Motoring News, new models

Suzuki going big in SA on modest Baleno

  • Two models – one coming with autobox
  • 1.4 engine same in all models
  • Fuel consumption in low fives
2017 Suzuki Baleno. Image Motorpress/Suzuki SA
2017 Suzuki Baleno. Image Motorpress/Suzuki SA

Suzuki’s Baleno hatchback, launched at the September 2015 Frankfurt auto show, is arriving in South African showrooms this month more than a year later – but The Corner thinks the cars, a sort of larger version of the established Swift, will have been worth waiting for.

The automaker describes the car – its name means ‘flash of light’ – as “a streamlined hatchback with short overhangs, sculpted flanks, and a strong identity that’s unmistakably Suzuki”. Two spec versions will be available in local showrooms.

2017 Suzuki Baleno. Image Motorpress/Suzuki SA
2017 Suzuki Baleno. Image Motorpress/Suzuki SA

The Baleno does not, however, have any flash aspirations towards high-performance but we guess it will perform way more than adequately as a modest family car capable of 60km/h more than the national speed limit and adequate performance in the milieu in which it will be expected to perform best.

The city.

EXPORTED – TO JAPAN!

Model specifications vary but each will be powered by a 1.4-litre transverse four-cylinder engine capable of 68kW at 6000rpm and 130Nm at 4200rpm – more than enough or a car with a kerb weight of only 915kg and fuel consumption in the low fives/100km.

The cars are assembled in India for export to more than 30 markets globally – including Suzuki’s historical homeland, Japan. Which perhaps explains the competitive pricing in South Africa:

  • Suzuki Baleno GL – R199 900
  • Suzuki Baleno GLX – R229 900
  • Suzuki Baleno GLX – R242 900 (availability delayed for testing)

Charl Grobler, Suzuki SA’s sales and planning manager, told The Corner in a media release: “The Baleno is ideal for people who want the extra comfort and convenience of a larger hatchback but don’t want to lose the agility and efficiency of the Swift.

“It already has a reputation for its innovative styling, spacious interior and features but it’s the combination of superior ride and handling, its safety and fuel-efficiency, that’s attracting buyers.”

2017 Suzuki Baleno. Image Motorpress/Suzuki SA
2017 Suzuki Baleno. Image Motorpress/Suzuki SA

The car is a five-seater, its 60:40 folding split seven cm wider than that of the Swift; overall the cabin is nearly nine cm longer than its smaller sister. With the rear bench folded the boot volume is 1085 litres.

The cabin width, Suzuki says, is emphasised by the dimensions of the facia assembly, which includes, in the GLX model, a central 16cm infotainment screen. There’s plenty oddments storage and cupholders, front and rear.

The Baleno has an unpretentious MacPherson struts / coil springs / anti-roll bar front and torsion beam / coil springs / anti-roll bar rear suspension. Steering has electric assistance, the anti-lock brakes are disc/drums on GL units, all-discs under GLX badging.

If all that isn’t enough, then two front crash bags come with the GL; side and curtain bags are added in the GLX. IsoFix child-seat anchors and side-impact resistant beams are standard, as are an intrusion alarm and central locking.

READ MORE Baleno features on Carman’s Corner

As we’ve said, the 1.4 engine applies to all models but can be hooked to either a five-speed manual or four-speed auto gearbox depending on model. Acceleration of 0-100km/h will take around 11sec.

Suzuki claims 5.1 litres/100km for the manual, 5.4 for the auto.

2017 Suzuki Baleno. Image Motorpress/Suzuki SA
2017 Suzuki Baleno. Image Motorpress/Suzuki SA

The less-expensive Baleno GL has body-colour door releases, power-adjustable exterior mirrors, blacked-out A and B pillars,multi-reflector halogen headlights and 15″ steel wheels under full covers and shod with 175/65 tyres. The spare is a space-saver.

Cabin upholstery is cloth, the facia finish black and silver and the driver’s seat has reach and height adjustment. The GL also has power window lifts front and rear and aircon.

Instruments include two large dials for speed and engine revs, separated by a digital display for the Baleno’s on-board computer whose data displays include fuel range and instant/average consumption, current time, odometer and trip distance covered.

2017 Suzuki Baleno. Image Motorpress/Suzuki SA
2017 Suzuki Baleno. Image Motorpress/Suzuki SA

The tilt-adjustable steering column assembly includes controls for the audio system (MP3-compatible CD receiver with six speakers) and controls for Bluetooth telephony. There’s also a USB port, a 3.5m stereo auxiliary input and a 12V power socket.

The Baleno GLX has all of the above but adds HID (high-intensity discharge) projector headlight elements and diode daytime lights. Low-mounted but recessed foglights are also standard, as are indicator repeaters in the external mirrors.

LOVE THE EXTRAS

The shell also has chromed door-releases, belt-line and tail hatch bits, a small spoiler and darkened rear-window glass and the package rides on 16″ alloy rims shod with 185/65 radials.

The steering-wheel has a leather skin and bears cruise-control switches and adjustment for reach and height. The aircon can be set to auto, parking radar will help to avoid parking bumps and there’s a start/stop button.

2017 Suzuki Baleno. Image Motorpress/Suzuki SA
2017 Suzuki Baleno. Image Motorpress/Suzuki SA

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

The new Baleno is covered by a standard three-year or 100 000km warranty and four-year or 60 000km service plan. Services are required every 15 000km or annually.

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