Launched on 26 October 2015, Maruti Baleno is not a new name to the car industry in India. It was launched as a sedan in 1999 but discontinued in 2007. And the Japanese carmaker has now brought back the Baleno marque for its new premium hatchback which was code named YRA earlier. Placed above the Swift in Maruti’s hierarchy of models, the Baleno comes to add a fresh appeal in the company’s hatchback options. It will content against Hyundai i20 and Honda Jazz that have started to pull buyers’ attention.
the Baleno got 4600 bookings within 2 days. Maruti claims that people thronged the showrooms to get a glimpse of the new car and many of the visitors booked it on the same day. The trust in the brand and its services are important factors contributing to such results. At the time of writing this article, the marketing campaign is already on to take the popularity of the new hatch even further.
The Baleno has options of two engines:
• 1197cc, 4-cylinder petrol (VVT) : It churns 83 BHP at 6000 rpm and has a torque of 115 Nm at 4000 rpm
• 1248cc, 4-cylinder diesel (DDiS): It churns 74 BHP at 4,000 rpm and has a torque of 190 Nm at 2000 rpm
Both the engines are coupled with a 5-speed manual transmission. The petrol engine is available with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) at the ‘Delta’ variant level. The ARAI certified fuel economy figures of this car for the petrol and diesel versions are 21.4 km/litre and 27.39 km/litre respectively.
Since it’s here to challenge the fluidic design cars by arch-rival Hyundai, the Baleno has been given a stylish design – more stylish than the Swift that is. The design of front grille is different from its siblings and yes there is plenty of chrome out there. Headlamps are somewhat similar to Swift and that is anyways an admired feature of the popular, older hatchback. For a premium factor, the headlamps of Baleno have a smart LED daytime running light and projector xenon lighting. And these lights are quite bright too. The front bumper is curvy and has prominent detailing at the lip. This car incorporates Maruti’s "Liquid Flow" design language.
The Baleno like Swift is a sub-4 meter car – it measures 3995 mm in length. The width is 1745 mm, height 1500 mm and wheelbase measures 2520 mm. Its ground clearance is 170 mm. the curve of the front fender and the bulge of the sides add a lot of character. And the shoulder line flows well from the fender all the way to the back. The A,B, C pillars are blackened but the glass area is large which coupled with the wheelbase makes the car look longer. Top end variant gets 16 inch multi-spoke alloy wheels with 195/55-R16 section tyres. Lower variants have larger profile tyres on 15 inch wheels. Door handles have chrome finish.
At the rear end you see high bootlid that uplifts the overall presence of the hatch. The rake of the rear windscreen and the spoiler add to the sportiness factor. Some trims have chrome lip spoiler. Baleno, by far will seem to be the best looking Suzuki hatchback yet and this will help in pulling buyers.
The cabin has all black treatment with silver inserts as in the Swift. The flat dashboard fits well into the design concept and the centre console has a fresh appeal. Instrument cluster is also contemporary and in the higher end variants you get a coloured TFT multi information display screen. There is tripmeter to calculate average speed, range and real-time and average fuel spending. It has animated graphics for a jazzy look.
The steering seems to be taken from the Ciaz and S-Cross and has a nice grip. Steering controls are can be accessed easily and are quite handy. Fit and finish is notable and at par with competition. There is adequate storage space for knick knacks.
Baleno’s seats are firm and supportive - good feature for long drives. The headrests are firm and there is enough headroom even for tall drivers. When you move to the rear, you will also like the kneeroom. There is no rear armrest. At 339 litres, the boot space is not the highest in the segment but enough for luggage of a weekend trip. The loading lip is high and is further blown up as the boot itself is pretty spacious.
This new car will be sold through Maruti’s NEXA dealership network. The car will be manufactured in India and exported to more than 100 countries across the globe including Japan.
The choice of variants and their respective prices (ex showroom Delhi) is as follows:
• Sigma - Rs. 4.99 lakhs
• Delta - Rs. 5.71 lakhs
• Delta (CVT) - Rs. 6.76 lakhs
• Zeta - Rs. 6.31 lakhs
• Alpha - Rs. 7.01 lakhs
• Sigma - Rs. 6.16 lakhs
• Delta - Rs. 6.18 lakhs
• Zeta - Rs. 7.41 lakhs
• Alpha - Rs. 8.11 lakhs
And you can choose your car from colour choices that include Fire Red, Premium Urban Blue, Premium Silver, Autumn Orange, Ray Blue, Pearl Arctic White and Granite Gray.