The new Suzuki Baleno, which goes on sale this month, has been making waves globally since it made its world debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The streamlined hatchback features a head-turning design with short overhangs, sculpted flanks and a strong identity that is both individual and unmistakably Suzuki. Larger than the highly popular Swift, it also offers a spacious, intelligently packaged interior and comprehensive equipment levels.
The new Suzuki Baleno is powered by the tried and tested K14B 1,4-litre engine. The normally aspirated four-cylinder unit already enjoys a reputation for responsive performance and excellent fuel economy, and extends those attributes to its application here.
The new Baleno’s focus on lightweight construction ensures that the engine’s enthusiasm is put to the best possible use, ensuring brisk performance.
Produced in India for international markets, including Japan, the Baleno has already posted sales of more than 100 000 units in just 12 months in India alone, with 60 000 back orders and a 33-week waiting period. It is currently exported to more than 30 markets around the world, including Europe and Australia.
The Baleno joins Suzuki’s extensive range of compact cars, including hatchbacks, sedans, MPVs, SUVs and crossovers, and is expected to further entrench the brand’s reputation for producing excellent compact cars that express the state of the small car art.
“The new Baleno adds a larger and more spacious hatchback to our new car portfolio,” says Charl Grobler, manager of sales and product planning at Suzuki Auto South Africa. “It’s ideal for individuals and families seeking the extra comfort and convenience of larger hatchback, but don’t want to give up the agility and efficiency of the Swift.”
The first impression of the new Suzuki Baleno’s interior is of space: the cabin feels much roomier than its compact exterior proportions suggest. That’s especially true of the rear bench seat, which is wide enough for three occupants, and offers ample shoulder room, with legroom to match.
The dashboard tapers towards the passenger side door, and incorporates a glove compartment ahead of the front passenger. Smart, dark soft-touch surfaces and silver accents create an elegant impression, augmented by the charcoal fabric upholstery.
Ample storage is provided via the glove compartment, as well a storage binnacles in the centre console and the bottom of the centre stack. The front doors get storage pockets too, while cup holders and bottle holders are provided front and rear.
The new Baleno is equipped with a comprehensive array of active and passive safety systems, all operating against the backdrop of its TECT-optimised body shell, which enhances crashworthiness through efficient dispersion of impact forces.
All Baleno models come with ABS anti-lock brakes, augmented electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency braking assistance (EBA). Dual front airbags are standard too, while GLX models also get side and curtain airbags.
The tried and trusted K14B four-cylinder unit is already a popular choice in the Swift, Ertiga and Ciaz model ranges, and produces 68 kW of maximum power at 6 000 r/min, combined with a torque peak of 130 Nm at 4 200 r/min.
Highlights of the normally aspirated, 1 373 cc power unit includes four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing and multipoint fuel injection, all conspiring to deliver an optimum combination of power and economy.
The new Baleno is covered by a standard three-year/100 000 km warranty, as well as a four-year/60 000 km service plan. Services are at 15 000 km/12 month intervals.
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