Suzuki is well known globally for its expertise in small cars and the new Baleno hatchback is its latest example. The advance press information flatters but after driving it on a long testing route, I discovered it does not deceive. I was pleasantly surprised that it is very spacious, and it has a wonderful new 1.0 litre Direct Injection turbocharged Boosterjet engine, that really performs.
It goes on sale here in early June from €17,995 for the SZ-T Boosterjet engine with manual transmission.
The Baleno is being called the ‘big small car’ because it boasts the longest interior space in its class) and they say it is designed to attract buyers such as younger couples who need more space, and people downsizing from small family models.
Since launching its first car in 1955, the Suzulight, Suzuki has produced a vast range of significant models each tailored to the needs of its time. And historically, Suzuki has earned high acclaim for its stylish, city oriented designs, compact and easy to manage dimensions while also offering good performance, favourable fuel economy and low emissions.
The new Baleno introduces a ‘Liquid Flow’ design theme and with its compact body, roomy interior and efficient powertrains all on a new generation platform. Baleno offers style, utility, and fun driving performance combined with good fuel efficiency.
A larger car than Swift at 3.99 metres long, Baleno offers a more rational choice for buyers looking for extra interior space and a larger boot capacity but may not be looking to move up in size to a Vitara or S-Cross. Baleno offers the best tandem distance in its class which is the measurement taken between the front and rear seats.
The ‘Liquid Flow’ design theme of Baleno evokes an energetic mass of liquid in motion, using curving lines, expressive surfaces and a low and wide silhouette helps underline a strong and compelling look.
Seen from the front the body opens outward from the cabin. From the side, character lines create flowing highlights and the forward sloping rear hatch suggests the moving forward of dynamic energy. This sophisticated design helps create the impression of power and elegance.
The instrument panel is also characterised by the ‘liquid flow theme’ with its curving lines and silver accents together with reddish-amber illuminations that underline the cabin’s sense of style.
Suzuki has developed a new platform strategy for its future models and the Baleno is the first with this new generation platform to be introduced in Europe.
This new platform targets the reduction of weight as well as further increased rigidity. For the new Baleno, body rigidity has been enhanced by approximately 10 per cent and with the use of a new smoother shaped structure the total vehicle weight has been reduced by around 15 per cent.
The body embodies Suzuki’s Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) concept for occupant protecting impact absorption and low weight. Extensive use of ultra high tensile steel helps to make the new Baleno outstandingly crashworthy and fuel efficient.
Standard equipment for all Baleno models in the range is comprehensive and the SZ-T model (Available with 1.0-litre Boosterjet) includes six airbags, 16-inch alloy wheels, HID headlights, air conditioning, satellite navigation, DAB Radio with USB and Bluetooth connectivity, rear privacy glass and front electric windows.
The SZ5 (Boosterjet and SHVS model) adds automatic climate control, rear electric windows, 4.2 inch central colour trip display, LED rear lights, Adaptive Cruise Control and Radar Brake Support .
Baleno is available in the following six colours with metallic paint available as a €370 option. The optional Ray Blue metallic paint uses luminescent elements to create more colour variation and gives the impression of a green hue in bright sunlight that turns to a red tinge when in shaded light.
In addition to the SZ-T 1.0-litre Boosterjet with manual transmission (M/T) at €17,995, the SZ5 1.0-litre Boosterjet M/T has a price-tag of €19,495 (or with automatic transmission – €22,495). The smart hybrid version – the SZ5 1.2–litre SHVS M/T is priced at €18,995.
The luggage area has a capacity of 320 litres (VDA) with the rear seat in its upright position and the rear seat and luggage board can also be repositioned to suit luggage requirements. Luggage capacity with the rear seats folded is 756 litres and 1,085 litres is available if fully loaded to the roof.
After the debut of Boosterjet in the Vitara S, the engine technology continues for the new Baleno model with an all new 1.0-litre three cylinder version. Offering the same level of power and torque of a much larger capacity normally aspirated engine (1.8-litre), it delivers an effortless drive and genuine driving pleasure.
This unit has an output of 111PS and is also Direct Injection turbocharged (DITC). The new engine has very compact dimensions and offers 170Nm of torque available from 2,000rpm through to 3,500rpm. The optional six speed automatic transmission equipped model offers 160Nm of torque and is available slightly earlier at just 1,500rpm through to 4,000rpm.
Boosterjet technology is developed by Suzuki and is characterised by improved fuel efficiency and driving pleasure made possible by using a small displacement, high torque turbocharger.
The latest Boosterjet engine for Baleno follows Suzuki’s ethos of reducing weight and size with added response and smooth power delivery to achieve the characteristics Suzuki engines are well renowned for.
The Baleno’s CO2 emissions are low thanks to the use of an all new high tensile steel platform and other weight saving measures in the body plus the latest engine technology. CO2 emissions are 105g/km for the 1.0-litre Boosterjet with manual transmission and 94g/km for the 1.2-litre with SHVS.
The new Baleno with 1.0 Boosterjet engine requires servicing annually or at 15,000 kilometers and the 1.2-litre SHVS model has a service interval of 20,000 kilometers. Swift and Jimny service intervals remain at 15,000 kilometers together with Vitara S 1.4-litre Boosterjet. Celerio, S-Cross and 1.6-litre Vitara models all require servicing at 20,000 kilometers.