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Maruti Suzuki Baleno
    Change Model
Customer Rating
: 3/5
Expert Rating
: 8/10
Warranty
: 3 Year Warranty (Whichever is earlier)
Ex-showroom price in 
Delhi
 help (Rs.Lakhs)
    Change City
5.46 Lakhs-8.77 Lakhs

Strong Areas

  • Smart And Practical Demeanour
  • Loaded With Features
  • Powerful Engines
  • Flexible Cabin

Weak Areas

  • No Diesel Automatic
  • Lacks The Rivals’ Appeal 
  • Average Space
  • Cramped Boot
Maruti Suzuki Baleno
 
 

Maruti Baleno Expert Review, Baleno Review In India.

A hatchback with unconventional design and spacious cabin, the Baleno provides a stylish option to buyers looking for a long-term economy car. Read on for ecardlr’s reports on petrol and diesel models.


Author

By

ecardlr.com National

The name Baleno (Italian for lightening) is not new to car lovers but Maruti Suzuki has revived the brand in the popular category of hatchbacks instead of bringing it back as an executive sedan again. The Baleno with a fresh, new design will be produced at the company’s Manesar plant and will also be exported to more than 100 countries from here.

            Maruti Suzuki Baleno

This hatchback is underpinned by a light ‘new generation platform’ and its kerb weight is 95 kg less than the Swift – a car that is already quite light. The lightest variant weighs 865 kg and the heaviest diesel variant is 960 kg. Maruti claims that it has been produced using hi-tensile steel making it 10% stronger than cars based on conventional platforms.  What’s more, for safety all versions have dual airbags and ABS.

There are two engine options available:

  • 1.2 litre petrol generating 83 bhp at 6000 rpm and 11.72 kgm of torque at 4000 rpm
  • 1.3 litre diesel generating 74 bhp at 4000 rpm and 19.37 kgm of torque at 2000 rpm

In addition to 5 speed manual transmission, the petrol engine also comes with CVT version.

The Exteriors

Baleno incorporates Maruti’s Liquid Flow design cues. It has a curvaceous body without sharp edges. The front end is shaped quite unconventionally and its grille design makes it look very different from the Swift. This styling could appeal to many. The curvy, long headlamps have bi-xenon projectors and LED daytime running lights. Chrome strip of the radiator grille also merges into the headlamps. The bumper has a simple layout with big air dam and round fog lamps. On the windscreen there are 3-nozzle washers to squirt enough water for the cleaning.

             Maruti Baleno Rear Spoiler

At 3995 mm of length the Baleno is as long as Dzire. In profile view it appears as bulging and the tinted effect of UV-Cut glass looks impressive. With that Liquid Flow design principle, it was meant to have prominent curves. The A pillar is blackened as in the Swift. There is a thin chrome line running along the window line and the C pillar is sharply angled. Outside rear view mirrors (ORVMs) are body coloured with blinkers.  Door handles have chrome finish and the ones in centre come with keyless entry sensors for top two variants. The top version Alpha gets 16 inch alloy wheels and they fit well into the flared wheel arches.  Baleno has ground clearance of 170 mm.

             Maruti Baleno Tailored to Perfection

There is a roof top antenna towards the rear end. In the LED tail lamp cluster, there are two white light strips, the lower one of which is only for show. Rear windscreen is sharply angled. On the hatch door, chrome garnish lines the lower end of the glass area. The parking camera is also integrated neatly into this belt. BALENO moniker looks similar to the one on previous Baleno saloon. There are no badges to show the variant or transmission types. But you will find the DDiS mark on the diesel model’s front panel.

Like the front, the rear bumper also has a simple design. There are 4 parking sensors and a pair of reflectors at bottom of the bumper. The boot has a capacity of 339 litres.

The build is average and doors close with a metallic thunk. Panels feel light and we know that the kerb weight of Baleno also suggest the same idea.

The Interiors

With the smart key in your pocket, you can open the car’s front doors through request sensors on them. Manual keyhole is provided only on the driver’s side. Front doors open wide in 3 stage action and ingress/egress are easy.

The cabin is roomy and in black colour but the roof fabric is beige. Silver highlights on the dashboard look elegant. Feel of the plastic used is hard but on the whole the quality of finish is not bad. Ambient lighting is neat. Footwell gets lit with a reddish glow when parking lights are used. Beige sunvisors have ticket holders and illuminated vanity mirrors.

          Maruti Baleno Power and Torque

Dashboard has been designed ergonomically and all controls are easy to operate from seating position. Steering wheel has been taken from Ciaz’s parts bin. It is comfortable to use even without thumb contours. Audio and Bluetooth telephony controls are provided on it. It is adjustable for both rake and reach in top-end trim. The gear is located at a short distance from the steering wheel making it easy to use as you momentarily move your left hand from wheel to gear knob.  In addition to logical spacing between the three pedals, Maruti has also offered a practical dead pedal.

Fabric upholstered front seats are well cushioned and driver’s seat gets height adjustment provision. Coupled with this, the 4 way adjustment of the steering wheel makes it simple to find an ergonomic driving position. Seat belts are also height adjustable. A centre armrest is provided but is not very usable as it has been pushed back too far. But the storage space beneath it can be used to put small things.

            Maruti Baleno Ultimate Elegance Unparalleled Quality

There is adequate headroom in Baleno’s cabin and front visibility is good because of the low-positioned dashboard. Rearward visibility is poor in comparison due to limited glass area, thick C pillar and large rear headrests. ORVMs, auto-dimming IRVM and parking camera will be useful.

You will see a new instrument console with rpm dial on the left and speedometer on the right. There is a 4.2 inch TFT multi-information display in middle and a temperature gauge is provided here. Other readouts on MID include a clock, date, outside temperature, 2 trip meters, power & torque usage maps and reverse parking sensor display. Real-time & average fuel efficiency and distance to empty can be checked here.

The infotainment system is shared with S-Cross and Ciaz. It is a 7 inch touchscreen unit with USB, Aux, SD card and Bluetooth compatibility. It is responsive and can be read easily from the front seats and doubles up as a reversing camera and navigation system display. Navigation can be used through pre-loaded maps on SD card. There are 6 speakers.

             Maruti Balen Dual Front Airbags

Baleno’s climate control is also effective – it cools the cabin very well on a sultry day.

There are bottle holders on all four doors and these can hold 1 litre bottles. The glove box is not very spacious but it does get illuminated when the parking lights are turned on. There is a cubby hole below the handbrake to accommodate a mobile phone.

The rear doors open in 2-stage action and open widely to make ingress-egress easy. There is enough space on the well cushioned bench seat to accommodate three people. Legroom is also aplenty. There are 2 adjustable neck restraints and it can be split folded 60:40. Arm rest is not provided. Headroom is also fine but people over 6 feet may find their head brushing against the roof.

There is a seat back pocket behind the front passenger seat and we have already mentioned above that rear doors too have pockets for a bottle each. A 12V power socket is given and right side grab handle comes with a coat hook. There are no AC vents for the rear but considering the power of the unit in Baleno, there will not be any complaints.

          Maruti Baleno Ultimate Elegance Unparalleled Quality

For a hatchback, the Baleno has big boot. With 339 litres of space it is next only to Honda Jazz in its segment. There is adequate space to take in medium-sized suitcases. What’s more, the boot door can be opened conveniently with the smart key in pocket thanks to the request sensor. The stowage pace of boot can be increased by folding down the rear seat.

Engine, Transmission and Performance

The 1.2 litre Petrol with MT

The K12 petrol engine is not new to Maruti cars and Baleno is powered by the same 1.2 litre (1197 cc) unit.  It churns out 83 bhp and 115 Nm (11.72 kgm) of peak torque. The torque-to-weight ratio of 133 Nm / ton is better than the i20 & Jazz.

            Petrol-Engine

Start the engine and the idling is smooth – this is the same engine that is used in Swift, Dzire and Ritz. Baleno has the least of kerb weights among these. The engine offer good driveability in the city and its response at low rpm is admirable. Baleno drives better than Elite i20. The third gear is on the taller side and so you may need to downshift when there is a sudden need for pick-up. Overall though, the engine is competent. And because the steering the slight, frontal visibility is nice and ergonomics are balanced, the Baleno proves to be an admirable city commuter.

Performance on the highways is also enjoyable. Power delivery is linear. The engine is rev-happy and does not lose its refinement even in the high rpm zone. For 0-100 km/hour acceleration, the Baleno takes less time than its rivals like Honda Jazz and Hyundai i20. Speed of 100 km/hour comes in 5th gear at 2500 rpm.

            Maruti Baleno Diesel Engine

Clutch is light to use and gearshifts with the 5 speed manual transmission are also smooth. Slotting is sure-shot. 

With regards to NVH, things could have been better. Maruti has not used enough materials to isolate the engine noise at high rpm. With increase in speed, tyre & wind noise do get into the cabin.

Experience of the CVT

We also took a short spin the CVT model. Instead of the AMT that it has been using in other models, Maruti put continuously variable transmission in the Baleno. It is available only in the Delta trim (next to the base variant).

If you are looking for effortless drives in the city, the CVT can be an even better option than the MT. It performs well on part throttle inputs and keeps the car in smooth movement. In stop and go traffic, you can take your foot off the brake pedal and do not need to give any accelerator input – the car will keep on crawling softly.

The CVT version is not very useful for the highways. Rubber band effect comes in if you drive it hard. Pressing on the accelerator, you can make the engine rev up to 6000 rpm but the progress made in terms of speed is comparatively slow.  Because of limited performance on open roads, most owners will want to stick to the middle range.

Overtaking attempts have to be planned. There is a sport mode in this CVT. On engaging it, you will get slightly improved response on throttle inputs - the speed increases little faster.

On the whole, the CVT is good for smooth urban commuting and in sedate driving style you can also enjoy it on highways. 

The 1.3 litre Diesel

Here too the Baleno uses the abilities of proven 1248 cc, 4 -cylinder DDiS engine. It has fixed geometry turbocharger and generates 74 bhp at 4000 rpm. The peak torque is 190 Nm (19.37 kgm) at 2000 rpm. Baleno’s rivals Jazz and Elite i20 have higher capacity diesels but Maruti did not use the 89 bhp, variable geometry turbo version of this engine that has been put in the more expensive S-Cross. With light kerb weight, the power to weight ratio in this diesel version is 77 bhp/tonne.

On starting the engine, you will hear the familiar diesel clatter. The noise insulation could be tad better. The car moves ahead readily. Baleno being lighter than Swift, feels peppier. There is some turbo lag below 2000 rpm but Maruti has tuned it well and once you drive with this popular diesel engine for few months, you do not mind it in lower gears. The performance therefore is acceptable in the city. You need to downshift only when the rpm needle drops to very low. The turbo spools up after 200 rpm and then you enjoy driving the car more. 

Baleno diesel may not be very enthusiastic on highways but its road performance is at par with competitors and it offers a decent mid range. You can push it to rev up to 5400 rpm and the engine works well to make progress on open roads. This hatchback can also be a peaceful cruiser. The 100 km/hour comes at 2100 rpm. Also, at this point the motor is in turbo zone and there is no need to downshift for overtaking.

The gearbox is slick to use and clutch feels light. The only thing that the owners would have appreciated is more work on the NVH factor. Hyundai i20 diesel is more hushed in comparison to Baleno with the 1.3 litre engine.

Ride and Handling

Maruti has tuned the suspension well and the ride is pliant. At city driving speeds you do not feel jiggles inside the cabin. Also, there are no thudding noises produced on poor tarmac. Occupants will like the ride experience.

At higher speeds, Baleno dismisses the bad road patches with aplomb and keeps the ride comfortable for most of the times. Only the bigger and sharper bumps are felt through the cabin. This too is more evident in the variant that moves on 16 inch wheels. The lower variants have 15 inch wheels & taller sidewalls which will make for a better ride. On the whole, the ride factor is a strong point of Baleno.

With regards to handling, the Baleno is not as fun to drive as the Swift but its dynamics are sorted and balanced. Grip levels are safe. This car has 195/55 R16 tyres and that too makes a positive difference to the grip. Pushing hard into corners will result in some body roll and under-steer.

Despite being it light, it feels stable at speeds up to 120 km/hour. It is not very planted but good enough by Asian car standards. Just remember that strong crosswinds can impact the stability of the hatch on highway. The turning radius is 4.9 metres, good enough for U turns.

Power steering is light at low and parking speeds making it easy to maneuvere as a city car.  As the speed begins to increase, the steering begins to get weigh up sufficiently adding to better control on highways.

Baleno has a ground clearance of 170 mm at par with competition.

The brakes do the job of stopping the car well even under hard braking conditions. ABS is provided on all versions – an admirable feature.

Fuel Efficiency

Baleno with 1.2 litre petrol engine (MT) received an ARAI rating of 21.4 km per litre. With CVT the economy is 21.4 km/litre.

For the diesel model the ARAI rating is 27.39 km per litre.

Verdict

Priced between Rs 4.99 lakh and 8.11 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Baleno is a good looking budget hatch. It is sold through Nexa premium dealership of Maruti.

The cabin is comfortable and capable of transporting 5 people. The boot is a practical lot. You have a choice between enthusiastic petrol and efficient diesel engine. Safety features like dual air bags and ABS are given in all versions. Maruti’s after sales service still leads others in the industry.  That gives plenty of reasons to go for the Baleno. You can also consider the CVT with petrol model if the need is based more on inter-city drives. Demand has already picked up for the car so it’s the waiting period that may feel cumbersome.

Comfort: 3.5/5

Refinement: 4/5

Safety: 3.5/5

Ride: 4/5

Handling: 4/5

Value for Money: 3.5/5

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