So, we aren’t 100 per cent sure about it, but the goal of the S-Presso seems to be to replace the Alto as one’s first car. Naturally then, it must deliver on bits that made the Alto so popular. First, it needs to be easy to drive. And it is. The steering is light, the clutch too doesn’t require too much muscle power, and its small dimensions and a tight turning circle make it easy to manoeuvre.
It should also be easy to see out of making it easy to drive in congested spaces. But that’s lacking in the S-Presso. Given the high dashboard and the relatively narrow front windshield, the view upfront is limited. It seems like one is looking through a pair of thick rimmed square glasses. It’s the same story when you try and look through the rear windscreen.; there’s very little visibility when you want to park.
Then, the C-Pillar is so thick, it could hide a double decker bus behind it particularly when you try and look behind before joining a main road. And we are talking about majority of the drivers buying the S-Presso being new to the driving game. Naturally, they will find this mini SUV a bit cumbersome as a result.
As far as driving goes, the S-Presso is powered by a one-litre three-cylinder engine. This tried and tested engine continues to make 67bhp of max power and 90 of peak torque. It is still naturally aspirated but now it is BS6 compliant. It comes mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and the option of an AMT.
Performance-wise, the engine feels adequate for the car. The S-Presso feels peppy enough, it can get to 100kmph without a struggle, and one doesn’t have to rev the daylight out of the engine to make swift progress. Even on the highway, with just two people on board, overtaking isn’t a bother. It’s not instant, but it isn’t slow or sluggish either. But yes, if you do decide to rev the engine, it does sound tinny and unrefined. And, it’s a bit loud too.
We do like the ride quality on the S-Presso. It rounds the bumps well; even if these are of the squarish variety. The suspension has enough travel to take on deep potholes. And the damping is well judged too. So much so that we took it on a bumpy dirt trail with four people on board and it still remained flat and absorbent. If anything, the amount of jiggle over a long section of broken or poorly laid road could have been better suppressed.
The body movement on the S-Presso is acceptable too. The car’s tall stance and the relatively soft suspension means the occupants can feel the Maruti move around over undulating roads, and even around corners. But, it isn’t pronounced enough to make the passengers uncomfortable. What can make them uncomfortable, correction irritable, is poor sound insulation of the cabin. Even at 80kmph, one can hear everything that’s happening outside the car - road, wind, and engine noise, you name it and you can hear it. We would also have liked a more responsive and more communicative steering.