2022 Maruti Suzuki Baleno Road Test Review – Good gets Better?

The Baleno is that car model which got Maruti Suzuki into the premium hatchback segment when it was launched in 2015. The Baleno has been selling in handsome numbers since its launch and now has received a major update. We drive the heavily updated 2022 Maruti Suzuki Baleno to get you all the details on it and also letting you know if it is just that large hatch that is perfect for you.

Food for Thought

Suzuki unveiled the Baleno in 2015 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The concept version of the Baleno was codenames as IK-2. The Made in India Baleno is also exported to Japan the home country of Suzuki. The Indian made Baleno is sold in many countries of Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa and Oceana. In India Toyota sells the rebadged version of the Baleno as the Glanza. Over 25,000 2022 Baleno’s were already booked even before its launch.

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Exteriors

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In terms of exterior styling and design the 2022 Baleno looks much more mature and catchy and appears trendy too. The front now comes with a much larger grille with black styling and a thick chrome band that underlines it running from the left to right sides connecting the headlights.The big bold Suzuki logo in chrome sits handsomely in the middle of this grille along with the front camera placed besides it. The other key change on the Baleno is the new design headlights that come with a tri style LED DRL housed in them along with projector beams all in white glow. The front bumper gets a total redesign as well and now comes with a wide air dam in black along with round white glow fog lamps housed in black with chrome insert eyebrows on them. The bonnet looks wider and longer due to this new grille and overall makes the Baleno look much more larger than before.

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On the sides the New Baleno gets chrome door handles with request buttons on both the front doors, door mounted wing mirrors with LED turn indicators and body colored housing, chrome line that flows on the lower section of the glass area and a neat looking kink in chrome that finishes off the C Pillar quarter glass. The Baleno drives on R16 tyres mounted on all new design dual tone alloys that offer a meaty stance to the Premium hatch. The window pillars gets black masking while the roof misses out on an electric sun roof which is a trend lately but comes with a radio antenna finished in black.

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The rear profile of the 2022 Baleno is also redesigned. Here the key highlights include a new design LED tail lamps that extend into the boot lid. You also get a thick chrome spoiler places just below the rear windshield along with another spoiler that’s placed up.  The rear bumper is also totally restyled and now also houses a slim stop reflector on it.

Interiors

Like the outside the cabin of the Baleno also gets totally redone. The dashboard gets its top section in black and lower half finished in dark blue shade. There is a thick faux metal garnish in between the dash kind of defining the styling here. The key highlight of the dashboard is the new 9 inch floating type AVN touchscreen system. This AVN unit comes loaded with all the connectivity options including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth phone, FM Radio, GPS navigation and runs the latest SmartPlay Pro+. The AVN system feels very nice to use.

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The Baleno gets ARKAMYS sound system powering it with a 8 speaker unit playing some real good audio quality. The sound system also gets Surround Sense DSP with three presets in them – Natural, Acoustic and Dynamic. You also get the Mobile based connectivity app that has 40+ connected car features on it. You also get Amazon Alexa powered Voice control feature on the system by just saying “hi Suzuki” to activate the voice assist. The Instrument cluster is made up of twin round dials with silver linings around them along with a large MFD display in the middle. You can also track the G-Force, fuel saved, engine power, torque, range and real time mileage Fuel Efficiency, Fuel Consumption History, Average Speed and Driving Time. Plus, you can keep an eye on the outside temperature as well on this screen.

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The three spoke steering is sourced from the Swift and comes with manual adjust for reach and height. you get a thick silver insert on this leather wrapped steering along with the MFD control buttons placed on it. The climate control is a single zone unit with crisp and clear display unit. The Baleno ha one USB charge port and a 12V power outlet in the front but misses out on wireless charging unit.

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The biggest highlight on the dash is the automatic retracting Heads-up display unit placed. On this display you can check the Speed, RPM, Fuel Economy, AC functions, and Warning notifications in colour with multi-display options in your line of sight. You can also adjust the brightness and angle of the HUD, as per your convenience and seat position. The seats get fabric upholstery and come with manual height adjust for the drivers seat. Seating in the front is very comfortable with lots of padding and support for your back, under thigh, hips and also a large sized headrest. You also get an sliding arm rest for the driver with storage space under it.

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Rear seat come with two adjustable head rests and good amount of seat padding with loads of knee, leg and head room. Seating here is pretty comfortable and supportive. Rear passengers also get AC vents and USB charge ports. Map pockets are missing behind the drivers seat but available behind the passenger seat. The cabin feels nice and airy with loads of space available on the Balenos cabin. The 2022 Baleno comes with a boot capacity of 315 litres which is pretty good for your weekend adventures.

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Engine – Transmission – Drive

Powering the 2022 Baleno is the K-Series 1.2L 4-cylinder Petrol engine which makes 90PS of power and 113Nm of torque. Transmission options include a 5-speed manual and a 5-speed AMT automatic option.

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The Petrol engine feels well refined at idle and when on the move the refinement levels are further felt. Power delivery is good but what has drastically changed is the way the Baleno drives. There is a weight increment of around 65kgs and this along with the chassis recalibration now makes the overall driving experience very mature and involving as compared to the older model. The steering feels pretty well weighted with good feedback. Suspension has also been re-tuned with torsion beam in the rear making the drive a lot better and comfortable. What we liked is the way the Baleno performed at high speeds on the highway very much like a much larger car.

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The AMT automatic shifts very nicely unlike older AMT are which were slow and dull. These new age AMT units have gotten much faster and more refined too. The overall drive feel is pretty relaxed in the AMT while you also can over ride the auto-shifts using the tip-tronic shifting using the transmission shifter.On the manual transmission Baleno things are pretty comfortable too. The clutch action is pretty light while the gear ratios are tuned more for economy and rightly so. The Baleno shifts are precise and crisp with the short throw 5-speed shifter. Power delivery and speed buildup is obviously faster than the AMT version and the car feels flawless to drive in city traffic and on the highways too. Body roll on both the versions are well within limits and the occupants of the Baleno won’t be complain about the ride quality either which is far more better than the older Baleno.

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Safety

In terms of safety the New Baleno gets six airbags, ESP with Hill Hold Assist, ISOFIX mounts, Speed Alert System, Driver and Co Driver Seat Belt reminder, Rear Parking Assist Sensors, 360 degree camera, ABS with EBD.

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Competition

The Baleno competes with the Hyundai i20, its sister the Toyota Glanza, Tata Altroz, Honda Jazz and the Volkswagen Polo.

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Verdict

Well the Baleno has always been a trend setter in its segment, it has been known for its styling, its premium cabin and its features. Now to add to the overall good package it gets more feature, more safety, more tech and a more efficient engine making it a very sweet deal in its segment for its price and to top it up it comes with the reliability, trust and confidence from the house of Maruti Suzuki.

 

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