Maruti Fronx AMT vs Nissan Magnite AMT comparison

    Want a compact automatic SUV for the daily city grind? The Maruti Fronx AMT and Nissan Magnite AMT spell great value. We find out which one is better.

    Published on Jun 07, 2024 10:45:00 AM


    Make : Nissan
    Model : Magnite

    Compact SUVs have become the go-to cars for the daily city grind. The compact size helps parking and manoeuvring, the high ground clearance helps navigate uprooted city roads, and while these factors make a resounding case on their own, what takes it a notch further is the convenience of an automatic gearbox. If you are on the lookout for an automatic compact SUV for around Rs 10 lakh, the Maruti Suzuki Fronx AMT and the Nissan Magnite AMT will undoubtedly get your attention. But which one is better?

    Maruti Suzuki Fronx AMT vs Nissan Magnite AMT: design

    The Magnite is taller and squarer, making it seem larger.

    In terms of styling, both SUVs take a slightly different approach. Being based on the Baleno hatchback, the Fronx doesn’t have a boxy stance, and although the cladding helps, it’s far from looking like an SUV. The Magnite, on the other hand, is taller and squarer, making it seem larger. In dimensions, only a few millimetres separate the two; the Fronx is slightly longer, wider and has a longer wheelbase, while the Magnite is taller and has a higher ground clearance (205mm vs 190mm). Both cars get LED headlamps and 16-inch alloy wheels, which is especially commendable for the Fronx as it is only available in the Delta+ trim, not the top-spec Alpha.

    Maruti Suzuki Fronx AMT vs Nissan Magnite AMT: specifications

    Inside the Fronx, unsurprisingly, it feels more like a hatchback than an SUV. The sense of space isn’t all that great, and since the driver’s seat misses out on height adjust, the driving position is restricted. However, the dashboard features multiple trims and panels that give it a modern feel, and quality is good too. The interior of the Magnite feels more SUV-like, the cabin is airy and the dashboard is set further away which helps aid the sense of space. And while plastics and overall quality are decent, they’re a shade behind what you get in the Fronx.

    Inside the cabin, the Fronx feels more like a hatchback than an SUV. 

    That said, you do get better storage in the Magnite and proper bottle holders in the centre along with a centre armrest for the driver. Storage in the Maruti is limited to a small space under the HVAC panel, with the central cup holders being tiny. Comfort, however, is good thanks to large and accommodating seats that are soft and supportive, while the Nissan has slimmer seats that aren’t as well cushioned; driver-seat height adjust makes up for the lost points though.

    Magnite's interior quality is a shade behind what you get in the Fronx.

    The Magnite scores well in the rear seat too, with impressive roominess and a flat floor that ensures even the centre passenger is comfortable. However, there isn’t a headrest in the middle and it only gets a lap belt for safety. However, it does get rear AC vents, which the Fronx doesn’t. Headroom for tall passengers will be an issue in the Fronx, compounded by the tapering roofline, but legroom and kneeroom are good. The centre passenger does get their own headrest and a three-point seat belt, but it’s too cramped, and three abreast will not be comfortable. Boot capacity in the Fronx stands at 308 litres, which is less than the 336 litres of the Magnite.

    Maruti Suzuki Fronx AMT vs Nissan Magnite AMT: features

    On features, the Nissan is clearly ahead: a 360-degree camera, which is a big plus in tight spaces; a 6-speaker setup for better audio; and keyless entry and go. The touchscreen on this Fronx Delta+ is a smaller 7-inch unit compared to the Magnite’s 8-inch, though both get wireless smartphone connectivity.

    The Magnite gets a 360-degree camera, which is unique for this price point.

    When it comes to safety, both get dual airbags, but the Magnite gets TPMS and has been rated four stars for adult occupant safety and three stars for child occupant safety in the old regime of Global NCAP crash tests. The Fronx has not been tested by Global NCAP yet.

    Maruti Suzuki Fronx AMT vs Nissan Magnite AMT: powertrain, performance

    Maruti Fronx AMT vs Nissan Magnite AMT
    The Fronx AMT is over 7 seconds quicker to 100kph than the Magnite.

    AMT models are often owner driven, so factors like performance and driveability do play a big role. The Fronx gets a 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine making 90hp, which is a whole lot more than the 72hp from the 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder engine in the Magnite. Torque in the Fronx is better still, and the result is unsurprising. In a 0-100kph dash, the Fronx is over 7 seconds quicker (13.70sec vs 20.71sec), and it is a similar story when it comes to roll-on acceleration. The powertrain in the Magnite is just too relaxed and a quick overtake requires a lot of planning. Add to that the poor refinement, and the Magnite starts losing out. AMTs are not expected to be as smooth as CVTs or torque converters, but the Maruti unit is far more refined and slicker with its shifts. Both cars also get manual modes for the gearbox, but really, you’ve chosen the AMT for the automatic convenience, and that’s what matters.

    Maruti Suzuki Fronx AMT vs Nissan Magnite AMT: ride, handling

    Ride comfort on both SUVs is well suited for broken roads, but it is the Fronx that edges ahead with a bit more suppleness; the Magnite is a tad firmer.

    Around corners, the Magnite’s tall stance results in a bit of body roll, whereas the Fronx remains flat and composed. The steering of both SUVs is light and manoeuvrability is effortless, although they can only be adjusted for rake and not reach. 

    Maruti Suzuki Fronx AMT vs Nissan Magnite AMT: verdict

    Both SUVs have their strengths, and on paper at least, it would seem the Magnite comes out on top. It’s the more practical choice, with more interior and boot space, taller dimensions and higher ground clearance. And with far more features at a lower price, it’s better value for money too. However, its sluggish and clunky powertrain is simply too much of a compromise in a car that will primarily be owner driven. The Fronx on the other hand, is powered by Maruti’s proven and popular 1.2 K-Series engine, mated to a much better developed AMT, and you’ll be happier behind its wheel. And while the Delta+ trim misses out on some of the Magnite’s frills, it has the basics covered. Ultimately, while the Nissan checks more boxes, it’s the better-rounded Maruti that we would recommend.

    Also see:

    Maruti Suzuki Fronx long term review, 5,000km report

    Nissan Magnite AMT review: Plays the value card

    Nissan Magnite AMT vs Maruti Suzuki Fronx AMT comparison video

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