drivers will find themselves sitting a touch too high, as there’s no seat height adjust. The small rear headrests are a point of contention, too, but otherwise the rear seat experience is surprisingly good. There is ample head-and-knee-room even for six-foot-tall occupants, and there’s also enough space to tuck your feet under the front seats. The flat seat is more supportive than it looks, but it works best for two occupants; the cabin isn’t wide enough to seat three abreast in comfort.

Meet the hot new Maruti Suzuki S-Presso
 

There is plenty of room for luggage, with the S-Presso’s boot seeming larger than its 240-litre capacity would suggest. The high lip and low boot floor though make loading heavy luggage a bit of a task.

Watch: Maruti Suzuki S-Presso test drive and review
 

The S-Presso is available in four trims, with the AMT auto only offered in the top two. Standard safety kit includes ABS, a driver side airbag, speed warning system, seat belt reminder and rear parking sensors. A passenger side airbag is available as a ₹5,000 option on the lower trims, but is part of the package on top-spec VXI+ versions.

The base STD version is basic, with only the LXI trim onwards getting basics like power steering and air-conditioning, and only the VXi+ trims getting goodies such as the 7.0-inch touchscreen, class-first steering-mounted audio controls and internally adjustable wing mirrors.

Meet the hot new Maruti Suzuki S-Presso
 

The S-Presso débuts a BS-VI-compliant version of Suzuki’s proven three-cylinder, 1.0-litre K10 petrol engine. Sure, its 68hp and 90Nm figures are only par for the course for this segment, but the engine is easily the best among rivals. It runs really quiet — it was refined to begin with, and the hardware upgrades for BS-VI compliance have only enhanced this.

Performance is also good. Power delivery is smooth and the rev range is free from flat spots. The engine is also impressively tractable, pulling cleanly from low revs even in a higher gear — something that makes the car quite user-friendly. The S-Presso builds speed with ease and you won’t have any trouble in typical urban environments.

The standard-fit 5-speed manual gearbox is really nice to use, and the clutch is well-weighted and easy to modulate. What came as a pleasant surprise was the smoothness of the 5-speed AMT. Gearshifts are timely and smooth, and the AMT-typical pause between shifts is also much shorter.

Meet the hot new Maruti Suzuki S-Presso
 

The S-Presso is an easy car to drive. The tight turning circle is a boon and the steering is also friendly. The steering is light, easy to twirl, and offers a decent feeling of connect with the wheels. In town, you’ll also appreciate the S-Presso’s impressive low-speed bump absorption.

At highway speeds, the suspension can’t smoothen out surface imperfections, so there’s always a bit of up-down movement. And while straight-line stability is fine, the tall S-Presso doesn’t feel comfortable in sudden changes of direction.

To sum it up, the S-Presso is not a looker and you won’t be alone if you pass over it solely on the basis of its appearance. However, it’s got a relatively roomy cabin, it’s reasonably well-equipped, it’s easy to drive, and performance is good too. There’s also the promise of excellent fuel economy, with the manual and AMT auto rated with an ARAI figure of 21.7kpl.

Prices for the S-Presso range from ₹3.69-4.91 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), putting it in the same price bracket as the Renault Kwid.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 1:05:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/motoring/meet-the-hot-new-s-presso/article29654900.ece

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