More details about the new Baleno variant will be out in the coming days
The Maruti Baleno RS with 1.0-liter turbo petrol engine was withdrawn from the market earlier this year owing to poor demand but the best selling premium hatchback in the country may need it back to fend off the all-new Hyundai i20. The compact turbocharged petrol engines have been gaining popularity in the Indian sub-4m segment and even though the demand may not be magically higher, having the option strengthens Baleno’s overall appeal.
New Maruti Baleno variant teased – 1.0L Turbo returning?
Maruti has teased a new variant of its premium hatchback soon after the 2021 Hyundai i20 prices were announced. While the teaser image has no details or clue as to what is on store, we expect it to be the turbo petrol variant.
Suzuki’s 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine dishes out 100 hp and 150 Nm of torque. The Baleno RS employed a 5-seat variant. This combination is expected to be retained albeit Maruti appears to have eschewed RS specific visual tweaks this time to keep the costs competitive.
The Maruti Baleno 1.0L Turbo variant, if launched, will compete with the 1.0L Turbo variants of the new Hyundai i20 and VW Polo in addition to the upcoming 1.2L turbo Tata Altroz. The turbocharged Baleno is likely to be offered only in the top-end trim.
— Nexa Experience (@NexaExperience) November 6, 2020
Or is it the CNG variant?
It is also possible that the new Maruti Baleno variant teased for this festive season is a simple special edition or a CNG variant. As you know, Maruti Suzuki denounced diesel engines in the BS6 era and has been introducing CNG variants of its petrol-only models at regular intervals. While the CNG does not have nationwide coverage, it does emerge as a viable alternative to diesel cars in territories where it is available.
If at all the Baleno receives a CNG variant, it will be based on the 1.2-liter naturally aspirated petrol motor. The power and torque figures of the CNG version would drop marginally compared to the petrol variant’s 88 hp and 113 Nm.
Threat from the new Hyundai i20
The Maruti Baleno has been maintaining the segment leadership without putting too much so far but the vastly improved new Hyundai i20 emerges as a credible threat to the thrown. Even though the new comer is priced significantly higher, it brings to table modern design inside out and a rich equipment list. More importantly, it offers a diesel engine option which is lacking in the Baleno.