After trying the Perfinza tyres on our long-term Mercedes-Benz CLA, we now decided to upsize the tyres and wheels of the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross and test another set of these tyres on the S-Cross now
We are no strangers to the MRF Perfinza series of tyres. Back in 2017, our long-term Mercedes-Benz CLA was among the first cars to try out these tyres specially designed for luxury cars, and which have also been tested by and approved by Mercedes-Benz. The Perfinzas went a long way to smoothen out the CLA’s very stiff ride and make it more liveable on a daily basis. A year later we tested another set of MRF Perfinzas on a completely different car — my Mitsubishi Evo 6.5. And the great thing was that not only did the tyres help with the ride of the Evo, they also provided excellent grip for a very demanding four-wheel drive car.
So it was an absolute no-brainer when I decided to upsize the wheels and tyres on my Maruti Suzuki S-Cross, I wanted to slap on another set of the MRF Perfinza tyres. This is my new daily runabout and it is the one with the 1.6 diesel engine that offers scope for releasing more horses. But before we bumped up the power, the car desperately needed a better set of boots, the stock tyres were woefully under tyred both visually and in terms of performance.
Since we needed new rims I thought it best to go the whole nine yards with the maximum upsize the S-Cross can handle, and when I chanced upon these set of gold-hued rims my mind was made. Blue car, gold rims, evokes strong Subaru rally car images! Of course I had doubts, especially since I was going up two sizes from the 16-inch wheels that come standard on the S-Cross. MRF’s engineers were kind enough to identify the size that would be appropriate for the upsize, which is 245/45 R18.
Initial worries about the tyres being too low-profile and too wide for the car proved unfounded and the tyres don’t rub against the fender linings, despite the massive upgrade from the standard 205/60 R16 size. Oh, and it looks absolutely fantastic giving the S-Cross a strongly aggressive stance.
Unfortunately, soon after we had the tyres fitted, the nation wide lockdown was announced and being a responsible citizen, I’ve hardly done any miles. I did manage a work trip from Pune to Mumbai and back, which gave me a chance to test out the performance of the 18-inch Perfinzas. And I’m happy to report that the ride is not too far off the high profile 16’s. What has really improved is the way it handles bumps and undulating surfaces, providing a more surefooted feel, thanks to a wider contact patch. It has made the S-Cross feel more car-like to drive, which is something only a good set of tyres can help you achieve.
With the monsoons just setting in, what’s worth special mention is the performance of the Perfinzas in the wet, which is a million miles better than the skinny tyres it rode on earlier. The MRFs provide the car with a more controlled and stable feel through the corners in the wet, with the nose tucking into the apex nicely and holding its line. The constant understeer of the S-Cross has been completely cured and it is only now that you actually can explore the abilities; even understand the abilities of the S-Cross’ chassis. The Perfinzas have really aided the overall handling and dynamics of the car, making it feel much more agile and lively. Not surprisingly, the bigger size has also helped give the steering a nicer, sharper feel which gives you the confidence to carry more speed through a corner.
Though I’ve only clocked about 700 kilometres so far on these new MRFs, I’m happy with the ride they have offered in city use too. It would be unfair to compare it to the 60 profile tyres, but they do a great job for how much lower the car is now. They still feel soft enough, despite its low profile and manage to iron out the most undulations and ripples in the road, without transmitting much vibration to the cabin. The big improvement while driving within town is the reduced stopping distances thanks to the wide contact patch and the excellent compound, which is clearly designed for cars that far exceed the level of performance of the humble S-Cross. It gives me the confidence to now work on the engine and extract more horses which, I’m sure, can be easily unlocked.
Like I said, we’re no strangers to the ability of these tyres, having already run them on a variety of cars earlier. So far it has been a great balance of performance and comfort. Our past experience of the Perfinzas was limited to 16-inch sizes but these 18s are the true test for the MRF Perfinza series and, so far, I’m happy to report that they are just as good. We’ll be assessing the performance in the months to come to gauge things like long-term durability, but from our experience in the past and the high standards of MRF tyres, I think they should hold up well.