From India, to the world. That’s been the story of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno, a hatchback that’s built right here in India, and exported to countries around the world, from Japan to the UK. And it’s in Ireland that the hatchback has won the prestigious ‘Irish Small Car of the Year’ award, a testament to the quality of the vehicle built by Maruti Suzuki.
33 motoring writers got together to judge 42 cars, before giving out awards. Even in India, the Baleno has been a massive success, what with Maruti selling about 10,000 units each month. In fact, the car is now the country’s best selling premium hatchback.
What does Ireland get in the Baleno sold there?
Firstly, there’s no diesel on offer. Instead Suzuki offers the Baleno with 2 petrol engine options – a 1.2 liter-4 cylinder naturally aspirated K-Series motor with a mild hybrid system (SHVS) putting out 89 Bhp, and a 1 liter-3 cylinder BoosterJet turbocharged motor with 110 Bhp-170 Nm on tap.
In terms of equipment on offer, the Irish-spec car gets six airbags, ABS+EBD 16-inch alloy wheels, HIDs for headlamps, satellite navigation, automatic climate control, cruise control with speed limiter, radar brake support and a digital radio.
Who is the car aimed at?
Folks who find the Swift too cramped are target customers of the Baleno. These are the people who want a small city hatchback, and who think that the S-Cross and Vitara are too large and unwieldy for their needs. In terms of pricing too, the premium hatch is pegged between the Swift and the S-Cross/Vitara.
Anything new with the India-spec Baleno?
Oh yes! A powerful, new version of the car is in the works for the Indian market, and it’ll wear the RS moniker. The Baleno RS is just weeks away from launch, and promises to be one of the quickest, affordable hot hatchbacks in the country. The car will feature the 1 liter-3 cylinder Boosterjet turbo petrol engine putting out 110 Bhp-170 Nm. Significantly lighter than competition, read Punto Abarth and Polo GT TSI, the Baleno RS promises to be a firecracker.