Maruti Suzuki Baleno Petrol/Diesel MT Vs Hyundai i20 Active Petrol/Diesel MT

Tuesday 27 Oct 2015, 4:09 PM

Exterior:

Maruti Suzuki Baleno:

The Baleno’s liquid flowing design is the new-generation Maruti design language and this is what we will see on the future models too. The Baleno’s front grille is somewhat similar to that of the Swift, however it gets DRLs (daytime running lamps) where there are LEDs, first-in class as the Honda Jazz and the Elite i20 don't get it. The side profile looks good too, with longish bonnet and a sleek roofline that makes the Baleno look long and sporty.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno
Maruti Suzuki Baleno
 

The rear of the Baleno is appealing with the new design of tail lamps. The rear also has some added chrome that makes the Baleno look more premium. The Baleno gets a mix of premiumness and sportiness and this design will be seen on other Maruti premium products too. The tyre size of 185/55R15 makes it perfect for Indian use, though the gap in the wheels suggest a bigger tyre can be fitted.

Hyundai i20 Active:

Hyundai i20 Active gets rugged additions over the premium hatchback. It gets an inverse radiator grille with slats done in matte black. The front gets impressive dual tone bumpers which have the body shade as well plastic cladding to make it look tough. The front bumpers also house conventionally shaped round fog lamps instead of the sleek version. Also, making it look modern are the projector lights with LED positioning strips.

The cladding which is seen on the front bumper can be seen on the side too. The i20 Active gets differently styled 16-inch alloy wheels. Hyundai has increased the ground clearance of this crossover to make it stand as tall as some SUVs out there at 190mm. It gets contrasting roof rails on top. These measures were taken to make sure the i20 Active looks different than the standard hatchback.

Interior:

Maruti Suzuki Baleno:

The interior styling of the Baleno is a lot more modern and gadgetry loaded than any other Maruti hatchbacks. The Baleno’s fit and finish is good and the feel of the plastics is somewhat similar to that of the Swift. The features on offer on the top-of-the-line variant are keyless entry, push start and stop, touchscreen system with reverse parking camera, bluetooth connectivity, dual airbags and ABS. Then there is also Apple’s CarPlay as well.

The space on the Baleno is good, the front row seats have good back and thigh support and there is enough room for tall people as well. The second row isn’t tight, but then the space on offer is decent even for tall people. The thigh support and back support could have been better on the Baleno for the rear seat passengers. This is no rear AC vent option also, which is offered on the other competition as well. The boot size is large enough for luggage for weekend for four people.

Hyundai i20 Active:

The Hyundai i20 Active is as rich in features as the hatchback. This one too offers 2-DIN music system with 1GB on-board memory along with standard options of Bluetooth, USB and Aux-In Connectivity. The music system is impressive and makes use of 8 speakers with twin tweeters to channelize the right audio output. Also, the rear AC vents help maintain the right temperature throughout the cabin.

Inside, the built quality of trims and interiors of the Hyundai i10 Active appear robust. The interiors are done in dark shades of black to make it look sportier that the one in the Elite i20. The instrumental cluster makes use of the same twin dial arrangement as seen on the hatch and can also exhibit all possible information of the car on the central multi information screen. In terms of comfort, there is great amount of knee and leg room for front occupants with a height adjustment option for the driver seat only. The seats are done in dual tone fabric of beige and black. The feeling is similar in the rear zone as well with decent levels of occupant comfort.

Engine:

Maruti Suzuki Baleno:

The Baleno is a premium hatchback above the Swift, so it should have more power than it. But what Maruti has done is made the vehicle a lot lighter than before. The Baleno is about 100 kilograms lighter than the Swift and it retains the same set of powertrains. This makes the Baleno peppy. The 1.2-litre petrol produces 84bhp of power and the diesel is a 1.3-litre with 75bhp. The NVH levels are fairly low on the diesel and the petrol is highly refined.

Drivability is good and one doesn’t need to shift gears very often be it in the city or on the highway. The Baleno has sufficient grunt for highway driving as well. The power it produces is very linear and there isn’t much of a turbo lag on the diesel, which is an added advantage. Overtaking is simpler on the Baleno as one doesn’t have to downshift on most of the occasions. The five-speed manual transmission on the Baleno is a bit notch, though the throws are short.

Hyundai i20 Active:

Powering the front wheels of Hyundai i20 Active are petrol and diesel engines with no option of an automatic transmission. The petrol variants make use of a 1.2-litre Kappa unit that makes 82 bhp of power and 115 Nm of torque while the diesel variants use a 1.4-litre U2 CRDI motor that makes a health 89 bhp of power and a hearty torque of 220Nm. The diesel engine comes equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission while the petrol unit does away with a 5-Speed box.

The entire crossover arrangement with stiffened suspensions and raised ground clearance contribute greatly to make the cabin aloof from any disturbances caused on the tarmac. It uses the same mechanism as seen on the Hyundai Verna 4S with a longer travelling suspension. As a result of which the ride quality is highly impressive.

Ride and Handling:

Maruti Suzuki Baleno:

The ride of the Baleno is plaint and this makes it at par with competition. This has one of the best rides in its segment when it comes to Maruti range of hatchbacks. The bumps soak up all the road shocks and this makes it one of the best in its segment.

The handling too is good and the chassis is flexible with good ability to turn directions rapidly without loosing any grip or control. The other good bit about the Baleno is its steering feel. Maruti Suzuki has worked on the ride and handling ability of the Baleno and it clearly shows.

Hyundai i20 Active:

On straight lines, the i20 Active does a great job of maintain its stance and also feels highly confident at great speeds. Even on corners at high speeds, there is no body roll. The only negative aspect has to be the light steering wheel which feels a bit vague at speeds. While commuting inside a city, it feels convenient but the need for a stronger feedback from it is always felt on highways. The diesel motor revs very freely and behaves unlike any diesel motor in the segment. The low end power delivery of this motor is quite impressive for a city centric car and does not feel heavy even at low speeds which make it unique.

Hyundai i20 Active
Hyundai i20 Active
 

The smooth shifting 6-speed gearbox is very effective at maturing from one cog to the other without the need of any effort. Due to a the mighty torque output, the need to change gears at low engine speeds has totally vanished as one can drive freely at lower speeds without noticing any engine knocking or stuttering.

Value for money:

Maruti Suzuki Baleno:

The Baleno is a great value for money product, as it comes loaded with several features offering dual airbags and ABS as a standard feature even on the base variant. Maruti is majorly competing with the Hyundai i20 and the Honda Jazz with this is new model. The quality, space, features, power and the fuel efficiency of all the engines is at par with competition, however the safety features on offer is much better than competition.

Hyundai i20 Active:

Hyundai i20 Active prices for the petrol variants range from Rs 6.77 lakhs for the Base variant to Rs 8.30 lakhs for the premium SX version with AVN. The diesel variants of i20 Active are priced between Rs 8.08 lakhs for the Base variant to Rs 9.60 lakhs for the top end SX variant that too comes with AVN. All the prices mentioned are ex-showroom Mumbai. The i20 Active with the host of feature and rugged additions feels well equipped for a crossover.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno vs Hyundai i20 Active:

The i20 Active is the pick if you need a diesel engine, for petrol it is the new Baleno. If you need SUV-ish kind of look than again it will be the i20 Active.