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Resplendent in Solid Sizzle Orange, we welcome the S-Presso to the fleet
There’s a reason why I have been absent from these pages for the last few months. I recently bought a KTM 390 Duke, and have been extremely busy tearing up the streets on that little orange crotch rocket. It puts a smile on my face like nothing else, and I chose to give the Fleet in office a pass. The joy of rolling out of the garage in something that you’ve spent time and effort acquiring is special, and I’ve formed a bond with it that is deeper than what would normally form with a borrowed car or bike. But of late, I found myself running about in the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso. And no, I haven’t just taken it because it is orange.
It’s an interesting car – the looks are questionable and I will leave you to draw your own conclusions about it, but that very stance translates to a comfortable driving experience. The seats are perched high up and this gives you great visibility. You can see the corners of the bonnet very easily and this allows you to place the car well in traffic. In terms of the refinement, the three-cylinder engine actually feels good and the AMT gearbox is well calibrated for city driving. The head toss effect that plagues these units is minimised to a large extent. Ride quality is good – it’s built to handle bad roads. As much as Maruti want you to believe this is a ‘mini-SUV’, it is very much a hatchback, but the tall clearance and compliant suspension means you can bomb down bad roads without a second thought. If there’s one thing I don’t like about it, it is the Mini-inspired centrally-aligned instrument cluster. It’s just unintuitive to have to glance to the left every time I need some information about the car. Wasn’t a fan of it in the Mini, not a fan of it here.
My most entertaining drive in the S-Presso (a manual) so far, has to be after Auto Expo. Maruti had very kindly lent us one to get around in Delhi on the Expo days, and I was very, very glad it was the S-Presso and not anything larger. You see, after day 3 of the Expo, we were heading from Noida to theairport and I had left enough buffer knowing Delhi’s infamous traffic. We hit the highway at rush hour and got caught in congestion that Google Maps said would take an hour to clear. The clock was ticking. Missing our flights was not an option. The S-Presso’s traffic-tackling abilities really shone through. I was throwing it at gaps that I wouldn’t have dared in any other car, and we were crawling through traffic much faster than the cars around us. The Ed had left a while before us in the A8, and I’m pretty certain we cut him off somewhere along the way too.
Back in Pune, and I’m right back behind the wheel of our long-termer. The more I drive it, the more I’m convinced that this is the fastest way to get around the city on four wheels.