Maruti Baleno has been a very popular brand name in India. The old-school three-box car used to be a premium offering during India’s rise in the automotive industry. Maruti has now brought back the name in an all-new hatchback form and it looks brilliant. The Baleno is currently only produced in India and is exported to markets around the world including home market – Japan.
Baleno also becomes the part of the Nexa family, which falls under the niche segment of Maruti Suzuki umbrella in India. How is this new hatchback and will it live true to its legendary name? Let’s find out.
Baleno carries a unique look to itself. The car is not beautifully designed yet captures a lot of eyes on the road. It looks bulky and misses out on sleekness around the body. The flowerpot shaped front grille which merges into the headlamps in the higher variants make the car look sporty but lack of any strong lines on the body makes Baleno look bloated.
On paper, the car measures longer and wider than both the competitors – Hyundai Elite i20 and Honda Jazz and also, the ground clearance is lower than both the vehicles to make it look way more aggressive. The 16-inch wheels add to the good looks department. In all, Baleno looks good, if not downright gorgeous.
Baleno offers most spacious interiors in the segment. The front and rear seats can accommodate 5 occupants easily. The low roof height can be a problem for tall passengers but Baleno has compensated that with ample leg-room. The interiors are all-black along with gentle use of chrome all around.
There are buttons on steering wheel to control infotainment system while the TFT speedometer console simply takes the quality of the interiors to a different level altogether. Baleno comes loaded with touch-sensitive infotainment with Apple Play and Google Auto.
Engine and Performance:
The Baleno is powered by both petrol and diesel units. Petrol is a 1,197cc four-cylinder engine that produces maximum power of 84 PS while the diesel unit is a 1,248cc four-cylinder multijet unit that produces maximum power of 75 PS. Even though the power figures are the lowest on the Baleno, the car is the lightest in the segment too. It is 170 kg lighter than Jazz and 240 kg lighter than Elite i20. The lightweight makes sure that the lower power figure does not interferes with the performance of the Baleno.
The steering wheel has good feedback for a car of this segment. It is neither too light, nor too heavy. The car is very comfortable over bumpy roads too, and at the same time taking high speed corners becomes little tricky due to softer suspension set-up.
ARAI certified fuel efficiency for petrol is 21.4 km/l while the diesel engine returns 27.39 km/l making it most fuel efficient car in the segment.
Should you buy one?
The Baleno starts at only Rs. 4.99 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi which is cheaper by almost half a lakh than Elite i20 and Jazz. The diesel variant starts at Rs. 6.16 lakh, and that too is cheaper than the rivals. Maruti is offering a lot of value in this price and the brand name makes sure that the car gets all the necessary attention from the customers. The Baleno is selling in huge numbers and it is not surprising at all. If you are looking for a car with good features and driving dynamics with trusted brand value then look no further than Baleno.