Over 80 percent of the Fronx buyers are choosing the 1.2 petrol engine over the Boosterjet turbo-petrol. We test it out.
The Maruti Suzuki Fronx is a Baleno-based crossover that comes with two engine options. While we’ve already reviewed the Fronx with the 1.0 Boosterjet turbo-petrol, the focus of this review will be the other engine option – the 1.2 naturally aspirated petrol. The turbo-petrol has more output and, as a result, more performance, but an overwhelming majority of Fronx buyers (over 80 percent!) are still opting for the more affordable 1.2 version. So read on to see what it’s like to drive, what its real-world fuel efficiency is, and more.
Maruti Suzuki Fronx 1.2 petrol engine, gearbox, fuel efficiency
Let's get the numbers out of the way first – the 1.2-litre, four-cylinder, naturally aspirated petrol engine puts out 90hp and 113Nm. Codenamed K12N, this engine is down 10hp and 34Nm compared to the three-pot Boosterjet. The car we’ve tested here is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, which sends power to the front wheels; there’s also a 5-speed AMT automatic on offer.
The 1.2-litre unit is a tried and tested engine, serving several others like the Baleno, Dzire and Swift.
What is perhaps the biggest draw for buyers of the Fronx 1.2 is its fuel efficiency, which Maruti claims is 21.8kpl. In our real-world tests, we managed to get 13.5kpl in the city, which is good, and out on the highway, it returned an impressive 20kpl.
The Fronx 1.2 packs in an auto engine stop-start tech, which contributes to fuel savings. Interestingly, the engine stop-start feature will keep the engine turned off at a signal even if cabin temperatures rise higher than the preset climate control temperature. This helps conserve fuel in the city, but on a hot day, it can be a bother, so you’ll have to depress the clutch pedal to restart the engine. Also aiding efficiency on the highway is the engine that spins at around 2,600rpm at 100kph in fifth gear.
The engine's efficiency is greatly boosted by the auto start-stop tech.
Maruti Suzuki Fronx 1.2 petrol performance, driving impressions
Expectedly, performance isn’t lively – that’s what the Boosterjet is for – but there’s enough on tap to keep up with the flow of traffic. You’ll have to rev the engine out to make quick overtakes, but you won’t mind doing that, as this 1.2 has a nice, fruity exhaust note.
The engine itself is one of the smoothest and most refined units in its segment, and that coupled with its light controls makes it relaxing to drive in the city. The clutch is light and easy to modulate, the steering is also light and easy to twirl in traffic, and the gearbox is smooth and precise.
The engine is super smooth and refined, and is coupled with light controls.
The Fronx’s low-speed ride is impressive and it deals with road imperfections with relative ease. And though the ride does feel bumpy at higher speeds, it’s never uncomfortable. It also feels well-settled around corners, but the steering that feels at home in the city feels numb around bends and there’s quite a bit of play around the straight-ahead position.
Maruti Suzuki Fronx 1.2 petrol exterior, interior, features
Without a doubt, the styling is a big part of the Fronx’s appeal. While it is based on the Baleno, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell so. In fact, it has more cues from Maruti’s flagship SUV, the Grand Vitara, rather than the Baleno hatchback. The high set bonnet, large grille and the 190mm ground clearance (20mm more than the Baleno) give it good road presence. However, a disclaimer – the Fronx you see here is clad with accessories like plastic body-moulding with red detailing, door edge protectors and a parking camera.
The Fronx looks closer to the Grand Vitara than it does to the Baleno.
The model tested here is the Delta Plus variant, which is the top-spec variant in the 1.2 range. The Boosterjet also comes in two higher trims – Zeta and Alpha. Compared to the range-topping Alpha trim, this one loses out on things like the larger 9-inch touchscreen, a centre armrest with a storage compartment underneath, rear AC vents, diamond-cut alloys, a parking camera and more. And while this Delta Plus variant is reasonably equipped with a smaller 7-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple Car Play, auto climate control, LED headlights and alloys, it does miss out on some basic features, which it really ought to have at this price, like a height-adjustable driver's seat and a rear washer/wiper.
With this powertrain, you only get the 7-inch touchscreen, and not the larger 9-inch unit.
However, it’s also important to note that, like the exterior, the interior of our test model also featured accessories like brown and black seat covers, floor mats and an air purifier.
The dashboard of the Fronx is near-identical to the Baleno’s, save for the different colour scheme. The front seats are supportive and comfortable, but the lack of height adjustment for the driver’s seat will be missed by shorter drivers. It’s also spacious at the back, with more than enough knee room for taller passengers, however, the headroom will be a bit tight owing to the swooping roofline. You’ll also miss convenience features like dedicated AC and a centre armrest at the back.
Maruti Suzuki Fronx 1.2 petrol price, verdict
The Fronx’s appeal lies in its styling and the road presence it commands over a Baleno, and comes with the hatchback’s strengths like its packaging, comfort and practicality.
Between the two engine options, it is easy to see why people choose the 1.2L version over the Boosterjet – not only is it very efficient but it’s also relatively more affordable. Variant to variant, the 1.2 petrol costs a whole Rs 1 lakh less than the Boosterjet at the ex-showroom price itself.
Affordability and efficiency are the biggest draws for the 1.2-litre petrol unit.
Maruti doesn’t offer the Fronx 1.2L in fully-loaded top trims, and at Rs 8.72 lakh for the 1.2 Delta Plus, it slots smack in between the better-equipped Zeta (mid) and Alpha (top) variants of the Baleno on price. So really, it boils down to how much you really want the crossover flair and a bit more ground clearance.
Maruti Suzuki Fronx video review
Maruti Suzuki Fronx: price, variants, features explained