The premium hatchback segment in India is about to intensify by a fair margin now that the country’s biggest player Maruti Suzuki prepares to launch the all-new Baleno later this month. Armed with a fresh new global design language and a few segment-defining features, the new Baleno is set to take on the likes of Honda Jazz, Hyundai i20 and the Volkswagen Polo.
While we have a fresh load of pictures and plenty of details in hand, the price range for this new model is still not clear. Maruti, however, is expected to price the new Baleno quite competitively for a premium hatch. Until then, here’s a closer look at the Baleno straight from the first drive event that’s underway in Jaipur.
The Baleno boasts of Suzuki’s new-age design language seen in the form of the new y-shaped grille and sweptback headlights. The front-end is a bit reminiscent of the Swift and the old Kizashi.
The side profile is characterised by a long and low roofline that ends at a rather steeply raked C-pillar. Overall, the car appears to have a flat stance, albeit with muscular wheel arches and a strong baseline.
Inside, the first design bit that demands your attention is the all-new dashboard finished in all-black as well as silver accents. Overall, the cabin looks vividly different from a staple Maruti product.
When it comes to ergonomics, the Baleno has an upper hand over the old Swift. For starters, the centre console is a lot less cluttered and there is a lot more equipment on offer as well.
Except for the new silver garnish, the door pad looks quite similar to that of the Swift. The chrome-finished door handle features a similar look as well.
On top-spec variants, Maruti is offering climate control, steering mounted audio controls, touch screen infotainment system, multicolour instrument cluster and lots more.
We have the familiar 1.2-litre naturally aspirated K-Series petrol engine as well as a Fiat-derived 1.3-litre turbo diesel engine. What’s new here is the CVT gearbox, seen for the first time in a Maruti.
The 1.3-litre diesel engine makes 75bhp of power and 190Nm of torque – it may seem less on paper but thanks to the low kerb weight of 950kg, the Baleno is expected to be quite sprightly.
Set to go on sale later this month, the new Baleno will go up against other premium hatchbacks including the Honda Jazz, Hyundai i20 and the Volkswagen Polo.