Hatchback segment has been the cup of tea for Maruti Suzuki since a decade now with the cars like Alto (800, K10), Wagon R, and Swift. However, India’s no.1 car maker has been missing from the premium end of the segment but its latest offerings like Ciaz and S-Cross have tasted sufficient success to drive Maruti for more premium vehicles. Maruti Suzuki’s Baleno is the latest entrant into the premium segment and will lock its horns against the well established players like Hyundai Elite i20, Honda Jazz and VW Polo. At present, the segment is dominated by Hyundai Elite i20 while the newly launched Honda Jazz has added more fuel to the competition. Here’s how the new bee stack up against its rivals:-
Priced aggressively at Rs. 4.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), Baleno undercuts Elite i20, Honda Jazz by vast margin. At Rs. 5.33 lakhs, VW Polo has the second lowest starting price for the base variant followed by i20 and Polo with an initial price of Rs. 5.36 lakhs.
Talking about Hyundai Elite i20 first, the hatchback is priced at Rs. 7.19 lakh for top-spec petrol variant while the prices for its diesel variants start at Rs. 6.48 lakh and it goes up to Rs. 8.30 lakh.
On the contrary, the Honda Jazz is tagged at Rs. 5.36 lakh for base petrol and Rs. 7.90 lakh for top-end petrol variant. Honda Jazz also comes with an automatic transmission which is priced at Rs. 7.03 lakh and 7.89 lakh respectively. Honda Jazz’s top variant is most expensive of the lot. Its diesel version is priced in the range of Rs.6.55 lakh to Rs 8.64 lakh.
The Petrol VW Polo starts at similar price of Rs. 5.33 lakh which goes up to 6.70 lakh for the top end petrol variant. The base diesel variant starts at Rs. 6.68 lakh which is highest among the all four cars and it ends at Rs. 7.92 lakh for the highline diesel trim. Overall, with the price bracket of Rs. 4.99-8.11 lakhs, Baleno is great value when you count on all the factors that it packs in.
The petrol variants of all the cars use 1.2-litre engines, though difference in power figures may not be plenty. The Baleno with 1.2l unit churns out a bit more power than the i20 but it is around 6bhp less than the Jazz. The Maruti Baleno and the i20 have similar torque figures, while the Jazz and Polo’s torque output is a ted less. Maruti is offering Baleno with a CVT gearbox pitching directly against Honda Jazz which is also available with CVT, while the remaining models are solely available with a 5-speed manual gearbox.
When it comes to diesel engines, Baleno is the most underpowered car of the lot with 74bhp power while the old horse’s i20 and Polo sits just above the newest kid with 89bhp. With 99bhp power Honda Jazz finds itself at the top of the list. In terms of Torque output, Polo leads the chart with impressive figure of 230Nm then followed by i20 220Nm and Jazz’ 200Nm. The newest kid on the chunk, Baleno finds itself at the bottom of the table with an output of 190Nm. Regular Polo and Baleno comes paired with a 5-speed manual gearbox while i20 and Jazz are offering 6-speed manual gearboxes. None of the hatchbacks in the segment offer automatic option in diesel trim.
The mileage section clearly belongs to Baleno, among the petrol cars; Baleno emerges as the clear winner with 21.4 Kmpl of mileage followed by 19 KMPL of Jazz. The Hyundai Elite i20 delivers 18 KMPL while Polo TSI manages to produce just 16.47 KMPL of mileage.
Coming to the Oil burners, the Baleno again is the winner at 27.39 Kmpl dethroning Jazz by hairline margin of 0.09 KMPL. The Hyundai Elite i20 is good for 22.54 Kmpl while the standard Polo returns 20.14 Kmpl. In terms of Performance and riding ability, Polo is by far the best in the segment followed by i20 and Jazz. The Baleno on the other hand has a linear power delivery with initial turbo lag below 2000rpm. MSIL engineers have worked very hard at improving the Baleno’s steering and the result is a pretty quick steering wheel with little limp around the straight ahead position.
Space and Dimensions:
Since all the cars fall under 4m category, there is not much difference in the length. Hyundai Elite i20 and Baleno is testing the limitation to most and measures 3995mm and 3985mm in length. Also, Baleno is the widest among all with 1745mm in width and owing to small MPV shape Honda Jazz is the tallest with 1544mm height. When it comes to wheelbase, Hyundai i20 has the longest wheelbase while Baleno finds itself at third after Jazz. For buyers looking for Cargo space, the Baleno has the second largest boot space of 339 liters, whereas the Jazz still remains at the top with 354 liters.
|Criteria||Maruti Suzuki Baleno||Hyundai Elite i20||Honda Jazz||Volkswagen Polo|
|Boot Space||339 liters||285 liters||354 liters||280 liters|
|Ground Clearance||170mm||170 mm||165mm||165mm|
The Hyundai Elite i20 is based on new Fluidic v2.0 design philosophy and gets meaty sweptback headlamps, wide air intake with mesh design, broad and long bonnet, strong shoulder line, chrome door handles, blacked out B and C-pillars. The wrap around tail lamps is the USP of Elite i20 which enhances the typical European design of the car. I20’s sharp and aggressive styling works really well and has a sparkle that makes it look really modern and tempting.
New Honda Jazz comes with a sportier design and with its mini MPV-ish look; the hatchback offers a very distinctive styling. Based on company’s latest “H” design philosophy, the Jazz features new signature grille finished in matte black color, flanked by stretched out headlamps, new bumper with big air ducts, strong character lines on the sides, ORVMs with integrated turn blinkers and 3D effect new tail-lamps.
Volkswagen Polo has become larger with every update shares the sharp and bold styling of its bigger siblings. With slot-like grille and aggressive headlamp units, soft flared wheel arches give the car a planted stance and bold styling. Overall, it looks simpler among the four but it’s no nonsense styling won’t offend anyone.
Maruti Baleno, the new kid on the block might look quite quirky at a first glance. But when you look at the car in the flesh and it actually looks trendy and has a lot of road presence. You may find Front fascia quite similar to Swift but V shaped grille outlined by chrome stripe, projector headlamps with LED DRLs makes it different and sportier Maruti ever. The side profile is based on liquid flow design concept and large window glasses with chrome outlining, chrome door handles goes well with longer and bulbous stance of Baleno. The rear end looks smart too with LED tail lamps, smaller window and high boot lid add to the sportiness of the hatchback.
Interior and features:
Maruti Baleno- Step inside the car and you do feel like you’re sitting in a Maruti, although a very modern with all black interiors and surrounded by oodles of premium features like 7 inch Smartplay touchscreen infotainment system with GPS navigation, automatic climate control, electrically foldable and adjustable ORVMs, reverse parking camera with sensor, power windows, keyless entry and go etc.
Hyundai Elite i20- The segment leader comes with a 7-inch touchscreen equipped infotainment system which was recently introduced on the model after the launch of new Honda Jazz. The dual tone dashboard which looks busy with plethora of buttons is neatly finished in dual tone color combo and makes it the comfortable place to be in. Nicely crafted cabin with excellent fit and finish sets the tone for feature loaded car in the segment.
Honda Jazz- besides aggressive styling design cues outside, Honda Jazz is one of the feature loaded car in the segment which is further boosted by funky design and black interiors. It comes with equipped with a 5-inch display for the rear camera and audio system with USB and Bluetooth and the top spec model gets a bigger 6.2-inch touchscreen display with navigation and DVD playback function.
Other features include climate control with feather touch panel, magic seats, reclining back seats, height adjustable driver’s seat, auto folding rear view mirrors and multi-functional steering wheel and keyless entry and go etc.
Volkswagen Polo: Polo sets the benchmark when it comes to fit and finish and quality of materials. However, it is not at all a feature rich car as it doesn’t misses out on certain feature but the problem is that its competitors offer a lot at similar price. It misses out on a touchscreen infotainment system which has become a necessity nowadays. However, it does come loaded with automatic climate control, 2-DIN audio system, power windows and electrically adjustable ORVMs.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno and Volkswagen Polo is the only car in the comparo that comes fitted with standard with dual front airbags, ABS and EBD from the entry level variant, in both petrol and diesel disguise. Now that is impressive. Whereas, Honda Jazz is the only car here that offers ABS as standard but sadly with the diesel trims only. Except VW Polo, all the remaining three comes with reverse parking camera.
With the launch of Maruti Suzuki Baleno, the battles of being best of the premium hatchback will surely going to become intense. Maruti has thrown everything in Baleno to crack the segment as it looks stylish, the feature rich cabin offers practicality and space. Also, it drives in sedate manner thanks to light weight construction. One of highlights is the Baleno comes with standard dual airbags, ABS+ EBD which shows the outright commitment of company towards safety and this move would certainly lift the confidence of safety centric buyers.
On the contrary, i20, Polo and Jazz are well established cars in the market and to dethrone them from their respective position needed heck of aggressive pricing strategy. And, Maruti has done extremely well to undercut all of them with the initial price, thanks to 99 percent local content. Maruti Baleno has the potential to magnetize buyers away from its aforementioned rivals thanks to its refreshing looks; long list of features, affordable price and most important them of all Maruti’s matchless after sales service and support.