The Glanza is clearly a rebadged Maruti Suzuki Baleno, however, Toyota has given it a longer warranty and a lower starting price to make it more attractive.
Are there other compelling reasons to consider it over Baleno? Read on to find out.
Toyota finally has a premium hatchback in its arsenal. Something for Innova or Fortuner owners to use inside the city.
But the Glanza is clearly a rebadged Maruti Suzuki Baleno and folks at Toyota haven't taken any pains to make it look otherwise.
What Toyota has done, however, is given it a longer warranty and a lower starting price to make it more attractive.
Can it be reason enough to consider the Glanza over the Baleno? To find out, we put the Glanza's G variant, which is the only one in the lineup to get the new 1.2-litre DualJet mild-hybrid engine, through its paces.
I am sure you have seen a Maruti Suzuki Baleno on the road.
It's been on sale in the country since 2015 and apart from the minor nip and tuck it received recently, it has remained practically unchanged.
The Glanza is based on the Balneo facelift and the only changes Toyota have made are to the front grille and the badging on the boot.
It still looks quite attractive with its curvy, European styling.
The G variant of the Glanza gets projector headlamps but miss out on LED DRLs. However, it does get light guides instead.
From the side, the 195/55 R16 dual-tone alloy wheels are the highlights.
But they are exactly the units that you get on the Baleno.
We feel Toyota could have gone for a different design to set the Glanza apart from the Maruti.
At the rear, the only differentiating elements are the badges.
The Glanza is available in two variants - G and V - and Toyota has chosen to equip the tailgate with the corresponding badge as well.
The Baleno, on the other hand, doesn't get any variant badges on the outside.
Overall, the Glanza comes across as a smart looking hatchback, if a bit too similar to the Baleno.
The Glanza's dashboard design is quite smart with an all-black theme and well placed silver accents.
Although the texture of the plastics used inside looks premium, their quality leaves a bit to be desired, especially when you consider it's a Toyota.
While our test car came with seat covers, the G variant gets fabric upholstery as standard.
The lower variant also misses out on the leather-wrapped steering wheel.
That said, all other features are taken care of. You get a large touchscreen with Android and iOS smartphone connectivity options, automatic climate control, a height adjustable driver's seat, steering mounted controls and so on.
A shout-out to the music system which is well tuned for a car without a fancy 'tuner' tag.
What you'd miss though are the auto headlamps which are present in the G variant.
All of these features make for an ergonomic cabin, making the Glanza a rather easy place to be in.
If you are a backseat passenger, you'd be happy to know that there is plenty of space in the Glanza.
There's an ample amount of room for your legs and knees and the headroom to feels adequate for people up to 5'7”.
Taller passengers might find the headroom to be a bit bothersome.
The seatbase gets soft cushioning and coupled with the relaxed recline angle, it feels comfortable.
But features like rear AC vents and a centre armrest are sorely missed.
Also, the Li-ion battery pack placed under the front-passenger seat robs a bit of legroom too.
Another highlight of the Glanza is its practicality.
It offers plenty of storage options inside the cabin and even gets a 339-litre boot which can hold all your luggage for weekend trips.
However, the loading lip is a bit high, requiring some effort while stacking heavier objects.
Another minor grouse we found was the cabin insulation.
Mechanical sounds from the underbody often creep into the cabin and out on the highway, you hear a lot of road noise as well.
This starts to become annoying once you notice it as it's quite hard to shrug it off.
Engine and performance
This is where things get interesting. The new 4-cylinder, 1.2-litre DualJet Smart Hybrid engine was first introduced in the Baleno a few months ago.
It complies with BS6 emission norms and is essentially a replacement for the 1.3-litre diesel motor, which will eventually be discontinued.
Since this engine is more expensive (by Rs 88,800 in the Baleno) than the regular 1.2-litre petrol motor, it is only available in the base G-MT variant of the Glanza.
Press the start/stop button and the car comes to life without any buzz.
The engine feels super refined and barely makes any sound or vibrations in the sensible half of the rev band.
In fact, it's the AC compressor which is loud and audible on the outside.
Engine capacity - 1.2-litre; power - 89.7PS; torque - 113Nm and transmission - 5-speed manual.
Get going and there is no sudden burst of power in the range.
The Glanza manages to pick up speed in a very linear manner.
It's only below the 1000rpm mark where it takes some effort to get going. Rev past that and you get clean acceleration.
This engine makes 7PS more than the standard 1.2-litre engine and coupled with torque assist, it makes picking up the pace more effortless.
It even becomes fun at the top end of the rev range, but you won't be using that space in your daily commute.
The Glanza takes 13.19s to reach 100kmph from a standstill, which isn't anywhere close to being the fastest in its segment.
However, it does have a trick up its sleeve.
It's traceability. The Glanza is happy being in 3-4th gear inside the city and this reduces the number of times you have to shift gears.
The gearing is quite tall, which further helps it pick speed smoothly from a higher gear.
The clutch is light as well, which results in a worry-free commute, even if it involves long hours or traffic jams.
But this does come with a downside.
The in-gear acceleration of the Glanza is a bit on the slower side.
It takes 11.24s to go from 30-80kmph in third gear, and 20.52s to go from 40-100kmph in fourth gear.
This will cut down on your enthusiasm if you plan on driving eagerly in the city.
However, with a tested mileage of 17.13kmpl inside the city and an impressive 24.25kmpl on the highway, we aren't complaining.
The hybrid motor helps deliver this efficiency.
Under load conditions (acceleration, going up a gradient, etc.), the motor provides torque assist, which reduces the load on the engine, making it more efficient.
The batteries are charged by brake energy regeneration and all of this is represented by a nice graphic on the multi-info display (MID).
Ride and handling
The Glanza's ride quality is tuned for city use. And it works brilliantly at that.
The suspension gets just the right amount of damping to not let any surface undulation send a shock down your spine.
Also, it gets the car stable soon after you have been through the undulation.
Speed breakers are barely felt inside the cabin at moderate speeds and even sudden surface changes don't upset the occupants.
Broken or no roads remain fairly comfortable too.
It's only when you don't slow down for a bump or a pothole that you would find the ride a bit harsh.
Moving on to handling, this is where things get slightly complicated.
Within city limits, say up to 60kmph, the Glanza feels planted and the steering offers reassuring feedback.
It's light as well, which helps you navigate the urban jungle with ease.
But as the speed increase, you start to experience body roll.
While this roll isn't enough to put off passengers, it interferes with the handling.
The Glanza starts to feel skittish and begins fighting for grip on high-speed corners.
This doesn't inspire much confidence on ghats and hilly roads.
And while the brakes have a nice progressive feel inside the city, the tested 100-0kmph braking distance of 44.58metres is on the higher side.
Toyota has equipped the Glanza with the most basic of safety features.
You get dual-front airbags, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA), ISOFIX child seat anchors and rear parking sensors.
A reverse parking camera is offered as standard in the top-spec V variant and can be installed as a paid option in the G variant.
Neither the India-spec Glanza nor the Baleno has been crash-tested by Global NCAP. Hence, both cars don't have a safety score yet.
Now, let's talk about the longer warranty and the lower price.
Compared to the Maruti Suzuki Baleno which is offered with a 2-year/40,000km warranty, the Glanza gets a 3-year/1 lakh km warranty as standard.
This can be extended to 5-years/2.2 lakh km as well.
So if you plan to cover a lot of miles every year or plan on keeping the hatchback for a longer time, the Glanza makes more sense.
And then comes the price.
Glanza's G variant is identical to the Zeta variant of the Baleno in terms of features and equipment.
However, the Toyota costs Rs 65,000 lesser than the Maruti.
Additionally, the Glanza also comes with Toyota's renowned ownership and service experience.
Priced at Rs 7.22 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), the Glanza G is a well-rounded package and has plenty to offer as a city car.
Not only is it spacious and comfortable, but it also packs a tonne of features for the price as well as the do-it-all engine.
But remember, the price is introductory and will go up soon.
So did we need another Baleno? Probably not. But Toyota has given enough reasons for you to consider the G variant over its Maruti twin.
Photographs: Courtesy CarDekho