Suzuki Baleno Review

Indian Suzuki that’s big on space but light on your pocket

By Shahzad Sheikh

Click below to watch the video of our Suzuki Baleno Review.

Take a look at this Suzuki – affordable with prices starting from just … because it’s made in India, but definitely one for the shortlist if you’re a value-conscious buyer.

Suzuki Baleno Review

It’s not a stretched Swift, it got its own platform which is now shared with the Ignis. Under the bonnet is a 1.4-litre, 4-cylinder engine with 16 valves putting out 91bhp and 96lb ft of torque good for a 0-100kph run in a fraction over 10 seconds. Meanwhile sipping fuel at just 6.4L/100km.

Suzuki Baleno Review

Other markets do get more modern 1.0 and 1.2 litre engines, but we get this proven tech mated to a four-speed automatic and riving the front wheels. It comes as a GL and GLX with showroom prices as a AED51,500 ($14k) and AED56,500 ($15,400) with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty and 7-year dealer warranty.

Suzuki Baleno Review

However current offer price is AED43,000 ($11,700) and AED49,000 ($13,400) respectively. The GLX, as you see in the pics, gets alloy wheels, cruise control, climate control, six airbags vs two for the GL, plus rear camera and keyless entry and start.

Suzuki Baleno Review

There’s a hint of Nissan at the front and in the side contours, but the chrome strip gives the rear a distinctiveness. The boot is very deep and if you can manage the high lip you have to get stuff over, it could be quite practical, especially with the split folding rear seats.

Suzuki Baleno Review

Even more impressive is the rear seat space, even for my tall frame sitting behind the front seat set for me, there’s plenty of kneed and legroom, only those with high-standing hairstyles might be left wanting.

Suzuki Baleno Review

At the front the seat position is again spacious and comfortable with good visibility. The controls are straight forward, and it doesn’t want for much, although the exposed microphone certainly gives away the after-market nature of the in-car entertainment system (four-speakers and two-tweeters). Not sure how long that mic will last in this climate.

Suzuki Baleno Review

On the go, the ride isn’t bad, though there is a little noise intrusion. The performance is adequate and the handling is capable with some mild understeer and body lean but reasonable grip. It could be chuckable if it wasn’t for the stodgy, gloopy and imprecise steering which is without feel and has an over-eager windback. The perils of using early electric power steering I suppose.

Suzuki Baleno Review

It’s light enough and the car is agile with a good turning circle – plus it has a reversing camera – so driving it around town and parking it will never be an issue. But keener drivers are not likely to find satisfaction here.

Suzuki Baleno Review

So you might wonder why two compact hatchbacks in the current Suzuki range? This and the Swift. I haven’t driven a Swift in a while, but I remember them to be enjoyable to drive. So I reckon the Baleno is all about space and practicality whilst the Swift is more dynamic.

Suzuki Baleno Review

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