Maruti Suzuki has been a king of the Indian automotive industry and has half of the market share. In 2015, the company started its niche foray called Nexa, which was a dedicated sales and service network that dealt with up-market models. Maruti Baleno was part of the launch. In these brief years, the Baleno has come to become the largest selling hatchback of the manufacturer. The Baleno moniker is not new to the Indian market. In the early 2000s, the name was used for the Baleno sedan, which had a brief run in the Indian market. Baleno quickly became a good upgrade option for the Maruti owners, from the same stable. The car made its global debut here in India, and cars are being exported from the Manesar plant to over 100 countries. Let us learn more about this car in this Maruti Baleno review.
Interior and exterior
The Baleno is based on Maruti’s liquid flow design language and its body is curvy with no sharp edges. It manages to look contemporary and many like the styling of the car. The car has good overall dimensions and looks like an evolution of Swift’s design. It comes with an HID projector headlamp with LED daytime running lights. The rear design of the car is sharp and tight, it manages to look good with LED tail lamps. In the interior department, the dashboard is straight and user-friendly. The buttons are placed exactly where they should be and there are no ergonomic problems. The dash instrument cluster is all-new with a 4.2″ color TFT MID in the middle, dishing out interesting information such as the power and torque figures of the car. The ‘SmartPlay’ infotainment head-unit has been picked from the S-Cross & Ciaz. All four doors have a storage space to hold a 1-liter water bottle, making it super practical. At the rear too, tall adults can be accompanied by ease.
Engine and performance
The Baleno is powered by the same 1,197cc, 4-cylinder K12 petrol unit that does its duty on its other siblings such as the Swift and Dzire. The engine produces figures of 83 BHP @ 6,000 rpm and 115 Nm of torque @ 4,000 rpm. With a low curb weight of 865 kg, the Baleno has a good power-to-weight ratio of 96 BHP/ton. The car offers good driveability in the city with minimum gear changes and the low rpm behavior is manageable. The clutch is light, and the gearshift is also smooth to operate, with fluid slotting. The NVH(noise vibration heat) of the car is not satisfactory, and the company has cut corners on insulation materials. Whether this has been done due to saving weight or cost, it is not sure. The high rpm engine sound is more than you would expect from a car of this segment. The car also comes with a CVT(continuously variable transmission) gear option which has the ease of driving in the heavy bumper-to-bumper metro traffic. The driving experience of CVT is very smooth but the annoying rubber band effect is present when you try to pull it hard. The ARAI(Automotive Research Association of India)rating of the car is over 21kmpl.
Safety and build quality
The car has all standard safety features like dual airbags, ABS with EBD, which have been made compulsory by the government. But the build quality of the car leaves a lot to be desired. Many consumers complain that the car is light and flimsy and the curb weight of less than 900kgs doesn’t help much. The handling and the stability of the car at high speeds are not confidence-inspiring and the car doesn’t feel planted on the road. As compared to the competition such as i20 and Polo, they are much better cars that have good safety records. The car is made lighter in the interest of fuel economy, which is stellar by all margins.
Ending this Maruti Baleno review, Maruti Baleno is a good option for buyers from the Maruti stable who are looking to upgrade their cars such as Wagon R or Alto. It is a decent package and starts from 5.98 lakh INR and goes up to 10 lakh INR. The Delta variant is the best value for money option and has a well-loaded package. With good fuel economy and a great service back up from the Maruti, the overall running costs of the car is very low.