Maruti Suzuki Baleno Facelift First Drive

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Maruti Suzuki Baleno Overview

The smartly turned-out Baleno scores well for practicality with its cabin, which offers more space than many pricier sedans. The boot is generously-sized, too. 2019’s update has added colour to the cabin but material quality is mediocre by class standards.

The Maruti Suzuki Baleno’s standard 83hp, 1.2-litre petrol engine is peppy, refined and efficient; and the five-speed manual gearbox is also nice to use. City dwellers will find a good combination of efficiency and convenience in the CVT auto variant. The 90hp Baleno Smart Hybrid is significantly pricier than the standard petrol version but promises enhanced performance and economy. As for the Baleno diesel, its 75hp, 1.3-litre diesel engine is superb on fuel economy but is also loud and simply feels outdated.

The Baleno’s ride and handling are fine and the controls are light but the steering’s lack of adequate self-centring takes getting used to.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Exteriors

The Baleno is a BIG hatchback when you see it in person. It is almost four metres in length and at 1745 mm width, it is even wider than the Maruti Ciaz, imagine the presence of this hatchback! Well, in terms of styling it looks like a mature version of the Swift with a grown up design. Suzuki’s new Liquid Flow design language makes the car floaty and pleasant to look at. The front profile is dominated by the black grille accentuated with subtle chrome at the bottom that infuses into the headlights. The projector headlamps with LED daytime running lights look neat while the fog lamps are situated on the lower half of the bumper.

The side profile of the Maruti Baleno gets a smooth flowing design that gets curvaceous at the rear. The door mounted wing mirrors look classy that get a new design. We were excited to see the sharply spoked alloys of the international version but the simple alloy wheel design makes it look more like a wheel cap. The hunched up stance of the Baleno from the rear looks quite entertaining. The rear bumper is huge that gets neatly integrated reflectors and number plate housing. The tail lamps look cool and the tail gate gets a roof spoiler along with a thick slat of chrome. All in all, the design is quite appealing and one that grows on you with time.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Interiors

An all new platform underpins the Baleno. The interior also are brand new and unseen on any Maruti car before. The Maruti Baleno is all about freshness, style and trend. The interior impresses and it stands out with respect to competition. Though the layout is sporty, one can’t sat the same about the quality. It has the same steering wheel with an all new TFT screen with two dials for the instrument cluster. Then there is also a large touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay. The AC vents are vertical. The all black dashboard makes it look sporty.

There is ample space inside the car, including leg room, knee room and head room. The boot has a capacity of 339 litres is more than sufficient to carry luggage for your weekend trips. The Baleno comes with dual airbags and ABS as a standard feature across all variants. There are no rear AC vents, which a disappointment. It is becoming an increasingly important feature.There are no rear AC vents, which means that it won’t be very comfortable on a hot summer day for rear passengers. The seats for rear passengers could have been a bit more reclined too

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Transmission

Maruti Suzuki has carried forward the same set of engines on the Baleno that do duty on the Swift and although the company also powers the car with a 1.0-litre BoosterJet turbocharged petrol engine, the same isn’t being offered in India, at least not for the time being and is reserved for export markets. Both the petrol and diesel engines are familiar to all of us since they power a slew of Maruti cars. The petrol unit is the 1.2-litre K12 motor that pumps out 85 PS of power and 115 Nm of torque, the K-Series mill having being praised endlessly by us in our past few reviews, deserves more applause in the Baleno because it weighs a whooping 100 kgs lighter than the Swift, in spite of being bigger. The Baleno thus boasts of an even better power to weight ratio and is quick off the line.

The K-Series mill doesn’t have the strongest low-end performance with the mid-range being flat but the same isn’t very evident in the Maruti Baleno due to the lower weight of the car. The gear ratios have also been altered to extract the best mileage, thus the ratios are tall with first gear doing 45 km/hr and second gear taking the vehicle to 90 km/hr, third maxes out at 137 km/hr. But where this powertrain truly shines is the top-end and screams all the way to 6200 RPM where the rev limit kicks in. The smoothness of the 1.2-litre engine is truly noteworthy with refinement levels being excellent, no vibrations at all. Driving the car on open roads with the vehicle in top gear, the RPM needle ticks in at 2500 RPM, giving enough room to stretch the motor’s legs.

The petrol powered Maruti Baleno is matched to a 5-speed manual gearbox which has swift shifts and a light clutch. An automatic gearbox is offered as well which is a CVT unit (on the mid-level Delta variant and not on the top-end Alpha), offering good response to throttle inputs. But being a CVT, the rubber band effect is a given and thus the motor revs too much once past 4000 RPM (all the way to 6000 RPM) without actually making much progress, best to give part throttle inputs then. This nature of the CVT box makes it best suited for city driving where the boon of automatic gear shifts takes precedence over outright acceleration. But the big advantage of the CVT box is the mileage, as both the manual and CVT gearboxes of the petrol Baleno return the same fuel economy, 21.4 km/l as per ARAI which is the segment best. To know more information on Maruti Baleno check Kokoliko

Coming to the diesel engine, the same 1.3-litre Fiat sourced MultiJet unit is offered in DDiS 190 tune which means it generates 75 PS of power and 190 Nm of torque. The weight advantage plays here too and thus the diesel Baleno is quicker off the line than the Swift, it also feels more eager to throttle inputs thanks to the tuning done to the motor. But you do have to downshift as the car doesn’t take off quickly at low speeds in higher gears. However, the bottom-end continues to be weak as there is some lag low down but performance is more linear than before and there is no sudden spike in torque. The engine also revs freely and has a petrol like character in that regard, spinning past 5000 RPM before the limiter kicks in at under 5400 RPM. However, the top-end isn’t making much progress and it’s best to shift up in the mid-range.

There is much more noise in the cabin once you get past the mid-range and NVH levels aren’t as good as some of its rivals, in fact we measured a maximum of 95 dB at redline in third gear, which is a lot of sound indeed. Clearly the DDiS motor’s 8 years of duty can be seen and Fiat’s MultiJet II motor is the need of the hour. 100 km/hr comes up in third gear while at the same speed in top gear, the oil burner is spinning at around 2400 RPM, ready to pull strongly for a quick overtake. The clutch is light and the gearbox has short but surefooted throws, making driving this Maruti a pleasure. Many were expecting the Baleno to get the same engine tune as the Ciaz as both the Hyundai Elite i20 and Volkswagen Polo produce around 90 PS while the Honda Jazz belts out 100 PS. But with the weight reduction, the Baleno is still decently quick and the lower tune has been done in the interest of costs as the more powerful DDiS 200 motor which gets VGT also has SHVS tech to boost mileage even further. Still the Maruti Baleno is the most frugal car in its segment, returning an ARAI claimed 27.39 km/l.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Driving

Maruti Baleno is an excellent car to handle because of its perfect balancing features even at reasonable speeds on highways. It does not wobble even when you drive it at speeds more than 130 kmph. Performance wise, it ranks right alongside its cousins, Maruti Swift and Dzire. Comparisons such as Baleno vs Swift or Baleno vs Dzire are common. On the performance and handling front, there is little to choose from these vehicles.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Safety

Maruti isn’t compromising on safety this time and what’s impressive is the fact that dual front airbags and ABS with EBD will come standard across all variants of the Baleno. This makes the premium hatch quite desirable and justifies the ‘premium’ tag being given to the Baleno. Ownership experience as we all know is the strong point of Maruti but the Baleno will be retailed exclusively through NEXA dealerships that are limited but growing at a good pace with every passing day. However, after sales is not an issue since all cars will be serviced at regular Maruti Suzuki service centres across the country. The Baleno gets high localisation and hence maintenance is expected to be relatively low.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Cost in Chennai

Maruti Suzuki Baleno On Road Price is 6,42,022/- and Ex-showroom Price is 5,54,689/- in Chennai. 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 .Check for Maruti Baleno price in Chennai at Tryaldrive.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Final Thought

Maruti Suzuki is called the hatchback king and the Baleno is testimony to the same fact. With its first premium hatchback, the Indo-Japanese automaker has worked on several aspects to impress customers. Yes the interior could have felt better with less of parts from lower Maruti cars and the diesel engine could have belted out more power and less noise, more so when competition is kept in sight. But, when you look at the overall package, you realise the Baleno is an all-rounder. It looks good, has plenty of space on the inside, comes with a ton of features (some of them being unique to the segment), drives well, efficiency is class leading and the ride-handling balance is excellent too. Maruti has a sure-shot winner on its hands and the competition better be worried.

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