Maruti Suzuki launched the 2022 Baleno in India last month, with prices ranging from 6.35 lakh for the base Sigma variant to 9.49 lakh for the top-end Alpha automatic trim. Because it now offers many more changes than its pre-facelift version, Maruti Suzuki calls it the “New Age Baleno”.However, the platform and powertrain remain unchanged.
Because the Premium hatchback segment already has some feature-packed cars like the Altroz and i20, it is now critical for Maruti Suzuki to offer some other unique features to differentiate the Baleno in the segment. As a result, they have decided to upgrade the new Baleno, and technology has been one of the major focus areas in the development of this new premium hatchback.
I’ve tested almost every variant of the New Age Baleno and also had the opportunity to take a test drive at the nearest Nexa showroom. As a result, I believe I am now qualified to provide you with an unbiased opinion on this vehicle.So Can we skip to the good part now?
What I like about Baleno
First and foremost, Baleno’s latest design appeals to me. It has a new bumper as well as a chrome grille garnish that extends to the angular LED projector headlamps with LED DRLs. The projector headlamps are available starting with the base model. It will depend on the variants whether they are led or halogen. The shoulder line has been updated and looks more modern than before. The predecessor’s wing mirrors with integrated turn indicators and chrome door handle, as well as the 16-inch alloy wheels, have been carried over.
The cabin layout has also been revised, with the biggest highlight being the new dashboard, which features a larger and more advanced 9-inch Smartplay Pro+ standalone touchscreen unit that takes centre stage. It gets a completely new interface and the best thing about the infotainment system is that it is responsive to touch, buttery smooth, and high resolution. The New Age Baleno also includes over 40 connected car features, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Among the features are Alexa assistance, head-up Display, wireless charging, a new sound system with ARKAMYS tuning, and a 360-degree camera view.
What is the best feature of the new Maruti Suzuki Baleno? The 6 airbags provide protection. Yes, it is true that Maruti Suzuki offers 6 airbags in the new Baleno, not only in the top variant Alpha but also in the Zeta variant. Furthermore, the Baleno Zeta and Alpha variants now have rear AC vents.
When it comes to engine performance, Japanese engines are always highly refined, providing excellent fuel efficiency and punchy performance. The Baleno is no exception. The new Baleno gets an advanced K-Series Dual Jet, Dual VVT engine. This 1.2 L K series Dual Jet Dual VVT Engine with ISS (Idle Start Stop) produces 88 bhp and 113 Nm of peak torque. It now has manual and AMT transmission options, with the latter replacing the CVT that was previously available.
It has a highly refined engine and a very good performance. Fuel efficiency is claimed to be 22.94 kmpl (Manual Transmission), which seems promising. Manual transmission fans will appreciate the light clutch that makes driving in traffic a breeze. Moreover, the gearbox has smooth, short throws, which is nice to row through. In terms of ride quality and handling, the car is still quite sophisticated.
The new Baleno has a good amount of knee room, as well as shoulder and headroom, and as previously mentioned, Maruti is now offering rear AC vents, which adds some comfort. You also get adjustable headrests and 3-point seat belts for two passengers, but the middle passenger gets a lap belt instead. The seat can be folded in a 60:40 configuration on the top two trims only. The luggage space of 318 litres on the Baleno is impressive.
What I don’t like about Baleno
There is no doubt that the 2022 Baleno provides excellent features; however, there are some aspects that could be improved, such as The fog lamps are only available in the Top Alpha variant. Even in the top variant of the Baleno, there is no rear armrest, which is a little disappointing. A cooled glovebox, a tyre pressure monitor, a sunroof, and a wireless phone charger are also missing.
Despite the fact that the interior layout is now more refreshed and premium than the previous version, the touch and feel of the materials remain the same, which could be improved.
Baleno’s naturally aspirated petrol engine is lovely, but considering its rivals, Altroz and i20 have diesel and turbo petrol engines as well. It’s okay if Suzuki does not want to offer diesel engines since their petrol engines are also highly fuel-efficient, but they should introduce a turbo petrol engine in the Baleno for performance lovers.