I’m a little late in keeping my promise of bringing to you a detailed highway run report of the Baleno RS. And there is a good reason for that. Good for my colleagues, that is, who have been using it more often than me. It was used on car shoots, a studio shoot and even our video review. The Baleno RS has been the most-preferred long-termer our team has had this month. It has done the Mumbai-Pune Expressway innumerable times and here’s how it coped up.
The additional power over the standard Baleno has helped churn out a good highway performance. The better in-gear acceleration has also enhanced the cruising capabilities. Triple digit speeds were acquired with ease. The adequate in-gear torque and smooth gear shifts also helped in making quick overtaking maneuvers. This hot hatch took our punishing highways, full of undulations and surprises, with aplomb. The damping is good and the car never made a big thud over most unnoticed potholes. With four people in, the car felt even more planted and stable around bends.
I initially thought that taking the car out on uncharted roads might be an issue. The protruding front bumper doesn’t make for a good approach angle. But thankfully, the car cleared all bumps and potholes without scraping even a bit. Remember, this isn’t an SUV to be taken off-road. So one just has to be a little cautious while taking that diversion or clearing a broken road. The Baleno RS will just do fine.
On a long drive, I realised that the seats are very soft for my liking. Not that they are uncomfortable, but I would have preferred them to be a little firmer especially with such a spacious second row. Even three occupants won’t feel cramped up thanks to the generous shoulder room. That said, a little more thigh support could have made the long drives more pleasant. Tall people might find the headroom to be inadequate. The visibility of the surroundings from inside the cabin is good and doesn’t make the rear seat claustrophobic at all. But then again, rear ac vents would have added made this premium hatchback truly delightful.
Convenience and boot space
The interior is not mundane like other hatchbacks. The color display odometer kept me busy toggling between the power-torque console and fuel efficiency chart. The touch screen system works like a charm and steering mounted buttons add to the convenience with the tilt adjustable steering. My phone was always paired to this unit, streaming music and attending calls through Bluetooth. The interior quality is good, but some panels on the door lack that strong build. And even if the doors have started to squeak, I’m sure greasing will help eliminate the noise. The boot space is surprisingly good as it could hold two big and two small bags with space left to fit a helmet too. But the loading lip is high and the loading area isn’t very wide. So packing heavy and big bags will require a little more effort on your part.
Vehicle stats - Highway
Variant - Baleno RS Alpha trim
Odo Reading - 12,654km
Positives of the report - good power and torque, confidence-inspiring braking, comfortable ride quality, big boot
Negatives of the report - soft seats, less rear headroom, limited under thigh support, no rear air vents
Fuel efficiency – 16.4kmpl