Most of you would remember that until October 2015, the Hyundai Elite i20 was the go-to choice for most premium hatchback buyers in India. However, the advent of the Maruti Baleno has taken much of the limelight away from the most expensive hatchback from the Indian subsidiary of the Korean auto giant.
The Elite i20 offers a powerful diesel engine, has a great build quality, and even offers a more premium cabin. However, a quick look at the sales figures of last 12 months show that the sales numbers of Baleno are higher than those of the Elite i20 by 45-70% every month. So, what makes the Baleno a LOT more popular than the Elite i20? Here are the 5 main reasons –
It’s said that Maruti has a ‘Midas touch’ – Any car it launches turns into a huge success. Well, Maruti has a wide service network and its cars have been fairly reliable and easy to maintain. The low cost of maintenance along with the wide service network help Maruti cars have a strong resale value. Together, all these factors attract a majority of new car buyers towards a Maruti car. This is also a big reason for the great sales performance of the Baleno.
‘Kitna deti hai?’ – this is a question that’s on the mind of every Indian car buyer. And this is exactly where the Baleno ends up enjoying a great advantage over the Hyundai Elite i20. The Maruti Baleno petrol offers an ARAI-tested mileage of 21.4 kmpl. The powerful RS variant offers 21.1 kmpl, which is commendable if you look at the power advantage on offer. The diesel variant of the Baleno is among the most frugal cars on sale in India. It offers an ARAI-tested mileage of 27.3 kmpl. The oil burner offers a maximum power of 74 bhp.
In comparison, the Elite i20 Diesel offers 81.86 bhp and an ARAI-tested mileage of 18.6 kmpl. Hence, while the diesel engine ends up offering significantly more power than what the Baleno D does, it ends up being much less fuel efficient. Even the petrol engine of the Elite i20 manages to return only 19.8 kmpl, which is lesser than the 21.4 kmpl of the Baleno. The higher fuel efficiency enables the Baleno enjoy a much higher popularity.
Well-priced CVT AT
The Baleno petrol is available with an optional CVT automatic transmission. The top-end Baleno 1.2 CVT costs Rs 8.46 lakh. which is only Rs 70,000 more than the MT variant of the top-end Baleno 1.2. Moreover, the Elite i20 is yet to get an automatic transmission for its petrol-powered Elite i20. Hyundai used to sell a 1.4-litre Auto variant of the pre-facelift Elite i20, which was discontinued with the introduction of the facelift model earlier this year. This gives another brownie point to the Baleno.
The Maruti Baleno RS is the ‘hot-hatch’ variant of the Baleno. It not only offers significantly more power than the regular variants but is also only marginally less frugal than the K12 petrol engine-powered Baleno – the RS offers 21.1 kmpl while the ‘normal’ petrol variant offers 21.4 kmpl. Also, the RS looks hotter than the regular variants due to the subtle body kit it carries. The Baleno RS helps the premium hatchback find 1000-2000 additional buyers every month.
Petrol much better to drive than i20
The Maruti Baleno is powered by a 1.2-litre K12 engine that outputs 83 bhp. Thanks to the lightweight HEARTECT platform, the top-end variant of the car weighs just 865 KGs. In comparison, the Hyundai Elite i20 is powered by a 1.2-litre Kappa engine that outputs 82 bhp. The Elite i20 tips the scales at 1066 KGs. No surprise, then, that the Baleno ends up being a stronger performer than the Elite i20. Moreover, the lower weight also helps the car offer a higher mileage. While both 1.2 K12 and 1.2 Kappa are rev-happy units, it’s actually the Baleno’s motor that feels smoother and a tad more refined.