Maruti Suzuki unveiled the brand-new Fronx crossover SUV at the recently held 16th edition of the Auto Expo. Earlier, we were under the impression that Maruti Suzuki's new crossover would be a beefed-up Baleno, but now we know that the Maruti Suzuki Fronx is a mid-size version of the Grant Vitara. It has previously been spotted being tested under camouflage several times. The Fronx SUV will be positioned between the Brezza and the Baleno, which is one of the most popular and highest-selling premium hatchbacks in the country. Let's take a closer look at what distinguishes the Fronx from the Baleno. Here's a comparison between the two in terms of performance, features, rivals, and more.
The Fronx compact SUV will be available with two petrol engine options – a 1.2-litre K-Series Dual Jet Dual VVT engine, which produces 113Nm of peak torque at 4,400rpm and 89bhp of maximum power at 6,000rpm, and a 1.0-litre K-Series turbo petrol engine, which churns out 147.6Nm of torque between 2,000 and 4,500rpm and 99bhp at 5,500rpm. The engine will be available with a 6-speed Automatic gearbox with paddle shifters, a 5-speed Manual transmission, and a 5-speed AMT. Interestingly, it also gets an all-wheel-drive system.
In terms of powertrains, the Baleno gets a single-engine option – a 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated unit, with an idle stop/start technology, producing 88.5bhp and 113Nm. This can be mated to either a five-speed manual or Maruti's AGS automated manual transmission. The CVT has been discontinued. In terms of fuel economy, the manual variant returns a respectable 22.3km/l and the AGS-equipped Baleno offers 22.9km/l.
Interior and Features
The newly introduced Fronx has a similar cabin layout. The interior features a dual-tone design scheme. To emphasise its rugged appearance, the dashboard has a distinctive matte coating, which resembles forged metal, and silver inserts. The list of features includes a heads-up display, rectangular air vents, a flat-bottomed three-spoke steering wheel with buttons, and a floating nine-inch SmartPlay Pro+ touchscreen infotainment system. The car also gets a 360-degree camera and Suzuki Connect, which offers over 40 advanced connected car features.
The most significant changes have been made to the interior of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno, which now gets a first-in-class head-up display and a 360-degree camera. The Baleno has a 9-inch SmartPlay Pro+ Infotainment system. The new infotainment system features a high-definition display, an easy-to-use user interface, and advanced Voice Assist. It also includes premium sound acoustic tuning via ‘Surround Sense,’ which is powered by ARKAMYS. The New Age Baleno comes standard with Suzuki Connect, the next-generation telematics technology, and 6 airbags (driver, co-driver, side and curtain), along with ESP and Hill Hold Assist. Other standard safety features include ABS with EBD, driver and co-driver seat belt reminders, rear parking sensors, and a high-speed alert system.
The Fronx, a crossover SUV, shares the same platform as the Baleno. Because of this, it may appear to be a large vehicle, but its dimensions are actually quite similar to those of the Baleno hatchback. For reasons like tax benefits, both of these models are under 4 metres in length. The Fronx is only slightly bigger than the Baleno, but their wheelbases are the same. Interestingly, compared to the Baleno, the Fronx has a slightly smaller boot.
The Maruti Fronx is expected to have a starting price of around Rs 8 lakh (ex-showroom) – around a lakh more than the corresponding 1.2-litre petrol variants of the Baleno. The Fronx is expected to cost Rs 12 lakh (ex-showroom) for the top automatic variant with the 1-litre BoosterJet unit. For comparison, the Baleno costs between Rs 6.49 lakh and Rs 9.71 lakh (ex-showroom).
The Fronx is a potential competitor to cars from hatchbacks and subcompact SUV segments, for it offers an interesting balance between the two. It will probably be initially viewed as a substitute for the Baleno and the Brezza. It may also rival other subcompact SUVs, like the Kia Sonet, Renault Kiger, Mahindra XUV300, Nissan Magnite, Tata Nexon, and Hyundai Venue.
The Baleno, on the other hand, is purely considered a hatchback and competes with the Honda Jazz, Hyundai i20, and Tata Altroz.