The Suzuki Baleno has been launched with three drivetrains: 1.2 VVT petrol manual & CVT and 1.3 DDiS diesel manual. I have now driven all three cars and will tell you all there is to know. The first impression you get of the Baleno is that this is an ample and spacious hatchback. Say goodbye to the memories of Suzuki forcing the idea that the Swift was the definition of a premium hatch.
Baleno has a mature feel about it, and ride quality is pretty good – front and back. The suspension has been tuned for comfort, but remains taut enough when you throw the car about a bit. Handling is also good, but slightly fatter tyres would’ve felt more satisfying. Yeah I don’t have to tell do I – that’s another sacrifice at the altar of fuel efficiency! The 190Nm of peak torque on the diesel unit comes in at just 2000 rpm. The result is that you need not frequently change gears in city traffic, and the car will pull along happily in 4th or even 5th gear. But I have to say the diesel could’ve benefited from a 6-speed manual gearbox instead of 5. The engine makes enough torque to justify the extra gear, but I suspect it was a financial decision that saw Maruti staying with its tried and tested (and large volumes) 5-speed manual – possibly to subsidise the CVT? Okay, so I am kidding about that last part!