India’s bestselling premium hatchback, Maruti Baleno takes on rivals such as Hyundai i20 and Tata Altroz
Widely popular for its affordable cars, Maruti Suzuki has been working to strengthen its presence in premium segment as well. The starting point was Nexa and now Suzuki-Toyota global partnership has enabled new premium products such as Grand Vitara. Maruti’s version of Toyota Innova Hyryder is also in the works.
One of the bestselling Nexa cars is Baleno, which has consistently ranked among the top 5 bestselling cars in the country. There have been months where Baleno has been ahead of even entry-level cars such as Swift, Alto, WagoR and Dzire. Baleno has received updates at regular intervals and now Maruti has introduced a segment-first feature for the popular hatch.
2023 Baleno 3-point seatbelt for rear centre passenger
Aiming to improve safety, 2023 Baleno has been upgraded with a 3-point seatbelt for the rear middle passenger. A 3-point seat belt offers improved safety by evenly distributing the impact energy across the chest, pelvis and shoulders.
In addition to the 3-point seat belt, an adjustable headrest has also been added to rear middle seat. Both these upgrades are segment-first features. It is likely that these updates will soon be available with Toyota Glanza as well. Hat tip to The Car Show, for sharing these exclusive images.
The move to install 3-point seatbelt for rear middle passenger could be in anticipation of upcoming stricter safety regulations. Car safety regulations are being consistently upgraded with the view to reduce injuries and fatalities. Road accidents and resulting casualties are among the highest in the country. Around 1.5 lakh people die every year due to road accidents.
As may be recalled, the government last year had made wearing seatbelts mandatory for rear passengers. It is possible that some new regulations may be in the works, which could be enforced in the near future. While 3-point seatbelt for rear middle passenger is not mandatory at this point of time, Maruti has worked proactively to introduce it with 2023 Baleno. It is possible that other Nexa cars could also get this upgrade.
Other features remain unchanged
Other safety features available with Baleno include 360° camera, ESP with hill hold, driver and co-driver airbags, side and curtain airbags, rear view camera, reverse parking sensors, high speed alert system, seat belt reminder, brake assist, seatbelt pre tensioner / force limiter and ISOFIX anchorages. Baleno also has Suzuki Connect with safety and security features such as emergency alerts, breakdown notification, geo-fence, time fence, valet alert and stolen vehicle notification and tracking.
Although Maruti Baleno offers a range of security features, it is yet to be tested in India by Global NCAP. Suzuki Baleno tested by Latin NCAP in 2021 had scored zero stars in the crash tests. As safety has been upgraded since then, it is likely that the current Baleno will probably deliver better results in NCAP crash tests.