What is it?
The DDiS 200 is the version of the S-Cross with the smaller 1.3-litre diesel engine. In case you are looking for telltale signs that distinguish this one from the larger hearted and more expensive DDiS 320 (1.6-litre engine), well there aren’t any. The 200 looks identical to the 320 both outside and in. Great because it gets the same well-finished cabin. Not so great if you aren’t taken by the crossover shape.
What’s notable is that the 200 gets all the features the 320 comes with. Top-spec Alpha trim cars as the one pictured here, feature the SmartPlay touchscreen system with Bluetooth connectivity, leather seats, climate control, cruise control and keyless go among other goodies. The DDiS 200 may not be down on equipment but it is down on power vis-à-vis the 320. The 200’s smaller engine makes 88.5bhp and 20.4kgm to the 320’s 118bhp and 32.6kgm. But, don’t write it off just yet.
What is it like to drive?
As expected, the 200’s flat-out performance isn’t in the same league as the 320. The 200’s 0-100kph time of 13.72 seconds makes it over 2 seconds slower than the larger hearted S-Cross’ and by 120kph the gap widens to nearly 4 seconds. However, in regular city driving or highway cruising you won’t be left wanting. The engine is not peppy per se but it’s not lazy either. It pulls reasonably well from low speeds and responses off boost actually match the DDiS 320 motor’s. But, like all Fiat Multijet-based motors, this one does its best post 2,000rpm when the turbo spools up. There’s no big surge in power at the mark but the mid-range does offer sufficient punch. You won’t get that ‘push back into the seat’ thrust the 1.6 gives, but so long as you are in the right gear, the 1.3 does well. Where the engine does disappoint is in refinement, especially at higher revs. It’s just not as quiet as some of the competition.
Engine apart, the two S-Cross’ differ in their gearbox. Where the 320 uses a six-speed manual unit, the 200 comes with a five-speeder. Unfortunately, gearshifts aren’t as smooth as we’ve come to expect from modern Marutis and the clutch is on the heavier side too. On other fronts, the 200 drives just like the 320. The ride is a touch firm and handling is neat, if let-down by a dull steering.
Should I buy one?
Variant to variant, the S-Cross DDiS 200 is Rs 3 lakh cheaper than comparable DDiS 320 versions. That’s a huge saving as is, but the fact that makes the 200 more enticing is that it doesn’t come across as a compromise as lesser power versions typically tend to. The S-Cross 200’s got all the features you’d desire, performance is adequate and many will actually find its smoother build of power more user-friendly than the 320’s spiky power delivery. The 200 is actually nice enough to make the 320 feel like an unnecessary indulgence. Unless strong highway performance is paramount to you, the DDiS 200 is the version of the S-Cross to buy.