Hatchback buyers looking to stretch their legs and their budgets, can now pop in to their nearest Suzuki dealership to test drive the refreshed Suzuki Baleno.
The new model is available immediately with a new look, new colours, upgraded trim and upholstery inside and a high specifications level on both the GL and GLX models.
The Baleno was first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2015 and has since become a popular hatchback in over 30 countries for its B-segment price and near-C-segment space. Indeed, the Baleno is 3 995 mm long and offers a 2 520 mm wheelbase, which is 70 mm longer than a Suzuki Swift and on a par with some C-segment contenders.
This new model range first landed in South Africa shortly after its Frankfurt debut and introduced Suzuki’s “Liquid Flow” design language to a new generation of vehicles. In the Baleno, this is most evident in the line that starts with the chrome detailing in the grille and flows in wide swathes across the bonnet and over the hip line to meet at the rear boot lid.
Interestingly, the Liquid Flow style has given the Baleno a wind-cheating aerodynamic ratio of 0.299, which makes it the most aerodynamic hatchback-model in the local range.
A new look
In the new model, the signature Liquid Flow line is more accentuated, thanks to a wide and more three-dimensional chrome strip that frames a new grille and S-emblem. The grill itself is more aggressive, and the chrome strip now passes through the front headlights to end at the fender-line.
The headlights feature a new three-dimensional design, and on the GLX specification, the high-impact discharge (HID) lamps are replaced with LEDs.
Rounding off the new look is a deeply sculpted lower bumper with a hexagonal centre intake. Sharper creases mirror those on the bonnet and add to the more aggressive profile. The GLX models have integrated fog lamps in this lower section.
The Baleno in GLX specification also adds new polished diamond cut alloy wheels and chrome door handles, beltline and on the rear tailgate. There is a spoiler on the rear tailgate and dark privacy glass on the rear doors and tailgate.
Suzuki has launched the upgraded Baleno with six colours to choose from, including the new Magma Grey metallic finish.
Inside the Baleno, the two-tone colour treatment on the seat upholstery and door trim is brand new. Suzuki’s interior designers have replaced the centre sections on the front and rear seats with deep blue high-grade cloth and mirrored that on the door panels.
Also new is brushed aluminium detailing across the dashboard, including on the air conditioning vents, the steering wheel and instrument cluster.
Like before, the Baleno is a specification leader in this market segment. The GL-model, which is only available with a five-speed manual gearbox, has air conditioning, power steering, electric windows front and rear, a radio with Bluetooth, MP3 playback, USB socket and CD player and steering-mounted audio controls.
Added to this, Suzuki also offers remote keyless access, front and rear 12V accessory sockets, a height-adjustable driver seat and a luggage area light.
In this model, Suzuki protects the occupants with ISOFIX mounting points for child seats, two airbags in front and ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assistance (BAS).
In the GLX owners will receive additional features such as cruise control, fully automatic climate control, keyless entry with a push button start, leather trim on the steering wheel, rear park distance control with camera and a front armrest.
The jewel in the GLX crown is perhaps the new infotainment system. This system integrates the image from the reverse camera, voice commands, all infotainment features and smartphone integration through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay into one beautiful 7” full colour touch screen.
The GLX specification also means that the safety features have been bumped up to include front side and side curtain airbags for a total of six airbags. There are also rear disc brakes at this specification level.
Under the skin – TECT and K14B
The Baleno first debuted Suzuki’s new Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) and it remains the platform on which this model is built.
Suzuki’s TECT combines new engineering concepts, high-strength steel and integrated energy dispersion channels to offer a platform that is both safe and solid. It also weighs less than a traditional platform and, in this instance, means that the Baleno weighs just 915 kg.
Under the bonnet, is Suzuki’s highly popular K14B petrol engine. Fitted with a tumble flow intake manifold, aluminium head and, in this configuration, variable valve timing, the engine delivers 68 kW at 6 000 rpm and 130 Nm at 4 200 rpm.
Both the GL and GLX models are available with a five-speed manual gearbox – with stated fuel consumption of 5.1 litres per 100 km in a combined cycle. GLX buyers can swop the manual for a four-speed automatic gearbox, which is rated to use 5.4 litres per 100 km.
All models of the upgraded Baleno will be sold with a four-year / 60 000 km service plan and Suzuki’s promotional warranty of five years / 200 000 km.