Maruti Suzuki Baleno Performance & First Drive

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Overview

The Maruti Baleno 2017 has become the most popular premium hatchback in the country. Maruti is currently enjoying the success of the Baleno. This hatchback is spacious, delivers excellent performance and returns good fuel efficiency as well. It comes with a petrol and a diesel engine option. Both the engines are peppy and it is the petrol that has a higher demand. Maruti was a late entrant into the premium hatchback space, but it came with a storm that swept away most of the competition. It was priced aggressively and came feature loaded. The Maruti Baleno 2017 carries all these traits and is the best seller as well. The Maruti Baleno CVT is now offered with Alpha model. This means that it will be offered with all the features and there shall be an automatic with all the features. Maruti Suzuki Baleno On road price starts from 5,40,239/-. Check for price details of Maruti Suzuki Baleno in CarzPrice

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The Baleno is manufactured in Maruti’s Gujarat plant and the company had to ramp up production after it received a spectacular demand from the market after its launch. Customers see the car a value for money, hence they queue up to but the Baleno. Read on for our detailed review of the Maruti Baleno.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Design

Pictures do not really do justice to this car. In the flesh, the new Baleno boasts contemporary styling and looks like no other Maruti yet. The honeycomb grille upfront isn’t as bold as some of the competition but along with the thin chrome strip gives the car enough character. The best detail is how the grille neatly integrates into the projector xenon headlamp. The headlights also LED daytime running lamps which are a norm now. If you like the front, you’ll love the sides even more. Maruti Suzuki has used what is called the Liquid Flow design concept which gives the car the curves that it boasts. It’s brilliant how the character line dips downwards from near the ORVMS and then moves to the back to form a strong muscular shoulder line. Maruti has concentrated on details which shows in the brilliantly designed 16 inch alloys which come with lower than usual profile tyres which gives it that sporty look. The rear end is just as sporty with the high bootlid and that lovely spoiler. Overall the Baleno is quite a looker and sure to turn heads.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Cabin

The only thing that looks familiar inside the Baleno is the typical three-spoke Maruti steering wheel. Apart from that, it looks like a modern and sporty hot hatch with black interiors. The all-black theme of the Baleno is what a hatchback should have, instead of the beige and bright interiors that are more suitable for sedans. The first thing that strikes you while you are in the driver’s seat is the instrument cluster. It gets blue illumination with tachometer and speedometer on either side and a big 4.2-inch TFT MID in the middle. The display is rather animated and shows all the information you need including range, trip meters, outside temperature, instant fuel efficiency, average fuel efficiency, time and most importantly the segment first power and torque meters that are more of a gimmick than being informative.

The wide and V-shaped dashboard is smartly designed and the elements are interestingly highlighted with silver accents. The centre console integrates the infotainment system very well and has controls for the automatic climate control system at the bottom. The AC chills the cabin very fast and was a boon during our hot and sunny drive in Jaipur. The Baleno gets auto headlamps that emit a good throw of light thanks to the powerful projector lights. The blue illumination of projectors look very cool at night and when you flash the lights, the drivers in front can easily mistake the Baleno for a BMW, it is that effective.

The 7-inch touch screen unit offers USB, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity along with GPS navigation. It also doubles up as rear parking camera screen with guidelines. However, the party piece of this multimedia system is the integration of Apple CarPlay! Connect your iPhone with USB and it offers the basic functions of your phone that you need while driving. It offers functions such as Phone, Music, Messages, Podcasts and Audiobooks. So no need to fumble with your iPhone while driving, just sit back and interact with Siri or navigate your phone through the touchscreen. The Siri is not too responsive with the Indian accent and most of the times you end up using the touchscreen. Don’t worry Android users, Maruti will soon introduce Android Auto system as well. The OEM speakers are impressive since the sound quality is crisp and clear.

The quality in the Maruti Baleno doesn’t feel up to the mark considering the cars that it competes with. There are hard plastics at some places but the fit and finish feels built to last as is the case with all Marutis. There are some elements carried forward from other Maruti siblings such as stalk units, window switches, etc. but nothing feels flimsy or inferior to use. The fabric upholstered seats are very comfortable and supportive both at the front and rear but leatherette finish option for the seats are missing on top-end variants. There is a front arm rest which is very convenient for long drives along with a dead pedal in the footwell. The rear seats get enormous legroom and you won’t ask for more ever in a hatchback. Headroom is very good, even for tall passengers and shoulder room is enough to seat three abreast. The boot space at 339-litres is accommodating but the loading lip is high and the floor is quite deep. Underneath you’ll find a 15-inch space saver steel spare wheel of MRF make while the tyres on the top-end model are Apollos. Some of the key features of Baleno include keyless entry and go system, push button start/stop, reverse camera, auto headlights with follow-me home, tilt and telescopic steering, auto dimming IRVM, puddle lamps, anti-pinch driver-side window, power foldable and adjustable ORVMs.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Engine

The engines on offer are a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.3-litre diesel. Both are offered with five-speed manual, while the petrol even gets a CVT on option. The petrol engine has great performance, complimented by the light weight of the car. The body weight of the Maruti Baleno is about 900kgs. The performance of the petrol engine is the best in its segment. The engine is highly refined and it has good power power on offer too. At the same time, this engine packs in generous torque too. The petrol comes with an option of five-speed manual or CVT. The CVT is recommended for city driving, while the petrol manual has good amount of punch too.

The Maruti Baleno diesel is certainly not the most powerful one in the segment, on paper. As it produces 75bhp only and has five-speed manual. But in the real world, the performance is at par with the competition. You do not feel the turbo lag, in fact this is a highly drivable engine. Both the engines have good power and drivability, the petrol has better of the two. As this diesel car is agin lighter than its competition,

The Maruti Baleno ranks very high in mileage. For a petrol engine, this returns about 13 km/l in the city and about 16km/l on the highway. At the same time, the Maruti Baleno CVT has an efficiency of 11 km/l in the city and about 14km/l on the highway. On the other hand, the diesel engine returns close to 16 km/l in the city and about 19 km/l on the highway.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Driving

This is another area where the Baleno breaks new ground for Maruti Suzuki. The Baleno gets an all-new platform which is stronger by about 10% and lighter as well aiding fundamental vehicle performance. And it shows. On the ride and handling front, the Baleno absorbed most bad surfaces that we had to find in Jaipur with ease. Handling felt confidence inspiring too thanks to that well weighted steering wheel and the taut suspension set up.

The top-spec model rides on lower profile, 16-inch wheels while the lower models with higher profile 15-inch rubber is even better in the ride quality department. The Maruti Baleno features a long wheelbase which does help in giving the hatchback very good high speed stability. The handling is good and body control is excellent too, although not in the same league of the sportier Swift. What is really impressive is the steering wheel that weighs up quite well at speed and is quite quick too, feel and feedback being good enough to put a big smile on the driver’s face. Braking performance left us a bit disappointed as the Baleno doesn’t inspire confidence to brake hard and even though it’s light, the car feels a bit twitchy under hard braking, the lower trims more so with the 15-inch MRF ZVTV rubber lacking grip. The top-end model using 16-inch wheels gets Apollo Alnac 4G tyres which offer much better grip than the MRFs. View offers on Maruti Cars from Maruti dealers in Hyderabad at Autozhop

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 Price

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Ex-Showroom Price in India ranges from 5,40,239/- (Baleno Sigma Petrol) to 8,61,054/- (Baleno Alpha CVT Petrol). Get best offers for Maruti Suzuki Baleno from Maruti Suzuki Dealers in India

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Verdict

We like what the new Baleno brings to the table. Its got refreshing new style, plenty of features, in fact the Baleno gets ABS, EBD and dual airbags standard across all variants, climate control, apple Carplay and the works. Yes it could do with more powerful engine options but then India is a market for high fuel efficiency numbers and the Baleno has got that covered. Coming across as the second product in the Nexa line up, the Baleno will go head on with the Elite i20, the Jazz and the Polo. What remains to be seen is the price. If at all Maruti manages to price it a rung lower than its rivals, the Baleno is sure to cause the competition a lot of worry!

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