A few months ago Maruti Suzuki had teased us an image of a Baleno which was said to come with some major updates as the image captioned, “A big surprise is coming soon!”. A few days later a test mule of the premium hatchback spotted conducting test trials with a strain gauge apparatus.
Though this does not imply much, rumours are doing the rounds that Maruti Suzuki India is planning to bring a new model of Baleno. It could either be diesel or a new hybrid variant. In the midst of all this, yet another testing prototype of the Baleno was recently spied again conducting its trial test runs with a similar strain gauge apparatus attached to its wheels.
Speculations of Baleno Hybrid or diesel variant’s impending launch have been doing rounds for a very long time. However, there has been no official confirmation from the company regarding the same. The test mule seen here has a DDiS badging attached to its side fender. As per Vahan website, this vehicle is registered in the name of Maruti Suzuki India Limited and is powered by a BS4 diesel engine.
The upcoming Baleno Hybrid is rumoured to feature the same hybrid powertrain as featured in Swift Strong Hybrid which was showcased at the last edition of Auto Expo in February 2020. This powertrain setup consists of a 1.2-litre Dual-jet K-series petrol engine which churns out 90 bhp and 118 Nm peak torque and an integrated 10kW electric motor.
This electric motor can boost the output by 13.4 bhp and 30 Nm and ramps up the fuel economy up to 32 kmpl. It also gets a regenerative braking system, which helps recharge the battery.
The other possibility of Baleno Hybrid is a new mild-hybrid powertrain comprising the 1.2-litre Dual-jet petrol unit paired to a larger 48V battery pack. This battery sends power to the integrated starter generator or ISG which momentarily helps the car’s combustion engine thus ensuring a smoother drive with better performance as well as improved fuel efficiency. Currently, Baleno comes with the option of a smaller mild-hybrid powertrain consisting of a 12V battery setup.
Ever since the implementation of BS6, Maruti has not had any diesel cars on sale in India. All their cars on sale currently, are powered by a petrol engine. They have openly advocated for pro-petrol and have even dissed those who buy diesel powered cars in today’s date and time via their aggressive ‘calculate kiya kya‘ campaign.
That seems to have not worked, and demand for diesel cars continues to be strong. It is being reported that Maruti is planning to make a U Turn and launch diesel cars once again. Sources suggest that the first Maruti BS6 diesel car is due for launch later this year. It is likely to be their bigger cars like Ciaz and Ertiga which get the BS6 diesel first. This will be followed by their small sub 4 meter cars like Brezza, Baleno, etc.
Maruti Suzuki doesn’t have any diesel or turbocharged petrol engine option in its lineup presently. Here the company loses out to its rivals who are offering diesel and turbo petrol engines for customers who are looking for a spirited driving performance. The hybrid technology will not only increase fuel-efficiency figures considerably but also lower down emissions significantly.
At the same time, users will be able to enjoy a fun ride without having to incur significant premium as in diesel and turbocharged petrol engines. Only time will tell which powertrain option does Maruti opt for.