Hyundai had started it all with the launch of i20 in 2008 and popularized the premium hatchback among the buyers; later on Elite i20 further widened it with 1.5 lakh units in just 15 months. Earlier this year, Honda came with all new Jazz which also offers a lot in terms of features, ownership value and space to justify the premium tag. Now, the king of hatchbacks in India, Maruti Suzuki has launched Baleno hatchback. According to Hyundai, Elite i20 has captured 66 percent of market share in the segment which is 2/3rd of the total. We did get our hands on new premium hatchback in our expert review section and we were extremely impressed by the overall package. Now, let’s have a look at some Pros and Cons of Baleno which will help you in making buying decision.
- Let’s Just start with design first, well to be fair the design isn’t a something that will be a love at first sight kind of thing but it will grow on you. It looks brilliant from certain angles making it a distinct styled car in the segment; still styling is subjective and depends on individual’s own taste.
- Roomy cabin is Baleno’s biggest USP, front seats are very supportive with good bolstering around. Rear seats are quite wide thanks to 1745mm of width and enough to accommodate three adults without any strangle.
- Hyundai Elite i20 and Honda Jazz are the feature loaded cars and to stand in front of them is not an easy task. But Maruti has thrown it all in Baleno by equipping it with 7 inch touch screen Smartplay infotainment system housing first in segment apple car play system that keeps you connected to your phone. Also, you get automatic climate control, keyless entry, anti-pinch driver side system, reverse parking camera, tilt- telescopic steering wheel and many more.
- Baleno comes with the same tried and tested 1.2l petrol and 1.3 DDis diesel engines but ride quality is quite excellent thanks to tuned suspension and brilliant power to weight ratio. The CVT gearbox is pretty impressive too.
- Apart from frugal engines, Baleno delivers a class leading fuel efficiency in diesel trim. The oil burner returns an ARAI certified mileage of 27.39 KMPL dethroning Honda Jazz by only a whisker while petrol mill delivers 21.4 KMPL of decent mileage.
- Baleno is the benchmark setter in the segment when it comes to safety, a thing which you might not hear for a Maruti but it is right in this case. The carmaker is offering dual front airbags, ABS as standard on all the variants of the hatchback that shows Maruti focus on safety.
- Though, the ride quality of the hatchback is pretty decent but it feels underpowered on certain criterion and its competitors come with potent and powerful engines. In international markets, Baleno is available with a booster jet engine but here in India you only get same dated ones.
- In terms of features and equipments it certainly stands to shoulder to shoulder with the competitors but when it comes to quality it lacks the class and finishing of Hyundai Elite i20, VW Polo and even Jazz. There are certain areas in the cabin with hard plastics and average quality.
- The Baleno is available with an automatic or CVT transmission in Maruti’s language but unfortunately it is offered in the top spec variant so it misses out on Projector headlamps, LED DRLs and other features.