Orange, isn’t it? Now it may not look it but the car looks quite orange, in person. However, like an orange, all the juicy bits are on the inside, but we’ll get to that a little later. Please say hello everyone to the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso.
Let’s talk about the exterior design first. The S-Presso’s exterior design is very polarising indeed. Some may find it disproportionate, while some may find it unique and different. But that’s the thing, hate it or love it, you just cannot ignore it, it is bound to grab your attention. From some angles, the S-Presso looks quite average while from others, it looks like a little SUV. The major question is this – Are potential buyers of the S-Presso willing to comprise on looks? We think they will, in all likelihood. Whether its the raised bonnet, the teeth-like grille, large door panels, side body cladding or the 14-inch wheels with hubcaps, it all just somehow works, especially from the inside.
On the inside, the S-Presso is quite sparse in terms of equipment. However, Maruti Suzuki has kept things funky and fresh with the centre console which houses everything from the instrument cluster to the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Maruti’s Smartplay Studio comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, along with a host of other features. The steering wheel itself is borrowed from the Ignis, while the AC controls are the ones from the lower variants of the Swift or Ignis. The front doors house the speakers and space for 1-litre bottles. The rear doors, however, have none of these amenities. That aside, both the front and rear seats are comfortable and provide ample support but only come with fixed headrests.
However, one omission we think is not really fair from Maruti Suzuki’s end is a day and night rearview mirror. It isn’t really looked at as essential from manufacturers but it really should. Safety equipment includes dual airbags, ABS with EBD, Speed Alert System, seat belt reminder with buzzer, reverse parking sensors and more. Do note that as standard, the S-Presso only gets a single driver-side airbag.
DRIVE, RIDE AND HANDLING
The S-Presso comes with Maruti Suzuki’s 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, K-series engine which also powers the Celerio and Alto K10. The engine is peppy and has a nice spread of power across the rev range. In fact, it’s sure to provide you with the right amount of excitement when you do find that open stretch of road. However, once you hit triple-digit speeds, sustaining them can take a bit of work. It’s in the city where the S-Presso really shines, which is brilliant. That’s where most of its target audience will be using this little SUV. We drove an automatic version of the S-Presso, which comes with an AMT gearbox and we must say, Maruti has improved their AMT gearboxes over time. Other than that, the driving position is a commanding one and overall, the S-Presso is a very comfortable city runabout with tallboy seating.
The real ace up the S-Presso’s sleeve is ride quality. The S-Presso rides effortlessly over bad roads and there’s never really any need to slow down over bad roads. What compliments the ride quality is the light and nimble steering wheel. The S-Presso also has an impressive turning radius but its steering isn’t self-centring one, meaning you’ll have to bring it back to the desired position, which can be a pain. However, out on the highway, the steering does lack feedback. Sudden changes of directions at high speeds aren’t to the S-Presso’s liking and it’s best to maintain sedate speeds. All in all, the S-Presso can handle itself well in most situations but don’t expect it to be sporty. There’s only so much orange can do, I mean, a small hatchback can do.
I have to be honest, I did not think very highly of the S-Presso when I first laid eyes on it. However, if there was a classic case of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ it would be this. The S-Presso is a fresh look at the budget hatchback segment. Sure it does have some unnecessary omissions and is a little pricey but it scores big on practicality. With sales surging ahead, it looks like Maruti Suzuki has another winner on their hands.