It’s now well established that Toyota will badge engineer the Maruti Suzuki Baleno premium hatchback and sell it in India. This is expected to be somewhat like the Nissan Micra and its badge engineered sibling, the Renault Pulse. While the Toyota badged Baleno is a year or two away from a commercial launch in India, here is a speculative render that will give you an idea of what the car could look like.
As seen in the render, the Toyota-badged Baleno is expected to have completely different front-end and rear-end styling. This is crucial as Toyota can’t be seen selling the baleno with minor stylistic changes and with just the Toyota badging. The Japanese automaker will have to dig deep into its design talent and come up with something that looks quite striking.
This aspect assumes even more criticality as the Toyota-badged Baleno is expected to be pricier than the Maruti version. This means that the buyer will expect that something extra from the premium hatchback with the Toyota nameplate.
We expect the mechanicals to be carried over without much changes. The 1.2 liter K-Series petrol engine that’s naturally aspirated to produce 82 Bhp and 114 Nm is likely to be used without any changes. A 5 speed manual and a CVT automatic gearbox options could be offered as well.
Considering that Maruti is developing a new, small capacity diesel engine for use across its budget cars, the Toyota-badged Baleno could get this engine rather than the Fiat Multijet unit that the car uses currently. The 1 liter, 3 cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 100 Bhp and 150 Nm, and a 5 speed manual gearbox is also expected to be offered on the Toyota Baleno.
In terms of features, the Baleno badged as a Toyota is expected to be at par or even better than the Maruti badged version considering the price premium that it is likely to sell at. We’re yet to see test mules of this car on Indian roads. Keep your eyes peeled out for them as it can’t be long before Toyota starts testing its own version of the Baleno ahead of the market launch.