With my long-term Duster gone, I was in the need of a car to drive for a few days and I took this opportunity to use the Baleno for the first time since it joined our long term fleet. First impressions about the car were very positive, this time the engineers at Maruti Suzuki have given special emphasis to the quality of the materials and it shows in the interiors of the Baleno. The design, of course, is quite attractive and I’m yet to hear a negative word about the looks of the Baleno from anyone. Naturally, both these things bode well for future Maruti products.
However, my real impressions about the Baleno began when I drove it. Our car is the petrol version, and powered by the ubiquitous 1.2-litre engine, which in this case delivers good performance. The engine likes to rev and responds well to throttle inputs, pair that with a smooth-shifting gearbox and the Baleno makes for quite a fun driver’s car. The suspension has also been well setup, and the car handles bad roads quite well. In fact, like always, my only gripe with the car is that it could use a bit more power, as the chassis certainly seems capable of handling it. Naturally, this means the RS version of the Baleno should be great fun to drive when it hits our market later this year.
A distinct factor I’ve been noticing on Baleno’s been how heavily tinted the glasshouse of the car is. This, naturally, will be very helpful when the summer is here and should definitely help with the performance of the air-conditioning system of the car. And the interior space is quite well managed, making the car comfortable for five adults to travel in.
The one thing I would now like to try is the diesel version of the Baleno, with its higher torque, that could possibly be even more fun to drive in urban conditions.