The Baleno is Maruti’s all-new premium hatchback. Name apart, it has nothing in common with Maruti’s mid-size sedan from a decade ago. What this is, is a hatchback that’s half a size larger than the Swift and one that’s correspondingly, a more direct competitor for the Hyundai i20 and Honda Jazz.
At 3995mm long and 1745mm wide, the Baleno is a large car. But it’s not solely the size that will get your attention. The design and styling is the best we’ve seen from Maruti in a long time. There are a lot of new elements like the V-shaped grille, still distinctively Suzuki, but yet refreshingly new. Then there are the headlights, similar in shape to the ones on the Swift, but smaller and with a lot more detailing inside; our top-spec test car had projector elements and daytime-running lights.
Move over to the side and you’ll notice more than a few interesting bits. The wing-mirrors, for one, are mounted on the door rather than the pillar and this detail helps link the Baleno to the S-Cross. It also helps cut wind noise. You won’t miss the rich-looking, chrome-finished door handles and the large glass area which is quite distinctive with the neat quarter window. What adds more flavour to the design is the interplay between the rising window line and the rake of the rear windscreen – it makes the Baleno look pretty sporty. The tail is also rather well styled with nice looking lights and a chrome bar. No doubt, the Baleno is the best looking Suzuki hatchback yet but it’s still a touch conservative compared to its rivals.