2022 Maruti Suzuki Baleno Review: Manual & Automatic Driven

More than 6 years after the Maruti Suzuki Baleno was first launched in the country, country's largest carmaker has launched the new generation of the premium hatchback in market. We drive its manual and Automatic variants.
02-Mar-22 02:30 PM IST
2022 Maruti Suzuki Baleno Review: Manual & Automatic Driven banner
Highlights
  • The new Baleno gets many changes on the inside and outside
  • AMT has replaced CVT as the Auto gearbox on the car
  • It is high on safety with features like Head Up Display and 360 camera

The Maruti Suzuki Baleno has crossed many a milestone in its successful journey in the market. It was the fastest car to race to 10 lakh sales and has consistently helped Maruti Suzuki garner a decent market share in the premium hatch space. It has also been the highest selling model of the brands' premium retail channel Nexa. The new-gen aims to take this success story forward. How? by changing with the times and loading itself with all the arsenal that will attract more tech savvy buyers towards it.

Also Read: 2022 Maruti Suzuki Baleno Launched In India

Design

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The new "NEXtre" LED DRLs are the signature look of the car. 

The new Baleno is built on the brands new “Crafter Futurism” design language and in fact is the first car to get it. The bonnet, front and rear bumpers are all new and yes, that makes a difference. The new LED DRLs are the signature look of the car but they are only available on the top-end variant. You also get projector headlamps but LEDs which Maruti calls NEXtre are again part of the Zeta and Alpha variants while halogens make it onto the lower Sigma and Delta trims. The wave design on the front grille and the chunky chrome strip add to the look.

Also read: 2022 Maruti Suzuki Baleno Launched In India; Prices Start At ₹ 6.35 Lakh

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L-shaped LED tail lamps now spill onto the tailgate. 

The profile remains the same apart from the redesigned 16-inch wheels that look good. It's at the rear that there are a few changes and the L-shaped LED tai llamps now spill onto the tailgate while there is a chunky chrome strip too. Overall though, when it comes to silhouette, the car looks very similar to the outgoing Baleno and its evident that this design is deliberate. Would we call this a new gen model? Not really, it's more of an evolution!

Tech and Interior

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Desgn of dashboard, climate control switches and AC vents is very appealing. 

Also Read: Maruti Suzuki Baleno Tech Review: Pragmatic Update For The Masses

You see a big difference between when you compare the cabin of this new age Baleno to the earlier version of the car. The big highlight here is the new 9-inch Smartplay Pro plus infotainment system, its big in size, has amazing clarity and fast response. The new design language is very evident here too and the way the dash, climate control switches and the AC vents have been designed is very appealing. An all-black cabin continues to make the Baleno look sporty and seats also offer good support. The instrument cluster has 2 big analog dials and with a digital screen in between them that gives a lot of information. Overall yes you do get a premium feel when you sit inside the new Baleno.

Also read: New Generation Maruti Suzuki Baleno Bags Over 25,000 Bookings, Deliveries Begin

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The new 9-inch Smartplay Pro plus infotainment system of the Baleno.

The touch screen system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which for now is wired but Maruti says will be wireless at a later stage owing to OTA updates. You can speak to the car and get a few things done for you, courtesy the Hi Suzuki voice command. The Baleno is also a connected car now as it becomes the first offering from the brand to get inbuilt Suzuki Connect, the company's connected car suite. It gets more than 40 features and to know more about them and all the other tech do watch Sahil's tech check on our YouTube channel.

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The instrument cluster has 2 big analog dials and with a digital screen in between them. 

Features like auto climate control, keyless entry and rear defogger are available from the base Sigma variant while the Delta also gets 7-inch Smartplay studio with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with steering mounted audio controls and electrically adjustable ORVMs. Apart from these features, the Zeta trim gets a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, push button start, driver's seat height adjuster, Hi Suzuki voice assistant and Suzuki connect. The top-of-the-line Alpha trim we got to drive exclusively gets features like Smartplay Pro plus, an Arkamys sound system and a leather wrapped steering wheel. Maruti Suzuki has decided against giving a sunroof even now, a feature other cars in the segment get.

Also read: Exclusive: New Maruti Baleno Gears Up For Big Exports Badged As Toyota Starlet And Toyota Glanza

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Maruti is now offering AC vents and 2 fast charging points on the 2nd row of the Baleno.

In the 2nd row, the new Baleno offers a decent amount of knee room while the shoulder room and the headroom are also not bad. However there's no armrest here and the recline of the seat is a bit upright, something that could make you feel tired on a long drive. Maruti is now offering AC vents and 2 fast charging points - 1 C type and 1 A type on the 2nd row which are good additions. You also gets adjustable headrests and 3-point seat belts for 2 passengers but the middle passenger misses out on both and gets a lap belt. The seat can be folded in a 60:40 format but only on the top 2 trims. What is impressive on the Baleno is its luggage space of 318 liters, you can fit in a decent number of bags in the boot as we discovered.

Dynamics

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New Baleno gets an advanced K- Series Dual Jet, Dual VVT engine.

The updated 1.2 litre Petrol engine on the Baleno males 88 bhp @ 6000 rpm and provides a peak Torque of 113 Nm @ 4,400 rpm. It's not a turbocharged engine, though we feel that Maruti Suzuki could truly democratise that tech. The car gets manual and AMT options, the latter replacing the CVT which was being offered earlier. The 5-speed manual is good fun to drive and thanks to the light clutch and the short clutch travel, you will not get tired of driving the car. The throws too are short and the gears slot in very well, which is great. The strong mid-range on the Baleno is very evident but the fact remains that the car has been tuned for fuel efficiency and you do get more than 22 kmpl on this manual which is fabulous.

Also read: 2022 Maruti Suzuki Baleno vs Hyundai i20 vs Tata Altroz vs Honda Jazz: Price Comparison

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Fuel efficiency has gone up by 15 % on the Automatic Baleno.

On to the AMT or AGS, the main aim is to give you a car that is more affordable than before and still gives better fuel efficiency when compared to the CVT. So the claimed fuel efficiency of as high as 22.9 kmpl here, which means an improvement of around 15 %. Yes it is not as responsive or as enthusiastic when compared to the CVT, especially if you've driven that before. It's something that you need to get used to but it is clearly the way forward for the Maruti looking at the number of cars the tech is being introduced in. Remember the idea is to give you added convenience at a more affordable cost.

Ride & Handling

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The car is now heavier by around 55-60 kgs which has made a difference to its dynamics.

We've never looked at the Baleno as being a sporty car but a lot has changed when it comes to ride and handling. One of the reasons is that the car is now heavier by around 55-60 kgs and it also gets a new suspension setup and yes it does the job well. Be it broken roads or potholes, the Baleno takes it in its stride and you don't get disturbed in the cabin. The suspension is well tuned to cater to anything that the road throws at it which is why the ride is much better than before. We would have liked some more weight on the steering wheel because it is a bit lifeless and some heaviness at higher speeds would have been great.

Safety

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A Head Up Display is seen in the premium hatch segment for the first time.

There's a big push towards safety from Maruti Suzuki on the new Baleno. There are a lot of features you like here, first is the fact that the company is now offering 6 airbags on the Baleno, at least on the top 2 variants and that's great. Then there's the Head Up Display which gives you a lot of information like current speed, time, gear position, real time fuel efficiency, etc. You can also adjust it for its brightness and its angle or completely shut it down. So it doesn't matter what you seat height is you can see the HUD clearly, always. Finally there's a 360-view camera which is again a great addition to this car. It really helps in parking the car in tight spaces and even while driving through traffic in congested lanes it's something that really comes to your advantage.

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360-view camera is  avery useful feature on the 2022 Baleno.

However both the 360-view camera and head up display are being offered only on the top Alpha trim of the car. But ISOFIX child seat mounts and dual airbags are standard on the new Baleno while ESP with hill hold is available on all AMTs and on Alpha manual.

Prices

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There are 7 variants to choose from 3 of which are AGS.

The new Baleno starts at Rs. 6.35 lakh and goes up to 9.49 lakh, ex-showroom. In this range there are 7 variants to choose from 3 of which are AGS. Its 2 main rivals in the market, the Hyundai i20 and Tata Altroz come with both Petrol and Diesel engine options while the Baleno is petrol-only. Prices for the i20 Petrol range between Rs. 6.98 lakh to Rs. 11.47 lakh while the Altroz Petrol is priced between Rs. 5.99 lakh and Rs. 9.39 lakh but remember both these cars also get turbo Petrol options.  

Verdict

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The new Baleno is a car for the present and even the future.

The new Baleno is new in many ways. While a different Auto gearbox has taken some of the spirit away it'll appeal to the money conscious.  So it really hasn't remained true to the premium tag! But it is all the tech that has really made the Baleno a car for the present and even the future, one that is more than capable of taking on its popular rivals. Watch out for 3-way battle soon on carandbike.

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