Launched: 2022 Suzuki Baleno

The Suzuki Baleno has for long been the dark horse of the hatchback segment. There are several reasons as to why this Maruti product is so popular and why other manufacturers are even looking at incorporating this into their own product line. Now, the Japanese manufacturer has once again launched the latest version of the new Baleno.

Since the latter part of 2020, Suzuki has continuously broken its own sales records almost monthly. As of May 2022, it is now the top-selling brand in South-African brand, dethroning its German rivals; and with good reason. Since the manufacturer re-entered the country in 2008, it has continuously built its brand around relatively well-priced, reliable and economical vehicles. The Baleno, for us, is one of the stalwarts of this image.

While the previous model was naturally-aspirated with a 1.4 petrol engine, it had enough punch for decent performance. The new Baleno features the reliable, yet even more capable, 1.5 liter K15B petrol engine. We’ve already completed thousands of kilometers with this engine (also found in the Toyota Starlet, Urban Cruiser, Rumion, Suzuki Ertiga, and Jimny) and approve of this.

Whilst the engine produces most of its power in the higher revolutions, it does not agonizingly shout about, but remains relatively quiet on the open road. This engine delivers 77kW (at 6000 rpm) and 138 Nm (at 4 400 rpm). With the Baleno only weighing a feather-light 955kg, the motor does not struggle at all.

The new 1.5 litre engine is very eager and ready to overtake at low speeds. At national highway pace, we would have preferred a sixth gear to stabilize the revolutions, yet the highway sound itself is not unbearable.

This then, reflects positively on the claimed petrol consumption, which stands at 5.4l/100km for the five speed manual models, and at 5.7l/100km for the four-speed automatic models.

The new Baleno certainly looks the part with sharper and striking lines. The new GLX also features LED headlamps (with LED Daytime Running Lights), as well as 16 inch alloy wheels. Inside, the Baleno features a completely new design and is even more comfortable, with the interface itself being easier to use as well.

The Baleno will be sold in four derivatives, with both the GL and GLX being sold in either a manual or automatic gearbox. The entry-level model, namely the GL, even now features luxuries such as climate control (with rear air vents), electrically adjustable side mirrors, cruise control, 3 USB points (two type A and one type C port). These features were formally only designated for the more premium GLX model.

Furthermore, the GL model will also feature central remote locking, a multi-use leather steering wheel, rear parking sensors (with a reverse camera), a 12V socket, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 7-inch infotainment system (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto).

In terms of safety, the GL model also features two front airbags, ESP, ISOFIX points, Hill Hold Assistance, and an alarm.

The more premium GLX model includes all of the standard features of the GL model, as well as a full 360 degree “round view monitor” (bird’s eye view), a new heads-up display, a 9-inch high-resolution infotainment system (with Smart Vehicle Alerts), a 4.2-inch digital instrument cluster, additional lighting in the footwells and luggage area, chrome detailing on the door handles, and a stop/start keyless push system.

Moreover, the GLX will also be equipped with four extra airbags, privacy glass and automatic rear-view mirror dimming.

The new Baleno certainly provides much more than its competitors at this price point; and even this segment.

Readers will also be very pleased to know that the Baleno remains one of the most spacious hatchbacks on the market as it has enough space to comfortably seat five adults, whilst also being able to store 314 litres of luggage. With the rear seats able to fold in a 60:40 formation, the total storage capacity will expand to 1057 litres.

The new Baleno will be sold in array of colours such as Celestial Blue Pearl Metallic, Luxe Beige Pearl Metallic, Opulent Red Pearl Metallic, Splendid Silver Pearl Metallic, Grandeur Grey Metallic, Arctic White Pearl, and Midnight Black Pearl.

All Baleno models will be sold with a 5-year / 200 000km mechanical warranty, a 4-year / 60 000km service plan and a 6-year / unlimited km anti-corrosion warranty. The Baleno then sees a two year additional warranty, and a year-longer service plan than the similar Maruti-produced Toyota Starlet.

Lastly, and on this point, the prices of the Baleno are also somewhat lower than the Starlet, while featuring similar product specifications.

Price list:

Baleno 1.5 GL manual (5-speed):               R255 900

Baleno 1.5 GL automatic (4-speed):          R245 900

Baleno 1.5 GLX manual (5-speed):            R275 900

Baleno 1.5 GLX automatic (4-speed):       R295 900

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