Maruti Suzuki Baleno CVT Review
Maruti Suzuki has just introduced the new Baleno and we did get our hands on this hatchback for a short drive. We were highly impressed by the petrol engine and have done a detailed drive for the petrol engine. Majority of premium hatchback buyers (about 65%) are petrol buyers, and hence that is an important engine. This time around we drive the CVT version, as there is a rising demand for automatics. The demand for automatics is on the rise and with increase in city congestions buyers are tilting towards automatics. The new Baleno CVT is offered with the same petrol engine, is it good enough or is it sluggish? We find out in our review.
The design of the Baleno will grow on you. It isn’t something that will be love at first sight like the Hyundai Elite i20, but the design is very subtle. Engineers at Suzuki have changed the design language of this new hatchback and this is the design language the new generation Suzuki products will follow. The front of the premium hatchback does resemble the Swift to a good extent with honeycomb mesh grille with a thin chrome lip, and headlamps that resemble somewhat the Swift also.
The silhouette of the Baleno makes it look like a long and much bigger than the other hatchbacks. The Baleno feels that it is longer than the other hatchbacks, however the difference isn’t much. The rear of the Baleno looks fresh and stylish. The CVT isn’t available on the top-of-the-line variant so it misses out on daytime running lamps with LEDs, alloy wheels and no chrome at the rear.
The Baleno’s interiors are modern and the CVT variant doesn’t get all the features that the Alpha variant comes with. The Baleno CVT comes with features that are useful like in-dash music system with bluetooth connectivity, reverse parking sensors, steering mounted audio controls, electrically folding ORVMs, all four power windows, rear defogger and rear wiper wash. The features that go missing are touchscreen infotainment system with CarPlay, driver’s seat height adjustment, front fog lamps, alloy wheels, keyless entry, push start and stop and even better quality speakers. The fit and finish and the quality of plastics on the Baleno are good. The look and feel of the materials too is good on the Baleno.
The fit and finish on the Baleno is good and it can be compared with that of the new-generation Swift. One of the strengths of the Baleno is its space. The Baleno’s front row seats are large and extremely comfortable. Even the head rests are good enough for tall people. Even the rear seats have good knee and head room with sufficient space even for tall people. The boot too is enough to hold luggage for an entire weekend. However, the loading lip for the boot is a bit too high, which could make loading and unloading a bit of an hassle. There is a rear charging point however there are no rear AC vents.
The 1.2-litre petrol engine on the Baleno is the K-Series mill, which is the same that Maruti has been using on other hatchbacks too. The NVH levels (noise, vibration and harshness) are very low and this engine is highly refined. As the Baleno is lighter than the Swift by about 100 kilograms, this engine power is adequate. Driving in city is a breeze. The power is sufficient and there is no lag or the surge for extra, especially while driving in city. Overtake is hassle-free as there is more than enough power available on the tap of your right foot.
The Baleno’s 1.2-litre petrol produces good power and the CVT box doesn’t have too much of a lag. The response timing isn’t slow and this is what makes the Baleno a good option to drive in city and even on the highways. It can cruise all day long at 100-120km/hr, and it is at about 140km/hr when the Baleno feels a bit jittery. The fuel efficiency of the Baleno CVT in city is about 12-13km/l. Now, this fuel efficiency is achieved under normal driving conditions and this isn’t very lean kind of driving either. This fuel efficiency is achieved thanks to the lighter body weight.
The ride of the Baleno is just fine, the manner in which the vehicle crashes into potholes isn’t sometime that we will highly appreciate. The Baleno is certainly a fun vehicle to drive and light body weight adds on to its peppiness. The steering wheel is light in weight and very easy to drive. This adds on to the convenience factor making it comfortable and easy to drive in bumper to bumper city traffic. Increase the speed and there is a slight increase in the weight of the steering wheel. The Baleno is extremely light and easy to drive in city and good enough to be driven on the highways too.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||83 @6000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||115 @4000|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||37|
|Tyre size||195 / 55 R16|
|UV Cut Glass||N|
|Reverse Parking Camera||N|
|Push Start and Stop||N|
Competition All Specs
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||83 @6000||82 @ 6000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||115@4000||115 @4000|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||37||45|
|Tyre size||195/ 55 R16||195/55 R16|
The Baleno as a product is a great value for money. In terms of the quality and it features that this premium hatchback offers on the CVT. Sadly, the top-of-the-line Baleno isn’t available with a CVT option and on many occasions buyers do prefer all features in their automatic hatchback. The price difference between the Baleno manual and automatic is more than a lakh of Rupees and this makes the Baleno CVT an expensive buy. Only if the company could have worked on the pricing of this hatchback for the automatic. In performance, this CVT has the best performance, response and fuel-efficiency too.