NEXA Fronx 1.0 AT Drive Review. A delightful fusion of power and efficiency

The NEXA Fronx from Maruti Suzuki, has been one of the most refreshing new offerings to hit the market in the last year or so, especially in the crowded sub-compact SUV segment. The modern and adventurous exterior design of the Fronx thoroughly impressed us as we explored several variants over the months. The interior mirrors this trend, offering a well-designed yet slightly familiar space packed with a comprehensive list of features. Add impressive fuel economy to the mix, and Fronx instantly strengthens its position as a hot and formidable contender in its segment. Not only does it affirm Maruti Suzuki’s dedication to pushing boundaries and embracing an exciting design philosophy within an accessible price range, but also their hunger to grab pole position in a hotly contested category.

While we’ve spent a considerable amount of time getting to know the Fronx (click here to read more) we recently had the opportunity to drive the most exciting variant of the lineup: the 1.0-Litre Boosterjet engine, for an extended duration. This top-of-the-line variant, paired with a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission and paddle shifters (yes, paddle shifters!), makes it a highly impressive package.

While Fronx does offer the option of Maruti Suzuki’s tried-and-tested 1.2-litre K-Series engine, producing 90 bhp and 113 Nm of torque, it’s the Fronx Alpha 1.0L Turbo Smart Hybrid 6AT – with the 3-cylinder Boosterjet engine – that truly stands out. Delivering an impressive 100 bhp and 147 Nm of torque, it is without a doubt, the preferred choice. We absolutely love this engine, and its free-revving and spritely nature. The Boosterjet makes the Fronx feel agile and light on its feet, although a tad more power would have truly hit the sweet spot. It lacks low-end grunt, and although the Fronx starts picking up closer to its 6000 RPM redline, optimising performance with this engine requires being in the right gear. 

That brings us to the 6-speed automatic transmission, which, for the most part, does a commendable job of ensuring that you’re in the right gear. In typical city driving scenarios, the transmission operates smoothly, shifting without noticeable jerkiness. However, there is a bit of lag when you accelerate in a higher gear for a swift overtaking manoeuvre. The paddle shifters prove invaluable in such moments, enabling reasonably fast gear changes without much fuss. The ability to assume manual control enhances the sense of engagement during spirited driving, and we particularly appreciate that the transmission doesn’t upshift automatically in manual mode, allowing the driver to fully exploit the Boosterjet engine. The additional gear ratio, compared to the 5-speed manual, contributes to a more sustained power delivery in the top end.

Handling, responsiveness, and ride quality have been consistently impressive across the Fronx range, and the top-of-the-line variant is no exception. The ride possesses a slight firmness without being overly harsh, allowing the Fronx to maintain a taut and nimble feel without compromising on ride quality.

In terms of fuel efficiency, the combination of the Boosterjet engine and automatic transmission exceeded our expectations with impressive economy figures, with this variant striking an admirable balance between performance and efficiency. While our heavy right foot slightly affected the figures, we still managed a respectable 15.7 km/l over time. During certain trips involving a mix of city and highway driving, we even achieved an impressive 17 km/l.

Across the variants, NEXA Fronx equipped with the 1.0-Litre Boosterjet engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission stands out as an enticing choice for drivers seeking dynamic driving experiences without compromising on fuel efficiency. The addition of an automatic transmission with paddle shifters allows you to fully exploit the fun and peppy engine, injecting a sporty flair into what is an otherwise sensible, practical, and comfortable offering.

With a price tag of INR 12.05 lacs (ex-showroom), the Fronx 1.0 AT may appear a tad expensive initially. Yet, for those in pursuit of a harmonious blend of style, sportiness, and a coupe-inspired sub-compact SUV that promises an engaging driving experience, the Fronx 1.0 AT asserts itself as an compelling choice.

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