SUVs are all the rage these days – and people want them so much that car manufacturers are forced to offer them in various sizes. To the Indian customer, anything that is tall with good visibility is an SUV. When Maruti launched the S-presso micro SUV in 2019, its high-set bonnet, terrific ground clearance and heightened seating position was aimed at the type of buyer who wanted an SUV but couldn’t afford buying one. We don’t see it as an SUV in any way though. However, let’s not dwell on that now. The S-presso has been Maruti’s entry-level budget small car targeted at Renault’s Kwid. The S-presso is built on Maruti’s Heartect platform and comes powered by a BS6-compliant 1.0-litre K10 petrol engine, mated either to a manual or AMT gearbox.
Is it a box?
Yes, it is – and one really has to acquire a taste for something that looks like this. The upright bonnet and towering pillars give it the ‘SUV look’ customers are looking for, but we can’t help but say it looks a bit too disproportionate. Also, it isn’t wide enough to match its height. Up-front, it gets some cladding on the lower half of the bumper, a toothy grille and simple but tidy looking headlights – and if you pay that bit more, you get a bit of chrome on the grille along with LED DRLs in the bumper. Additional options include plastic wheel arches, side cladding and machined alloy wheels. The standard model gets 14-inch wheels that look too small. The side profile includes gently flared wheel arches, but apart from that, it’s quite slab-sided. The rear has nothing to look at either, apart from the cladding on the rear bumper.
Sitting in a box?
The cabin isn’t great either and the centre-stacked instrument cluster is a bit unnecessary, with the speedometer placed in the middle. However, the large font makes it easy to read, while the odometer is the exact opposite. Sitting in the central console is Maruti’s SmartPlay Studio unit that gets a 7.0-inch touchscreen, which is responsive and user-friendly; also, it gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Below the screen, you see buttons and knobs for the AC. The dashboard, however, has a lively look to it, with those body-coloured accents. Quality inside is reasonably good and fit and finish aren’t so bad either. The steering feels good to grip. You’d be happy to note that the cabin is nice and airy, thanks to the high roof and vast glass area. The seats at the front are quite comfortable. At the back, tall passengers will fit in with ease and there’s ample space for your feet too. The seat base is supportive, but because of its narrow cabin, three occupants will be a squeeze. Storage spaces aren’t aplenty, while the boot is large enough to swallow in some luggage for the airport run.
The Maruti Suzuki Cars gets features like a seat belt reminder, speed warning system, rear parking sensors, a driver side airbag, ABS, 14-inch rims, steering-mounted audio controls, a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, body-coloured bumpers, an audio system with Bluetooth connectivity and central locking.
Peppy or not?
The Maruti Suzuki S-Presso is powered by a 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine, developing 67bhp and 90Nm of torque, making it sufficient for this type of car. The motor is smooth and silent, even at idle – and as you get going, you don’t hear much from the motor. Rev it hard though, and the engine gets noisy. Performance is decent, while power delivery is smooth and the S-Presso picks up pace quickly, making driving in the city a breeze. The 5-speed manual ‘box is easy to use and the clutch is nicely weighted. Even the AMT ‘box proved to be quite slick, making pauses between shifts less evident. The car will overtake well if you want it to – and you want to have some fun, you can shift to the manual mode. The S-Presso is an easy car to drive, thanks to the tight turning circle and the light steering wheel. The suspension soak in bumps quite impressively and 180mm of ground clearance means huge speed breakers are never a concern. In a straight line, the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso feels stable but won’t be happy to change directions suddenly. Maruti Suzuki Cars, we want a car like the Swift at this price, please. Also, read the latest car comparisons, only at autoX.