Maruti Suzuki Baleno Hatchback First Drive Review

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Maruti Suzuki Baleno Overview

The Maruti Suzuki Baleno may have been around since October 2015, but there is no slowing down this premium hatchback. An absolute bestseller for Maruti, the Baleno has averaged sales of 17,000 units in the past six months alone. So I have to say there was clearly no pressing need to rush in a facelift – especially given Maruti’s usual lifecycles on ‘premium products’ (look at the Ciaz), and the fact that any new competition like the Kia Rio and Tata X451 for instance, are still far away.

The Baleno outsells the current rivals like the Hyundai i20 (average sales of 12,000 units/month), VW Polo (average sales of around 1400 units a month), and Honda Jazz (average sales of 1200 units/month) by many a mile. It was at the very end of the first month of this New Year, that Maruti Suzuki unleashed the facelifted Baleno on us. Yes it was through an innocuous press release, no big drives or launch events. But now that you get the context, you will understand why it was important to bring you this review – because we still think it is a very big deal.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Design

The Baleno design isn’t the loud design language you’d see on the Hyundai i20 Elite or the Honda Jazz. In many ways, it looks like an evolution of the Swift. But that in no way is meant to be read in a negative light. The design is subtle, yet strong enough to lend it a lot of road presence. The flowing lines and smooth corners across the vehicle are derived from Suzuki’s new ‘liquid flow’ concept.

The Baleno has got a new grille, which is striking, unlike any other you’d see in the company’s portfolio. There’s a chrome outline that runs from the grille upwards and integrates neatly into the headlamp. The headlamp unit of the top variant we drove houses projector lamps clubbed with LED daytime running lights, and the ‘follow-me-home’ feature. On the lower variants though, it is a much simpler unit.

The side profile of the Baleno is where you see most evidence of the liquid flow concept. The lines on the side flow in sync with the overall design, and the bulges around the Baleno waist add to the character of the car. The windows and handles get the chrome treatment, and they sit well with the overall look of the car. At the rear, the smaller window and high boot-lid raise the overall presence of the car. The wider stance, further accentuated by the pronounced chrome element, gives the Baleno a distinct identity. The LED tail lamps look proportionate with the overall styling of the rear.

The top-end Baleno we drove had 16-inch alloys, while the lower variants get basic 15-incg steel wheels. Customers would have the option of choosing from seven colours, including a Autumn Orange, Ray Blue, Pearl Arctic White, Granite Gray, Fire Red, Premium Urban Blue and Metallic Premium Silver.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Cabin

The interior of the Baleno is one area we were fairly impressed with, and that is not simply restricted to the way the dashboard or the instrument cluster looks. The all-black look that Maruti has opted for gives the cabin a premium and sporty feel, attributes we believe would be welcomed by potential customers. There is no leather upholstery, as some might expect in a premium product, but the materials used and the fit & finish are good for the segment it will play in.Check for Maruti Baleno price in Bangalore at Tryaldrive.

Some components, including the 4.2-inch TFT screen, have been borrowed from the S-Cross, for instance. The metre console is freshly designed, and small elements therein have been beautifully done. For the first time in the country, Maruti has introduced the Apple CarPlay system, which allows the driver to connect an iPhone through the car’s in-built display and voice control system.

Steering mounted audio controls, tilt & telescopic steering, reverse parking camera and voice recognition are some of the other features that make the Baleno interiors an exciting experience. The higher models also get climate control, rear parking camera and satellite navigation system. Another interesting addition to the feature list is the UV Cut Glasses that have been introduced on the Baleno. These glasses help cut harmful UV rays by up to 85 %!

The cabin overall is spacious. There is ample leg, knee and shoulder room for the rear passengers and the front seats are large and comfortable. The driver’s seat gets the height-adjustable function. The boot offers 339 l of space, which we think is ideal for a family’s weekend run. You would find the loading height in the boot taller than some of the other cars in the segment, but that has been primarily done to keep in sync with European regulations. It is in no way a hindrance though.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Performance

The Maruti Suzuki Baleno is powered by two engine options – a 1,197 cc petrol and a 1,248 cc diesel. The petrol engine generates 83 hp power at 6,000 rpm and 115 Nm torque at 4,000 rpm whereas, the diesel produces 74hp at 4,000 rpm and 190 Nm at 2,000 rpm. While the petrol engine is a smooth unit, the diesel is more fun to drive but can be loud as well.

The Maruti Suzuki Baleno petrol has two gearbox options, a 5-speed manual and a CVT automatic. The diesel, although, comes only with a 5-speed manual transmission. Gear changes on all the transmissions are seamless shifts and sorted gear-ratios ensure good drivability throughout the rev band, except lower engine speeds.To know more information on Maruti Suzuki Baleno check Byteintobigdata

Claimed mileage on the Maruti Suzuki Baleno petrol is 21.4 km/l in both transmission options while on the diesel it’s 27.39 km/l. These impressive fuel efficiency figures make the Baleno a good option for daily commutes.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Driving

The ride quality of the Baleno is an absolute highlight of the car. The suspension set-up – McPherson Struts in the front and Torsion Beams at the rear – is well tuned for Indian roads. On a certain section of road in Jaipur, we deliberately drove the car over potholes, and it returned un-scraped – thanks to the 170 mm ground clearance. We didn’t experience any body roll, and the stability of the car in high speeds is praiseworthy. The steering is light and communicative, and the brakes have adequate bite.

Through its development process, Suzuki put a lot of emphasis on optimisation of the entire vehicle, including components attached to the underbody. That has helped in keeping NVH in check, while maintaining good riding comfort.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Safety

The Maruti Suzuki Baleno comes with ABS and dual front airbags as standard across all variants for added safety. Apart from this, the car gets rear parking sensors, ISOFIX child mounts and seat belt reminders as standard across all variants, thanks to the upcoming safety norms.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Price in Bangalore

Maruti Suzuki Baleno On Road Price is 6,72,696/- and Ex-showroom Price is 5,54,689/- in Bangalore. Maruti Suzuki Baleno comes in 14 colours, namely Premium Urban Blue,Metalic Premium Silver,Pearl Arctic White,Ray Blue (RS),Autumn Orange (RS),Fire Red (RS),Granite Gray,Ray Blue,Premium Urban Blue (RS),Autumn Orange,Premium Silver (RS),Granite Gray (RS),Fire Red,Pearl Arctic White (RS). Maruti Suzuki Baleno comes with FWD with 1197 CC Displacement and 4 Cylinders with Maximum Power 83 bhp@6000 rpm and Peak Torque 115 Nm@4000 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Maruti Suzuki Baleno comes with Automatic Transmission with FWD .

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Bottomline

Maruti will retail the Baleno through its premium network, NEXA. In fact, the company would be hoping to bolster the NEXA network through the success of the Baleno. The S-Cross premium crossover hasn’t truly set the sales charts on fire, and Maruti would be aware of that. Pricing would be key to ensure the Baleno’s success, and that we’ll know on October 26th.

However, what is commendable for Maruti is the right intention it has portrayed in offering safety as standard on the Baleno. Dual airbags, ABS, EBD and seatbelts with pre-tensioners are standard fare across all variants – a move that should upset the competitor’s strategy. The higher trims also get fog lights, auto headlamps and parking sensors.

So, in terms of overall packaging of the vehicle – powertrain, including the CVT, safety, interior space & features, and looks – the Baleno has the elements to deliver a strong product this festive season. Add to that the assurance that the company brings to prospective customers in terms of reliability, serviceability and hassle-free ownership experience – the Baleno could just be the next winner from the Maruti stable.

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