Chiclet – is what Santosh has named the newest member in our CarWale long-term garage, the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso. Now, I know not what the word exactly means, but the sound of it does resemble what the S-Presso actually is. Maruti likes to call it ‘mini SUV’, but it is a city car which wants to be an SUV when it grows up. It is positioned between the Alto and the Wagon R and is squarely aimed at Renault’s Kwid.
The radical styling might be the most talked-about aspect of the S-Presso, but as looks can be subjective it wins some hearts with its tall-boy stance combined with squarish elements. Even the high ground clearance gels surprisingly well with the S-Presso’s stance. It’s a love-it-or-hate-it design but we prefer this ‘sizzle orange’ paint job over the other paint options since it suits the character of this cutesy little hatchback.
Getting inside the S-Presso is easy thanks to the large and wide doors and tall seat height. This simple ingress should be a boon for Indian car buyers in itself especially for those who have elderly travel companions. Also, the Mini-style centre-placed circular dial is a nice touch and it also gets surround in the same finish as the exterior paint scheme. In the top division of this binnacle is a digital instrument readout which isn’t the most attractive unit but it does the job well. Below it sits a seven-inch touchscreen with Maruti’s Smartplay system. We have used this infotainment system in the Wagon R and came back pretty impressed with its connectivity and usability. Apart from that, the steering wheel, the centre console and the rest of the dash layout are pretty simple and straightforward.
However, we’d have loved a height adjustment for the driver’s seat since the standard position of the seat is relatively high. It doesn’t mean the seats are uncomfortable or lack support, but you sit much higher as compared to the Kwid. You also get more head and shoulder room in the S-Presso and it is immediately evident once you get inside. The overall fit and finish of the cabin don’t give us anything to complain about either. What we have here is the top-spec VXI Plus trim. So in terms of features, there are front powered windows, central locking with speed-sensing door locks, day-night IRVM, keyless entry, and in terms of safety, you get dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, rear parking sensors, seatbelt reminder and speed alert warning.
The 998cc three-cylinder petrol engine in S-Presso is borrowed from the Wagon R and the Alto. So its modest output of 67bhp and 90Nm should be enough for our daily grind. However, we have a five-speed manual transmission and not the AMT automatic. So we’ll get to test the manual in that bumper-to-bumper traffic as well.
So the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso is a city car, hence we plan to confine our Chiclets solely to our daily office commutes – which is roughly around 30-40 kilometres between Kalyan and Navi Mumbai through the thick urban jungle, under-construction roads and bridges, varying road surfaces, and long, innumerable traffic jams. We’ll also see how well our little Chiclet manages to perform its duties and how close it can get to its claimed fuel efficiency of 21.7kmpl.
Inputs and Pictures by - Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi