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Maruti Suzuki S-Presso First-Drive Review: Is It A Mini SUV?

Video Editor: Kunal Mehra

The Maruti Suzuki S-Presso is what the company calls a “mini SUV”. Its name is pronounced like the coffee and it’s targeted at millennial buyers looking for an entry-level SUV. But is it anything more than just a small car that has been raised?

It competes with the Renault Kwid and is based on an adaptation of Suzuki’s Heartect K platform that’s used for its small cars in Japan. It comes in automatic and manual transmission variants with prices ranging between Rs 3.69 lakh and Rs 4.91 lakh ex-showroom.

The Quint was invited to Jodhpur in early October to drive this small car from Maruti. Here is our first impression on the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso.

Also Read: Maruti Suzuki S-Presso ‘Mini SUV’ Launched To Rival Renault Kwid

What We Like

  • High ground clearance tackles bad roads easily
  • Peppy 1-litre K-Series engine feels good
  • Auto-gear shift (AMT) is one of the smoothest units around

What We Don’t Like

  • Styling feels disproportionate, will draw mixed reactions
  • Lack of features like a tachometer and day-night mirror
  • Feels unsure at high speeds, better suited to city use only

Maruti Suzuki S-Presso Design

First a quick note about the design. It has that boxy SUV-inspired styling with a Brezza-like front grille and tall bonnet. At the rear too, the vehicle looks raised, with a separate bumper element adding to the height. It has a healthy 180 mm of ground clearance. But frankly, the looks will take a little getting used to.

It doesn’t come standard with alloy wheels or daytime running lamps. All these can be bought as accessories for the S-Presso.

Driving The Maruti Suzuki S-Presso

I got a chance to drive the manual as well as the automated manual transmission variants of the S-Presso. First up, I took the manual transmission variant from Jodhpur to Khimsar in Rajasthan.

The S-Presso is powered by a familiar engne - the 1-litre K-Series, three-cylinder petrol motor that puts out 68 PS of power and 90 Nm of torque. Now that may not be too much on paper, but then you must remember this is a very light car. It weighs just 760 Kg dry.

The K-Series 1-litre engine is also there in the Alto K10 and that car is a pocket rocket. How is it in the S-Presso? Well, it’s no different. The initial pick up is good. Pretty good for the city, but once you get past 100 Kmph it tends to bounce around a bit because it is light. The tall stance doesn’t help much either.

The S-Presso, therefore, is ideal for the city. Maruti may call it a mini SUV, but it’s actually a hatch on steroids.

Now I also got to drive the automated manual transmission variant on the trip back from Khimsar to Jodhpur. I am generally not a fan of AMTs because you get that head-nod and they are not that quick to shift. But this S-Presso’s AMT is quite surprising. In fact, I would prefer the AMT over the manual because it is just so convenient.

You can drive in D mode and when you step on the accelerator it downshifts and picks up easily. Or I could just get into manual mode, where there’s hardly any delay in shifts. It’s rival the Renault Kwid does not have a manual mode on its AMT variant.

So how does the S-Presso compare to its main rival the Renault Kwid? Well, this is a little taller than the Kwid so you do get that feeling of a commanding driving position. But at the end of the day it is a small car, make no mistake about that.

Maruti S-Presso Features

The instrumentation on the S-Presso is fairly basic. You get this funky instrument console with the infotainment system and instrument panel and a large digital speedometer. But what it lacks is a tachometer. That’s something I’m used to. You do get a gear change indicator which tells you when its time to shift up. Other than that fairly basic.

The steering-mounted audio controls for the infotainment system work nicely and offer good feel. It has Android Auto and Apple Car Play and this is a full touch infotainment system.

With the driver’s seat adjusted for a 5’8” driver like me, there is more than enough space in the back seat. Yes, it is a tall-boy design. I have enough headroom, but for taller passengers there might be a problem. Legroom is more than adequate and I can stretch out. However, it’s not that wide. So it can only seat two people comfortably, but for a third person it is going to be a bit of a squeeze.

The Maruti S-Presso has a 240-litre boot, with enough space for your weekend luggage. It’s quite deep so you have enough space to put in a couple of bags.

Maruti S-Presso: What We Think

So that’s the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso for you. It’s a vehicle that Maruti calls a mini SUV. Which variant do I like? The automatic gear shift or manual transmission?

Personally, I prefer the automatic for city driving conditions. However, there are a few things that Maruti could have added to this to make it a little more appealing especially for a car that costs over Rs 5 lakh on road. Things like a tachometer, a day-night mirror and perhaps a rear wiper. These little additions would go a long way.

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