iOS on the Go
I, sort of, stole our long-term Baleno from Kapil. Needless to say, he was pretty happy with the car for the short time that he had it. I conned him into giving it to me for a few days, and haven’t parted with the keys since.
You see, I had driven it on the track – and within the first couple of corners I knew that Maruti was on to something. Then, when we first got our long-termer, I drove it for a couple of days and really enjoyed it – but gave it up in the name of democracy. Well, democracy be damned!
The thing is that I’m enjoying driving this car on a daily basis way more than I thought I would. The ride is sublime, and so I can fly over most obstacles in the road – rather than having to crawl over them in my 23-year-old BMW. Now, the 1.2-litre petrol motor may not have the kind of grunt that I’d like – but the advantage of this motor is that (in typical Suzuki style) it just loves to rev. Which is perfect, because I love to rev it.
So, every gear change takes place just shy of the redline at 7,000rpm. The red and yellow digital readouts for torque and power in the instrument cluster are virtually always running at maximum. The gear indicator is hoping against hope that I’ll actually take a hint and shift up to fifth, as indicated – but I’m still in second, and have no intention of letting the valves grow lazy. The experience is exhilarating – and addictive. And the best part is that I’ve barely breached the speed limit, and the Baleno is still giving me 13km/l. Incredible!
To add to the levels of enjoyment is a slick shifting manual gearbox. It doesn’t exactly slot into gear with precision, but the throws are short and manoeuvring the gear lever is easily done. Equally light is the clutch pedal. So even sitting in traffic isn’t cause for complaint. I just wish some of the materials in the interior were slightly better quality. The seats, though, I have to say, are very good.
The pièce de résistance, however, is the Apple CarPlay. I’ve gotten so used to Siri reading out my messages, and responding to them by voice prompt, that I’m not sure how I’ll survive without her – or the Baleno.
But, alas, I really ought to return the car to its rightful temporary owner. Well, I guess we’ll just have to see how democratic I’m feeling in the coming month…