First Drive Impression of the Maruti Baleno
Maruti Nexa showrooms across India are being flooded with inquiry about the recently launched Maruti Baleno. It seems as if Maruti has another game changer on its hands.
The premium hatchback segment was originally started by Maruti when they launched the Swift wat back in 2005. But after a very long time, Maruti has again launched another product in this segment. The car will compete against highly accomplished products like the Hyundai i20 and the Honda Jazz.
Check the technical specifications comparison Here
Maruti has definitely upped its ante with this car. I personally love the way this car looks. The design is based on the Liquid Flow technology and the side view definitely reflects the design theme.
The chrome finish on the windows and the blackened pillars give a good finishing touch and add to the refined and elegant look of the car. The car is quite big and has a good stance on the road. The measurement read 3995 mm long and 1745 mm wide.
Inside the car, the interiors are all black. Maruti has tried to match Hyundai in the interiors game, but I feel it falls a bit short. The plastic and upholstery could have been a bit more upmarket. As it stands, the overall feel inside the car is not bad but not that you will sit inside the car and go Woooowww !!
The 7 inch touchscreen is a carryover from the S Cross and Ciaz and looks good on the center console. A big plus is the first in the segment Apple CarPlay with which your iPhone gets paired with the car’s touchscreen. The system is really great. Android users, you need to wait a bit for a similar system or shift to the iPhone.
Space wise the car is a hit. The rear seats are roomy and can sit 3 people comfortably. The positioning and legroom is good and generous. The front seats are really comfortable, spacious and you enjoy the long drive. The boot space is adequate and can store large suitcases but the loading lip is a bit high.
But what we wanted to know was how does the car perform on roads??
The car is offered in two options – 1.2 Maruti petrol engine and 1.3 Fiat Diesel engine. The diesel engine is the same engine that powers the Swift, but as the Baleno is a bit lighter the car is more responsive to power thrusts. The car is a pleasure to drive in the City but beyond 3000 rpm you need to shift the gears to a higher range to get continuous power delivery, otherwise there is a lag experienced. But compared to the others, the NVH levels on this engine are quite high and the motor is not as subdued and refined as the i20 or the Jazz. A shining star here is the 27.39 kmpl mileage as said by the company.
The driving pleasure is great as the car is nimble to drive but still gives the driver a sporty and powerful feeling when negotiating the roads.
Coming to the CVT, the Baleno has an option of CVT only in the Delta trim. The CVT is good to drive in the city but on the highway its performance falls short. The power delivery and speed don’t match up and puts the engine under duress.
The suspension is superbly fitted with the car handling bad roads quite smoothly and hence the in cabin ride is comfortable even with potholes and bumps.
Overall a great package from Maruti and with customers lining up at the showrooms , as is evident we are bound to see many specimens on the road soon. Price wise the company has offered a better deal than the competitors (Read Here) and so a bit of miserliness on the interiors can be compromised with.
- Automobile Analyst
Jainee P. Gordhandas