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Maruti Suzuki Fronx - Worth Buying?

Fronx detailed review

By RBPublished 11 months ago Updated 10 months ago 5 min read
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Fronx variant wise price

Maruti Suzuki has included Fronx as a significant element of its plan to catch up in the SUV market, after having primarily focused on compact and economical cars for around 40 years. The company failed to seize the opportunity to benefit from the SUV boom and lost out to its rivals. However, Maruti Suzuki has learned from its strategic mistake and is launching a series of new SUVs to compete in this rapidly expanding and lucrative market. The Fronx is one such SUV that was showcased at Auto Expo in January.

Fronx design

While Maruti Suzuki wants to market the Fronx as an SUV, it was expected to be essentially a hatchback at its core, being based on the Baleno. As a result, Fronx was anticipated to be a lifted Baleno, but when the Fronx was unveiled at the Auto Expo, the appearance was amazingly good. Maruti Suzuki isn’t known for its design prowess, so the expectations weren’t high, assuming that it would simply be a Baleno with added cladding and scuff plates. However, the unveiling of the Fronx proved it wrong.

The Fronx's designers deserve immense credit for their remarkable transformation of the Baleno hatchback into an SUV-like vehicle that exudes a sense of grandeur, especially from certain angles. The Fronx’s front fascia is particularly noteworthy, as it resembles the Grand Vitara more than the Baleno, and is the vehicle’s most alluring aspect. The raised bonnet, sizable grille, and pronounced chin endow the front with a distinctly SUV appearance, but the headlamps are the real standout feature. They feature DRL strips at the top and a triangular cluster comprising three projector lamps that are deeply embedded in their casings, with halogen lamps for the Delta and Sigma trims and LEDs for the higher variants. Unfortunately, fog lamps are not included, and there is no option to retrofit them, just like with the Grand Vitara.

The Fronx’s rear is equally unrecognizable from the Baleno, featuring a brand new tailgate with slim tail-lamp clusters connected by a light strip and a prominent scuff plate that extends high up from under the bumper. The fenders have squared-off wheel arches, and despite the doors looking the same as those on the Baleno, they have a different cross-section and thickness. The glasses are identical to those on the Baleno, resulting in the same coupe-like silhouette. Hence, labeling it an SUV-coupe, a term and category that has recently emerged, would be the most fitting description.

It’s from the side profile that one can appreciate the Fronx’s impressive 190mm ground clearance, a significant increase of 20mm from the Baleno’s clearance. This raised ride height is the product of modified suspension and larger 195/60 R16 tyres that are 5mm taller. However, while the wheel size and overall tyre diameter have increased, the alloys seem a bit undersized in the enlarged wheel arches. Despite this, the Fronx’s appearance is excellent, and its styling is a significant contributor to its appeal.

Interior and features

The Fronx's cabin is practically identical to that of the Baleno, which is a good thing since the latter's interior is already impressive. The dashboard is heavily contoured and made with soft-touch materials. The aircon switches are backlit, well-damped, and have a premium feel. However, the Fronx will be competing in a class where the expectations and stakes are higher, against compact SUVs like the Magnite and Kiger. Despite this, the Fronx performs well and is positioned between the Baleno and Brezza.

In terms of equipment, the Fronx's touchscreen is highly responsive and has a high resolution. It comes with voice commands, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and over-the-air updates. The Smartplay Pro+ system is only available in the top-of-the-line Alpha trim, with lower variants getting a smaller 7.0-inch screen and a more basic Smartplay interface. Additional features include push-button start/stop, cruise control, a 360-degree camera, fast USB charging ports, a 6-speaker sound system, and six airbags. The HUD is also present, displaying speed, revs, real-time fuel economy, selected gear, and more.

However, some popular features like cooled seats, digital dials, and a sunroof are missing. The Fronx does have a wireless phone charger, but the roof liner still looks scruffy, which stands out from other compact SUVs that have a more premium finish. Rear seat space is excellent, and the Fronx's front seats are comfortable with an additional layer of softness. However, there's no armrest, but the Fronx compensates with an adjustable headrest and three-point belt for the middle passenger, rear aircon vents, and a pair of USB ports. The boot is not very large by class standards, and lifting heavy luggage over the high lip could be a challenge.

Maruti Suzuki Fronx: Engine, Fuel efficiency, Handling

Maruti Suzuki has made a comeback with the 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine in its Fronx model, which was previously discontinued in the Baleno RS. The engine has been updated to meet the latest BS6 Phase 2 emissions norms and is currently exclusive to the Fronx. The Fronx has two transmission options available, a 5-speed manual and a 6-speed torque converter, with the Boosterjet variant. The base version of the Fronx has a tried-and-tested 90hp, 1.2-litre K-series engine.

The 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine has minimal turbo lag and is pleasantly responsive at low speeds, thanks in part to the gentle assist from the mild-hybrid’s ISG motor. However, the engine lacks the mid-range surge that one would expect from a turbo. The five-speed manual transmission has light and precise shifts with well-spaced-out ratios, but the engine calibration tuned for fuel efficiency can make the power delivery at low speeds a bit jerky and abrupt. On the other hand, the 6-speed automatic transmission makes for a smoother drive and has an extra ratio to make the most of the engine's torque. Paddle shifters enhance the fun factor in the Fronx's driving experience.

Despite the raised suspension, the Fronx feels nicely planted with minimal body roll and good high-speed dynamics. The ride is stiffer than the Baleno’s due to the increased damper rates, but it coasts over speed breakers and thumps through potholes without discomfort. The Fronx also has a sporty edge to its handling that complements its nature.

The Fronx claims best-in-class fuel efficiency figures of 21.5kpl and 20.01kpl for the manual and auto transmissions, respectively, on the test cycle. However, the consumption figures can swing wildly depending on driving style. The Fronx earns its SUV spurs with its increased ground clearance, allowing drivers to comfortably drop two wheels off the road onto the earthen shoulders when necessary.

Overall, the Fronx is a fun-to-drive car that offers a good balance between performance, fuel efficiency, and handling.

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