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Baleno is an amazing hatchback; at Rs 4.99 lakh, it's a sure winner

Last updated on: November 03, 2015 15:03 IST
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The Maruti Baleno stands out with several unique attributes including abundant features, excellent ride quality, peppy and frugal engines and a competitive price tag, says Faisal Khan of MotorBeam.com

 

Maruti Suzuki took a bold step when it launched the Swift back in 2005, changing a lot in the Indian hatchback segment.

Over the years, the Swift continues to be a strong seller topping the sales chart juggling between the B-segment and premium hatchback segments.

However, the larger and feature loaded models have established significant presence making the Swift feel a bit lacking.

 

Nevertheless, Maruti has introduced the new Baleno, a familiar nameplate from the past in a hatchback avatar that is here to take on the Hyundai Elite i20, Honda Jazz and the likes of the world.

Does it live up to the hype? MotorBeam finds out.  

1) The Maruti Baleno is one of the largest hatchbacks out there, measuring almost 4-metres in length and is wider than even the Ciaz, giving it a massive presence.

The flowing lines give the hatchback a floaty appearance and is pleasing to look at.  

 

2) The V-shaped grille looks good at the front and the subtle chrome lip below seamlessly integrates into the sweptback headlight cluster featuring projectors and LED DRLs.

The side profile gets a smooth flowing design with a hunched stance while the rear is curvy with a humongous bumper and square tail lights.  

 

3) The all-black interior is quick to please and gets silver inserts all over for a premium look.

The wing-shaped dashboard gets minimal styling and houses the 7-inch touchscreen unit for the SmartPlay infotainment system and the air-con controls.  

 

4) The instrument cluster gets a TFT MID unit while the multi-function steering wheel is borrowed from other Maruti cars.

The seats are comfortable with ample of space at the front and rear, but the overall plastic quality could be better inside the cabin. The boot capacity is a healthy 339-litres.

 

5) The Baleno is loaded on features and comes with a host of tech to play with including keyless entry, push button start, auto headlights, auto dimming IRVM, puddle lamps, anti-pinch driver-side window, electrically adjustable ORVMs, reverse camera and a whole lot more.

 

6) Being lighter by 100 kgs than the Swift, the Maruti Baleno feels peppier to drive despite the same engines.

The 1.2-litre K-Series petrol motor produces 85 PS of power with 115 Nm of torque and is responsive. The 5-speed manual gearbox offers quick gearshifts, whereas there is also the option of a CVT that is best suited for city driving.

 

7) The 1.3-litre DDiS diesel is a gem with 75 PS and 190 Nm of torque on offer and feels eager to throttle inputs on the Baleno thanks to the low kerb weight.

There is some lag though at the lower end but the engine revs freely and power delivery is linear with the mid-range being the strongest.

8) The Baleno is softly sprung and offers excellent ride quality even on the worst of roads. High speed stability is good and the car handles satisfactorily with body roll being well contained.

Braking performance does get a bit disappointing with the car not inspiring enough confidence.

 

9) Safety happens to be a strong suit of the Maruti Baleno with all variants getting dual front airbags and ABS with EBD as standard.

Keeping up with customer needs, the hatchback is fuel efficient too with the petrol returning an ARAI certified 21.4 km/l and the diesel claimed to return 27.39 km/l

10) The Baleno manages to offer a lot and is a job well done as a maiden attempt from Maruti Suzuki at making a premium hatchback.

The Baleno excels in most departments, leaving little scope for improvement in some. Nevertheless, the killer pricing starting at Rs. 499,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi) makes the hatchback a sure winner.

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