Strategy is only as good as execution. This is exactly what Maruti Suzuki is doing to achieve its mission of 50 per cent overall market share which will be mightily aided by a slew of new SUV launches. To kick start the new financial year in style, India’s number one car manufacturer will launch a new urban SUV, the Fronx, which will be sold under the company’s premium brand Nexa. Ever since the Fronx was unveiled at the Auto Expo many valid questions were asked, is it simply a raised Baleno, is it an SUV or a crossover and is there more to it than what meets the eye? We got behind the wheel of the Fronx to answer all these questions and highlight some other important points.
Maruti Suzuki has decided to bring back the 1-litre BoosterJet turbo petrol engine, which was previously only available on the Baleno RS. This engine was available in the market for three years, but Maruti Suzuki decided not to upgrade it to meet the BS6 emission norms in 2010. Fast forward to 2023, all major automobile manufacturers offer at least one turbo petrol engine and the country’s leading car company had to rethink its strategy.
Hence, the return of the 1-litre BoosterJet with the Fronx. We are stating the obvious but still mentioning it, the Boostjet powertrain is BS6 Phase 2 compliant. The bigger news is that it is now localized and not a fully imported engine, which will help Maruti Suzuki price it aggressively. The other option is to introduce it on other vehicles in its portfolio like the Baleno, Swift or even the Brezza.
Getting back to the 1-litre turbo petrol. It has an output of 99bhp and 147.6Nm of torque. The figures are on the conservative side, especially when you have the Hyundai i20 turbo flexing a whopping 118bhp and
172Nm. Step on the throttle and the first reaction is sweet and slightly underwhelming. The engine is very smooth and remains quiet even when the rev needle touches 3,000rpm, but the throttle response could have been more spunky. The measured initial pickup is too linear for an enthusiast who would want a more communicative turbo engine. It feels more aligned with the fuelsipping 1.2-litre naturally aspirated engine that the Fronx also offers. The BoosterJet could have brought in more character to the Fronx with an awe-inspiring performance. Going by other 1-litre turbo petrol engines in the market, the power kicks in around 2,000rpm, but in the case of the BoosterJet, it becomes more alert around the 2,800rpm mark.