New Maruti Suzuki Fronx Driven: This Crossover Gives Baby Grand Vitara Vibes

  • Apr 9, 2023
  • Views : 7328
  • 10 min read

  • bookmark

The Maruti Suzuki Fronx might be based on a formula that hasn’t worked for manufacturers in the past, but this baby Grand Vitara could change things

The Fronx is the second Maruti Suzuki product that’ll slot in the heavily populated sub-four-metre SUV space after the Brezza. And while the Brezza might be an SUV, the Fronx is based on the Baleno and has SUV-esque styling. So, it’s a crossover. While this particular style of vehicles haven’t worked well in the past, can the Fronx liven things up with its baby Grand Vitara vibes?

Stick around as we do think Maruti Suzuki has done a commendable job with their newest offering. 

Starts Off With A Positive First Impression 

Maruti has done a commendable job to ensure the Fronx doesn’t look anywhere close to where it borrows its genes from. The styling approach is similar to what Mercedes or Audi do with their luxury cars, where the flagship influences the styling theme for the rest of the range. 

The same philosophy applies to the Fronx, where it looks like a miniature of Maruti’s current flagship, the Grand Vitara. At the front, with the large grille with snazzy elements, the three-insignia DRLs and LED headlights, it looks like a mini Grand Vitara and gives it good road presence. 

Minimal chrome usage on the outside is a welcome change!

Get latest updates on
the automobile community
Login Now

It’s on the sides where there’s a bit of Baleno influence as the front doors are shared between the two. That said, the flared wheel arches add muscle to the sides, while the wheel cladding makes it look rugged. The 16-inch alloy wheels fill the arches nicely and complement the profile nicely. And the sloping roofline dials up the sporty quotient of the Fronx. 

At the rear, the Fronx dials up the premiumness, thanks to the connected tail lamps (only on the top-end trim), that look wicked, especially when illuminated at night. And the addition of silver skid plate to the rear bumper gives the rear end a macho look. Overall, a big thumbs up from us for the Fronx’ exterior styling. 

That said, where the Baleno influence can be heavily seen is in its dimensions as illustrated in this table below:

 

Maruti Suzuki Baleno 

Maruti Suzuki Fronx

Length (mm)

3,990mm 

3,995mm (+5mm)

Width (mm)

1,745mm 

1,765mm (+20mm)

Height (mm)

1,500mm

1,550mm (+50mm)

Wheelbase (mm)

2,520mm 

2,520mm

Familiar Insides

Step inside the Fronx and things are very familiar as the dashboard layout and design is nearly identical to the Baleno. That’s not a bad thing as the Baleno’s cabin is a great base to begin with. A bit of Grand Vitara influence can be seen here, thanks to the black/maroon colour scheme instead of the Baleno’s black/blue theme. And while it looks a bit dull, the splashes of silver and gloss black plastics liven things up. 

Another element livening things up is Maruti’s 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which gets a crisp screen with minimal lag. A bit of getting used too is needed, especially with the cluttered layout, but after that learning curve, it’s a relatively easy system to use. And connecting your phone for Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, wirelessly, is a seamless process. 

Google Maps via Android Auto will display the direction on the heads-up display and MID

Quality of the materials used is generally acceptable all across the board. There aren’t any soft-touch plastics, but touch points like the elbow rest on the door pads and front centre armrest are leatherette. Even the fit and finish is good, unlike say the Brezza, where there were a few iffy bits on the dash. 

Obvious Misses On The Features Front 

We’ll get to that. But in general, the Fronx is a very well-equipped car. Highlights include a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, connected car tech with OTA updates, voice-command-based feature activation (has limited functionality) and a 360-degree camera. 

Even on the convenience front, most of the areas are covered thanks to the presence of a heads-up display, automatic climate control, cruise control and keyless entry with button start.

Obvious misses? Lack of a sunroof is apparent, considering most of the Fronx’s rivals get one. And ventilated seats with leatherette upholstery would’ve dialled up the cabin’s premiumness. FYI, Fronx gets fabric seats only. 

In terms of safety, the Fronx gets dual airbags as standard with six airbags limited to the higher-end trims. Bits like electronic stability control, hill hold assist, ABS with EBD and rear parking sensors are standard. 

That said, structural integrity matters a lot, and that’s where Maruti’s Heartect platform, on which the Fronx is based, lags behind. Other Maruti models based on this architecture have performed rather poorly and we expect the Fronx to be no different. 

Comfy And Cushy!

That’s the perfect way to describe the Fronx’ seats. They are nice, cushy and with me being on the bulkier side, I was pleased with the front seats that accommodated my plus-sized frame with enough room to wiggle around. Also, the front seats have good under-thigh and lateral support, making the experience all the more relaxing. Finding a comfortable driving position is also very easy, thanks to the healthy travel range of the seats, as well as the tilt and telescopic steering wheel. 

The cushiness will be appreciated very much at the rear as you sink into the seats, making it very comfortable to travel. With my colleague Arun Shenoy, who is around six feet tall, behind the wheel, there is still enough legroom to spare (I’m five feet, eight inches tall). So yes, this is a place where two six-footers can sit back to back in decent comfort. The seats also have good underthigh support, adding to the overall comfort factor. 

That said, it’s not all rosy back here. Headroom is in short supply thanks to the sloping roofline. Also, the width of the cabin makes the rear bench best for two medium-sized adults and a child. If two plus-sized occupants are seated here, then it does become a bit tight with barely any space in-between. 

Also, a rear armrest would’ve been appreciated as it would have boosted the overall comfort levels. And you need to rely on the door pockets to store your water bottles as there’s no cup holder or storage space in the rear. That said, you do get amenities like charging ports and rear AC vents. Also, there’s a centre headrest and three-point seatbelt for the safety of middle row occupant, so thumbs up for that Maruti. 

Suzuki’s Boosterjet Makes A Comeback!

Before speaking about drive impressions, a quick spec check. With the Fronx, Maruti Suzuki has brought back its 1-litre, three-cylinder, Boosterjet turbo-petrol engine (now with mild-hybrid assistance) offered earlier in the Baleno RS. It will be sold alongside the familiar 1.2-litre Dualjet engine. 

 

Fronx Naturally Aspirated Petrol

Fronx Turbo-petrol

Engine

1.2-litre four-cylinder

1-litre turbo-petrol with mild-hybrid assistance

Power (PS)

90PS

100PS 

Torque 

113Nm

148Nm

Transmission Options

5-speed MT / 5-speed AMT

5-speed MT / 6-speed AT

We tested the turbo-petrol engine, both with manual and automatic transmissions. Numbers stand at 100PS and 148Nm, which is one of the lowest in its segment. But first impressions? It doesn't even feel underpowered at all. 

Thumb the starter button and you’ll instantly know it’s a three-cylinder unit. The thrum makes its way into the cabin and you do feel minor vibrations on the floor board. However, engine noise is well controlled and as you climb higher up the rev range, it has a nice sporty gnarl to it. We sampled the manual first and what better way to test it out in Goa’s evening bumper-to-bumper traffic. 

First things first, the clutch pedal, though not as light as it is with the 1.2-litre model, is still effortless and easy to modulate. Pair that with a light gearbox and the Fronx makes city driving a breeze. And then there's the engine in itself. There’s a bit of turbo lag to deal with till 2000rpm, but it’s still responsive enough off the line and you can just modulate the clutch to keep you moving in heavy traffic conditions. 

In fast flowing traffic, you can potter around in either third or fourth gear and to get a move on, all you need to do is to put your foot down and the Fronx will build speed without any drama. That said, once the revs come down below 1500rpm, the engine demands a downshift. 

Out on the open road, the Fronx is a potent cruiser. The engine in its overdrive gear has long legs and you can easily keep the speedo pinned all day long at 120kmph. Till here, the Fronx is extremely comfortable keeping these speeds. 

Shifting to the automatic, the ‘box offers very smooth shifts. On most occasions, the transmission keeps you in the right gear, in the powerband and ready to lurch ahead. However, the box shuffles up through the gears early in the interest of fuel economy. 

But when you do need to get a move on, all you have to do is to put your foot down and the car starts building speed without drama. However, when you do put your foot down, the ‘box takes a second to select the right gear. But that problem can be solved by using the paddle shifters, useful when a tight overtake needs to be executed. There’s no Sport mode on offer, but it does hold on to a gear while you’re driving hard. 

Is the engine as sporty as VW’s 1-litre TSI unit? Absolutely not. Maruti has focussed on making this engine as an all-rounder instead of it always pushing you in your seat.  

Pothole Attacker!

The Fronx’s ride quality is flat for most of the part. This is thanks to the tall profile 195/60 R16 tyres and the dampers that have been tuned perfectly for our road conditions. Undulations and wavy roads barely unsettle the car and the ride is flat for most of the part. Even while driving over expansion joints, the car settles down quickly without any bouncing. It’s just those sharp expansions and speed rumbles that catch it out. 

We did get to drive the car over some bad roads while heading to our shooting location. There is some side to side body movement while traversing over really bad terrain, but once again, the suspension settles down quickly. A big thumbs up from us when it comes to ride quality. 

And the best part is, it doesn’t come at the expense of handling. The soft suspension set up means it does roll over while attacking corners. But straight line stability is fantastic and the Fronx masks speeds very well. Also, quick direction changes are executed without any drama. 

That said, we wish it had a better tuned steering. Don’t get me wrong, the wheel offers good feel and feedback and is direct for most of the part. Overall, the Fronx is a very relaxing car to do three-digit speeds and will suffice most of its buyers. 

#ZigSays 

Maruti Suzuki’s Fronx has good looks, a pleasant and comfortable cabin and just enough features to suffice most buyers. There are some downsides to the package and that’s mainly got to do with the feel-good feature misses. A sunroof and ventilated front seats with leatherette upholstery would have rounded off the overall package. These are big misses considering that most of its rival cars get these features and are part of the decision-making game.

What makes the Fronx harder to recommend without hesitation is the asking price. Prices range between Rs 7.46 lakh to Rs 13.13 lakh which means top-spec versions are priced on par with the likes of popular small SUVs such as the Nexon, Venue and Sonet, all of which offer more for your money.

So while the Fronx ticks the right boxes, the asking price might have you consider other alternatives.

Maruti FRONX Video Review

Maruti FRONX
Maruti FRONX
Rs. 7.51 Lakh
View February Offers

Cars Similar to FRONX

  • Maruti Brezza Maruti Brezza
    Rs. 8.34 Lakh
    FRONX vs Brezza
  • Maruti Baleno Maruti Baleno
    Rs. 6.66 Lakh
    FRONX vs Baleno
  • Maruti Grand Vitara Maruti Grand Vitara
    Rs. 10.80 Lakh
    FRONX vs Grand Vitara
  • Tata Nexon Tata Nexon
    Rs. 8.14 Lakh
    FRONX vs Nexon
  • Hyundai Venue Hyundai Venue
    Rs. 7.94 Lakh
    FRONX vs Venue
  • Start a new comparison

See what our community has to say! NEW

India's largest automotive community

Explore Now
comminity image
×
Recently Visited