Suzuki Japan has been selling the Maruti Baleno in its pre-facelift avatar with either a 1.2-litre NA or 1.0-litre turbo petrol motor
Maruti Suzuki’s Baleno may not be the best buy in its class but is at the top when it comes to sales figures. The premium hatchback undeservingly borrows its name from the iconic Baleno sedan (discontinued in 2006) powered by a 1.6-litre G16B NA petrol motor. The current made-in-India Maruti Baleno has gone through a facelift and is sold in BS6 specification. It is also one of the most important export products from Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL).
Reports that the made-in-India Suzuki Baleno would be discontinued in Japan by June. Sold as the Suzuki Baleno, it is the only product which the Japanese manufacturer imports from India. The hatchback has not been doing particularly well on the Japanese market. Launched in March 2016, it is a basic car in Japan standards and has many compelling alternatives in the country
Launched in 2016 in Japan, initially the Suzuki Baleno was sold solely with a K12C 1.2-litre Dualjet NA petrol four-cylinder engine. The power plant is good for almost 90bhp @ 6,000rpm and 118Nm @ 4,400rpm. It is available only with a CVT powertrain.
In a few months’ time, Suzuki introduced a K10C 1.0-litre Boosterjet turbo petrol three-cylinder motor to the range. In India, this unit was sold in the Baleno RS but Maruti Suzuki discontinued the model in January due to poor demand (in Maruti standards). The engine generates roughly 100bhp @ 5,500rpm and 150Nm @ 4,500rpm while mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
In terms of features, the Suzuki Baleno comes with almost the same level of equipment as its Indian counterpart. To meet the local standards, the Japanese model boasts of heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, radar-based collision mitigation, ESP, etc., as well. Fuel economy figures are rated at 24.6km/l and 19.6km/l for the NA and turbo variants, respectively.
Compared to the Indian market, prices are relatively on the higher side. The base petrol model starts at JPY 15,73,000 (Rs 11.08 lakh) while the figure rises to JPY 17,60,000 (Rs 12.39 lakh) for the Boosterjet Baleno. As mentioned before, the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) has several other choices at this price point.
The India-spec Maruti Suzuki primarily rivals the Hyundai i20 (next-gen in the works), Tata Altroz, Volkswagen Polo and Honda Jazz (BS6 facelift coming soon). Prices start at Rs 5.63 lakh ex-showroom.