The recently launched Maruti Suzuki Baleno is a premium hatchback is from Maruti, which will be manufactured in India and sold globally. The Baleno is available in four variants, namely, Sigma, Delta, Zeta and Alpha. It shares some of its styling and the engines with the Maruti Swift. The engines include a 84bhp, 1.2-litre petrol and a 75bhp, 1.3-litre diesel, both of which are paired to a five-speed manual transmission. An automatic gearbox (CVT) is also offered, but only on the second level petrol variant – Delta. The Baleno will be sold through Maruti’s premium Nexa dealerships and will be the second product to be retailed from these dealerships.
The Baleno is based on Suzuki’s new-generation platform. It is dimensionally larger than the Swift and shares a lot of similarity with the iK2 concept, which was showcased at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. This premium hatchback is attractive with features such as a bold V-shaped grille with a wide air-intake. It also features projector headlamps, DRLs (daytime running lights), wraparound windows and neat alloy wheels. The top-end variants (Zeta and Alpha) are equipped with 16-inches alloy wheels with 195/55 R16 tyres, the lower trims get 15-inches steel wheels with 185/65 R15 tyres. The hatchback measures 3,995mm in length, 1,745mm in width and 1,500mm in height with a wheelbase of 2,520mm.
The Baleno is a more spacious, premium and also a feature-rich car as compared to the Swift. It has a few first time features in the segment like a seven-inch SmartPlay infotainment system with Apple CarPlay. A variety of features are included right from the base variant of the Baleno like Dual front airbags, ABD with EBD, tilt steering, gear shift indicator, front power windows and central locking. Features like seat height adjustment, reverse parking camera, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, keyless entry projector headlamps and push button start are available only on the higher variants. The Baleno is spacious inside with enough legroom for rear passengers and it offers a boot capacity of 339 litres.
Engine and Performance
The Baleno’s engine lineup is similar to the Swift. The petrol version is powered by a 1.2-litre VVT engine that produces a maximum power of 84bhp at 6,000rpm and 115Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. While the diesel model has a 1.3-litre unit sourced from Fiat, which puts out 75bhp of power at 4,000rpm and a peak torque of 190Nm at 2,000rpm. There are two transmission options on offer which are a five-speed manual and a CVT automatic. The Baleno weighs around 100kgs less than the Swift and this translates in better performance. The1.3-litre diesel engine is the same unit that powers the Swift but the Baleno performs better. The car revs freely but can get noisy when you pushed hard. The 1.2-litre petrol-engined version is pretty quick and quite responsive. The gearshift is smooth, and clutch is light to use. The Baleno has a long wheelbase and hence ride quality and handling are impressive, along with the straight-line stability. The Baleno has well calibrated brakes. It has disc brakes at the front and drums at the rear. The car gets anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) as standard. ABS ensures that the wheels do not lock, thus helping maneuvering on wet conditions too.
The Baleno is one of the most fuel efficient cars in its segment. The petrol Baleno claims a fuel efficiency of 21.4km/l, while the diesel unit returns an impressive mileage of 27.39km/l.
Safety and Security
The Baleno has features like dual airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) across all variants as standard fitment. Reverse parking camera and projector headlights are available only on the top-end trim. The vehicle also gets front disc brakes, anti-theft security system, driver seat belt reminder and front seat-belt pre-tensioners.
- Attractive looks
- Long wheelbase
- Interior space
- Premium interiors
- Feature laden
- Lighweight construction
- Engine performance
- Ride and Handling
- Automatic version low on features
Some parts feel flimsy