Truth be told, Toyota and Suzuki seem to have found a winning formula by joining forces to build the Baleno and Starlet subcompact cars which are enjoying impressive sales in SA.

Now entering its second generation, Suzuki has just launched its new Baleno which comes with a host of impressive specifications to keep it afloat in the respective segment. The new Suzuki Baleno joins the market segment in four models with a high level of safety and luxury in all of them plus the option of manual or automatic transmission.

Suzuki Baleno Side and Rearview

Specifications

On the specification fold, the new Suzuki Baleno is available in base GL and range-topping GLX variants.

The GL in manual and automatic formats comes standard with climate control rear air vents, a new centre armrest with a storage box between the front occupants, electrically adjustable and foldable side mirrors, cruise control and three USB ports.

Other standard pieces of equipment include remote central locking, rear parking sensors, a 12V accessory socket and a 7-inch full-colour Suzuki infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Suzuki Baleno Interior

Sitting on top of the range is the GLX variant which adds interior lighting in the footwells and luggage area, puddle lighting in the doors, chrome detailing on the door handles and a keyless system with a Start/Stop button. The Baleno GLX further adds a head-up display, a full 360-degree Round View Monitor LED projector-style headlamps and LED daytime running lights and 16-inch polished alloy wheels.

The GLX does away with the GL’s 7-inch infotainment system and adopts a larger 9-inch system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Smart Vehicle Alerts and Bluetooth connectivity with steering controls. There is a full-colour 4.2-inch display in the instrument cluster.

How is the space?

With an overall length of 3,990 mm and a wheelbase of 2,520 mm, the Suzuki Baleno has enough space for five occupants and luggage. The boot space measures 314-litres and folding down the 60:40 split seats further expands that to a generous 1,057-litres which is enough to gulp sizeable items and suitcases.

Suzuki Baleno Open Boot rearview

Engine and Transmission

A new 1.5-litre borrowed from the Urban Cruiser, Jimny, Ertiga and Rumion powers the entire Baleno range with 77 kW and 138 Nm of torque sent to the front axle. Tipping the scales at 955 kg, the Suzuki Baleno has a power-to-weight ratio of 81 kW per tonne. Power is accessed either via a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission, depending on the model chosen.

Suzuki Baleno Frontview Silver

Fuel Economy

The Baleno has an average fuel consumption rating of 5.4l/100km for the five-speed manual transmission models and 5.7l/100km for the four-speed automatic transmission models which should save owners big bucks in the long run.

Luxury colours throughout the range

Suzuki will offer the new Baleno in a range of new colours such as Celestial Blue Pearl Metallic, Luxe Beige Pearl Metallic, Opulent Red Pearl Metallic, Splendid Silver Pearl Metallic and Grandeur Grey Metallic. The Arctic White Pearl and Midnight Black Pearl remain part of the range.

Warranty and Pricing

As for the pricing, the new Suzuki Baleno GL in manual guise is priced at R225,900 and R245,900 for the auto-equipped GL. The manual GLX carries a price tag of R275,900 and R295,900 for the automatic variant. The Baleno is sold with a 5-year / 200 000 km promotional mechanical warranty. This includes unlimited roadside assistance for the same period. Pricing includes a 4-year / 60 000 km service plan and an anti-corrosion warranty of 6 years and unlimited kilometres. The service intervals are pegged at 15,000 km.

Verdict

The new Suzuki Baleno remains an impressive newcomer of note equipped with great tech, a comfortable ride, a quiet cabin as well as a well-built interior. With that said, it should find favour in those seeking a perfect family hatch that doesn’t only look good but provides a tech-savvy option in the segment.

What We Like:  Value for money, decent to drive, very spacious and practical

What We Don’t Like: Limited engine range