Maruti Suzuki Invicto first drive review
Cars build reputations. The Swift for Maruti - fun to drive, easy on the wallet. The City for Honda with its strong VTEC engine, made Honda a household name in India. The Scorpio for Mahindra - solid road presence, quite gangsta, tough as a rock. The Innova for Toyota though, has stood above all in India. It is the most profitable nameplate for any carmaker in India. Owners/cab drivers, everyone swears by the Innova’s reliability, and in India, if you know Toyota for anything, it is this bulletproof reliability. The car you see in these pictures, banks on that reputation Toyota has built over decades in India, and Maruti Suzuki aims to take it to every corner of the country. The Maruti Suzuki Invicto is their most premium offering yet. It’s priced aggressively, but is there more to it than being just a badge-engineered Toyota?
Styling of the Maruti Suzuki Invicto
The answer to that question is no. The Invicto is a badge engineered HyCross. That said, a few things you will notice in the styling - the front grille is new, the headlamps and taillamps get the three LED DRLs, a signature Suzuki design, there are a few chrome strips around the car and strangely, Maruti Suzuki has downsized the wheels. The Invicto gets 17 inch wheels, compared to 18-inchers on the HyCross. The latter looks visibly undertyred, so I really don’t know why Maruti would make them even smaller. The design is smart but just look at the bulky Invicto from the side and the tiny wheels look comical. Overall though, I prefer the Suzuki styling, just as I did between the Grand Vitara and HyRyder. Do let us know your preference in the comments section below.
Interior and features of the Maruti Suzuki Invicto
A single tone black dashboard makes the Invicto look a bit less premium on the inside. The satin finish on the dash, AC vents and near the central cup holders feel like an afterthought next to the chrome finish in other parts of the cabin. A big miss on the Invicto is the deletion of ADAS from the features list. Even the top spec variant doesn’t get it, but that has allowed Maruti Suzuki to undercut the HyCross by a huge margin. At launch, three variants of the Hybrid were revealed, and the pricing, honestly, surprised me. Maruti has taken a trimmer to the feature list and deleted a few key features from the Hycross to price it better. You basically get two variants - Zeta and Alpha, with the former being offered as a 7 or an 8 seater. The latter gets the more luxurious 7 seater version only.
You get a panoramic sunroof, chrome door handles, leatherette seats with ventilation for the front seats, a powered tailgate, a larger screen, TPMS and more in the top-spec variant. You can download the brochure to figure all this out. When you do that, you will notice a few key omissions. The biggest of them is ADAS. The Invicto doesn’t get ADAS, which quite frankly has become one of those features we didn’t know we needed till all the expressways started coming up at breakneck speeds. It’s a smart strategy to get a headline with the lower price tag, and in due course, it won’t take much for Maruti Suzuki to launch a variant with ADAS if the market demands it.
Powertrain of the Maruti Suzuki Invicto
The powertrain is the same as the Toyota Innova HyCross. The petrol electric hybrid makes a combined 184bhp of power. The petrol motor runs the atkinson cycle and develops 188Nm of torque, while the electric motor add 206Nm to make the Invicto fairly quick on its feet despite the 1.7 tonne kerb weight. The key takeaway though is that it is so smooth, you will forget all about the noise and vibrations of Innovas of the past. A few vibes do come through the cabin due to the lower sound deadening when you step on the accelerator but every time you drive it in an unhurried manner, it is so soothing. The transition from petrol to electric is seamless and the refinement is simply superb. It is so relaxing to drive. Don’t look for a fun driving experience here though. This e-CVT makes it feel a bit lazy, even though the hybrid makes this car quick. 0-100kmph comes in just 9.5 seconds.
Ride and handling of the Maruti Suzuki Invicto
The Invicto isn’t a car to go corner carving in. You’d prefer a wide open highway where you can munch miles in utmost comfort. On roads like these, you can maintain triple digit speeds with ease. The vehicle is softly sprung, but the excellent torsional rigidity means you aren’t going to feel uncomfortable with body roll around long sweeping corners. The Invicto is very comfortable all round, something we have appreciated in the HyCross time and again. The refinement and lack of vibrations also egg you to drive faster than you would a diesel Innova. I had to remind myself of the size and weight often, because the steering is light and the pickup is brisk the minute you step on the gas. Grip levels are acceptable, but could definitely be better. That said, the main job of this car is to ace comfort, and that it does.
Fuel economy of the Maruti Suzuki Invicto
I have a sneaky feeling that Maruti wants to own the kitna deti hai tagline by beating the Toyota Innova HyCross Hybrid at the mileage game. While official figures are 23.24kmpl, the Invicto with its smaller tyres should score better real world range. In the real world, when we tested the HyCross, we got 13-14kmpl in regular driving conditions. Expect the same in the Invicto.
Price and verdict of the Maruti Suzuki Invicto
Prices start from Rs 24.79 lakh for the base variant and go up to Rs 28.42 lakh for the top spec car you see in these pictures. The base variant is Rs 24,00 cheaper than the HyCross and the top spec Invicto undercuts the Toyota by Rs 1.57 lakh. It’s a no-brainer that you would consider the Invicto. A bit of healthy competition in the Toyota-Suzuki bromance, but the cash registers will ring. My issue isn’t as much with the car as it is with such an open comeback of badge engineering. I had thought that those days were behind us, but clearly, we haven’t seen the end of it. And then there are pictures on social media of a Toyota version of the Ertiga. Is Toyota also eying the Jimny? Will we see a Suzuki Land Cruiser, where will this end? Ah! While the Invicto is a good car, as it is a Hycross with Suzuki badging, it is diluting the brand Toyota has built over decades in India. At some point, this should end right? Tell us if that matters to you, or maybe you think, a cheaper HyCross is only good for us!