After last month’s teaser, Maruti Suzuki announced the premiere of the new Suzuki Baleno in India featuring a number of visual and technological updates. While the company refers to the model as a new generation, it is based on the platform of the existing Baleno that was unveiled in 2015 and updated in 2019.
Visually, the Baleno received a more upscale look mostly thanks to the redesigned face doing away with the rounded features of its predecessor. The grille is wider, the bumper intakes are connected and the LED headlights have a new shape looking more aggressive than before. Due to the identical greenhouse and the overall silhouette, the profile is instantly recognizable, however the body panels are new, putting more emphasis on the shoulders and the wheelarches. At the back, the new LED taillights are more angular and extend into the tailgate, while the bumper is slightly redesigned.
The updates are equally important inside the cabin where we find a fully redesigned dashboard. Tech features include the new 9-inch touchscreen incorporating the Suzuki SmartPlay Pro+ infotainment, a 360-degree camera, a retractable color head-up display showing important information (speed, rpm, fuel consumption etc.), and a Surround Sense audio system by Arcamys.
The redesigned climate controls and the new steering wheel are nice touches bringing the Baleno into the modern era. Things are looking better for the rear passengers as well since Suzuki added refined seat cushions, rear air-conditioning vents, and USB ports for charging.
Safety equipment includes six airbags, ESP, Hill Hold Assist, ABS with EBD, ESP, seatbelt reminders, and a High Speed Alert system. Those may don’t sound like much for EU and US standards where most models get a full suite of ADAS features, but they are important for the Indian market.
The sub-compact hatchback measures 3,990 mm (157 inches) long, 1,745 mm (68.7 inches) wide, and 1,500 mm (59 inches) tall, with a wheelbase of 2,520 mm (99 inches). It retains Suzuki’s Heartect platform but offers better comfort and handling compared to its predecessor thanks to a new suspension setup, larger 14-inch disc brakes, and improved NVH.
Under the bonnet there is a naturally aspirated 1.2-liter K-Series Dual Jet gasoline engine with a start-stop system and no electrical assistance, producing 89 hp (66 kW / 90 PS) and 113 Nm (83.3 lb-ft) of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed AGS automatic that replaces the old CVT.
Besides India where sales of the current generation Baleno have exceeded one million units, the new model will be exported to other markets including Africa, South America, and the Middle East. The Baleno was discontinued from the UK and Europe in 2019 and 2020 respectively, so we don’t know if the supermini is ever coming back. The updates will likely be mirrored in the upcoming Toyota Glanza which is a rebadged version of the Baleno sold in India.