On the looks
front, it’s appetizingly awesome. The design is fresh, smart and absolutely
stunning. By Maruti’s standards, it’s a major leap forward. The design of the
Baleno is based on a concept that is termed “Liquid Flow”. Does that ring a bell? Of course, Maruti’s
closest competitor Hyundai has a design concept known as “Fluidic Design” for
its cars. This is “Liquid Flow” and it’s equally compelling.
The design of
the Baleno is extremely refreshing, whether it is the exterior or the interior.
The curving lines, the bold shoulders and the overall flowing design of the
Baleno give it a very dynamic and energetic look and feel. Premium-ness comes
naturally to this car. The car is being offered in both petrol as well as a
diesel powertrain. The 1.2 litre petrol VVT engine and the 1.3 litre DDiS
190diesel engine are mated to a five speed manual transmission. The petrol
model has also an option of an automatic transmission. This is a Continuously
Variable Transmission (CVT). The Baleno is the first car from Maruti Suzuki to
have the CVT technology. All other automatics in its portfolio have the AMT or
the Automated Manual Transmission.
I got to
drive all the three variants. Each of them impressed me. The CVT, I presume is
for those interested in safe and easy driving. It does not have the bull power
like the others in terms of driving. The CVT eases your acceleration but gives
you tremendous comfort while driving in thick of traffic.
features, this area is another high point of the car. Like its exterior design,
the interior features are quite impressive. But before that, each of the petrol
and diesel models comes in four trim levels- Sigma (base model), Delta, Zeta
and Alpha. The Delta variant has an option of a CVT.
are uncomplicated with a premium black shade with silver ornamentation. The
dashboard is clutter free and its looks are enhanced by the multi-information
speedometer display. The 4.2 inches colour TFT displays information like clock,
average speed, the engine’s torque and power, fuel efficiency, etc. Then there
is the SmartPlay Infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen display that
accommodates what is known as an Apple CarPlay system. Now with Apple iphones
selling like real apples in the apple season, this industry-first offering is
amazing. It is basically an interface that allows the occupant to use his or
her iphone through the car’s in-built display. One can get directions, make
calls, send and receive messages, listen to music and audio books etc. The
system can also be connected to smartphones using MirrorLink. There are also
slots for USB and SD cards, thereby ensuring that entertainment is not
compromised in this car.
The car is
also packed with the usual, yet useful features like audio controls, tilt and
telescopic steering, keyless push start/ stop, reverse parking camera and voice
recognition etc. Obviously a lot of
these features are there as you move up the value chain in terms of higher trim
levels. Once seated you become aware of the space that has been created for
your comfort. There is ample shoulder room and a lot of leg room. The boot
space is incredible with 339 litre of storage. As for other storage space for
your bottles and other knick knacks, there is plenty of it built all along the
doors as well as the central armrest.