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Old 18th April 2007, 14:24   #1
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Default My Maruti Baleno LXi. So what's new, right? EDIT: 90K update

This actually started off as a 1K km review. I then updated it to 5K kms and then to 10K kms. But it still did not make it to the forum due to a mixture of procrastination, laziness etc.

Add to it the fact that team-bhp is kind of "Baleno country" with umpteen number of Baleno owner reports floating around. And my 2-year, 15K km experience did not really throw up anything that significant which has not been already covered.

Anyway since I did spend quite some time on this report, I thought why not go ahead and post it on the forum ? Also, now that my car had its 2nd birthday on 25th March (yeah, on the track day) and with 15000 kms on the odometer, I decided it is time I posted this finally. So, here goes …

The car search :
In short, I was not looking at a C-segment car at all. Was initially looking at an Alto Lxi, then almost finalised on the WagonR. But a chance test drive resulted in me getting the Baleno.

For anyone with the time and inclination, the full story is at http://mybaleno.blogspot.com/2005/12/why-baleno.html

Purchase date : 29/03/2005
Kms done till date : 15700 (of this 3500kms of highway driving
Max speed done : 160kmph
Fuel Efficiency :
- Chennai city with 100% a/c : 12kmpl
- Highways with 100% a/c : 16kmpl (when driven hard and fast).


Service costs :
1st service at 1000kms - Rs.604 (engine oil & filter + wiper fluid + tax).
2nd service at 5000kms - Rs0.00 (no oil change at 5K kms).
3rd service at 10000kms - Rs.634 (for engine oil & filter + tax).
4th paid service is due at 20000kms.

The car is full stock except for the
- ICE (JVC MP3 player + Blaupunkt speakers),
- Art. leather seat covers
- SST Design alloy wheels.

Planned future mods :
1. A K&N stock replacement filter is on the cards. Will get it this weekend or so.
2. Might consider wider rubber when the current set of tyres come up for replacement.
3. Also toying with the idea of sideskirts, but that will have to wait till the Old Mahabalipuram Road (which I take daily to work) is done up.

What I liked about the car :
1. The power - The main reason why I plumped for the car, inspite of not being in the market for a sedan. Have had real fun on the highways (only with due consideration for others on the road) smoking other cars. But I derived the maximum pleasure from showing the yellow board Sumos / Qualises their place. :-)

2. The ergonomics - seating is a pleasure (like they say, "the seat just hugs you close"). My wife tells me that the rear seat is awesome, but don't think I will ever get to check that out as I do not like anyone else driving my car, especially with me as a passenger.

3. The city drivability (an AT car without paying extra). The torque at low rpms make city driving a pleasure. You can even go as low as 25kmph in 5th gear without the engine knocking. No frequent gear changes.

4. The AC. Well, you all know about this one. In short, it chills and does that in seconds.

5. The FE. I have driven the car always with the AC on and the more-or-less constant figures of 12kmpl (city) and 16kmpl (highways) are pretty impressive, when compared to its peers. I know of smaller / less powerful cars that return lesser FE than this.

6. The ride comfort - the stock tyres (165/80 R13) provide an amazing cushioned ride, even on bad roads.

7. The brakes - just awesome stopping even at high speeds. Had a couple of close calls on the highway at high speeds and braking was neat.

What I don't like in the car :
1. Bottom scrapes on badly-designed speedbreakers with 4-5 people in car. Am now extra careful and either take speedbreakers at an angle OR if traffic does not permit, come to a complete halt just before the speedbreaker, release brakes and go over slowly.

2. The gear shift is occasionally notchy - especially while slotting into 5th or reverse.

3. The fact that the in-car lighting is designed in such a way that the boot light comes on when I open any of the 4 doors (but with boot closed). Could never figure out the idea of having a closed boot lit up every time someone opened a door.

What I would like in the car (the new SX4 / Baleno) :
1. Airbags (atleast as an option, but across all variants).
2. ABS (atleast as an option, but across all variants).
3. Tyres wide enough and tubeless at that.

What I didn't like earlier, but love now :
1. The rear of the car. Since the time the Baleno was introduced, I used to hate the rear and many years ago even wrote to MUL, requesting them to re-design the rear, which will make the car more attractive. But today, I like the way the rear is and would not want to have it changed. It gives the car its attitude and makes it stand apart from the similar looking crowd of its peers.

If I had an Undo option ...
Re-winding back by 2 years, would I buy the Baleno again if I were in the market for a new car ?

Yes, if I were specifically looking at a C-segmenter.

No, if I were just looking at a car which will be the only one I intend to have and use as an allrounder.
Reasons :
1. I usually drive solo or with my wife or carpool partner. In the past 2 years, I did not really use the rear seat or the boot much and hence feel that a small car would have served my purpose adequately. Ofcourse highway driving would not have been the fun it was with the Baleno.

2. I believe in the maxim "Bigger the city, smaller should be your car". Our cities with heavy traffic, all sorts of contraptions on the road, limited or nil parking space etc, call for smaller cars.

Pictures :
Available at the tbhp gallery http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indiancarpicture-212.html

Last edited by supremeBaleno : 18th April 2007 at 14:34. Reason: Removed formatting tags.
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Old 18th April 2007, 14:56   #2
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Nice one sB , call it straight from the heart based on the experience driving the beast around.
Quote:
Add to it the fact that team-bhp is kind of "Baleno country" with umpteen number of Baleno owner reports floating around.
I 2nd that opinion, any more takers ?

Quote:
A K&N stock replacement filter is on the cards. Will get it this weekend or so.
Get a conical filter and the effects are mesmerizing. You wont regret spending that extra money.
Quote:
Bottom scrapes on badly-designed speedbreakers with 4-5 people in car.
When time and duddu permits change to 14 inchers. I have changed them and havent had the issue of the bottom scrapping road humps.
Quote:
The gear shift is occasionally notchy - especially while slotting into 5th or reverse.
MUL doesnt have a solution to this. Just got my car today from the 15k service which was long pending and the problem still persists.Guess we should live with this for now.
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Old 18th April 2007, 15:10   #3
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cool review mate....comes straight from the heart. One comment though- 15K and still on stock tyres!!!! dude, get them changed please! Got mine changed to 185/70 R13s at the showroom itself. didnt have money left or would have gone in for 14 inch alloys with 14 inch rubber.
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Old 18th April 2007, 15:18   #4
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Sb , if you are indeed going in for the K&N please pick up the 3.5'' conical filter not the extreme ones .. Doesnt make much of a difference but burns a bigger hole in your pocket ..

Quote:
You can even go as low as 25kmph in 5th gear without the engine knocking.
Not unless you are going downhill .. 5th gear you cant possibly go below 40kmph .. Engine will let you know that you are strangling it ..
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Old 18th April 2007, 15:20   #5
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Great report SB, I too didn't post my ownership review since there were too many anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
Also, now that my car had its 2nd birthday on 25th March (yeah, on the track day) and with 15000 kms on the odometer
Quote:
Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
Purchase date : 29/03/2005
Kms done till date : 15700 (of this 3500kms of highway driving
I see a mismatch in the dates, purchased on 29th, birthday on 25th?

BTW, mine will complete 2 years on the coming 22nd. I too have about 15800 on my odo.
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Old 18th April 2007, 15:24   #6
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Nice review there SB.
I am pleasantly surprised at the really low charges for the servicing and oil change.
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Old 18th April 2007, 16:01   #7
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Thanks, rjstyles69, himanshu, Samurai, rahul and benson.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69
Get a conical filter and the effects are mesmerizing. You wont regret spending that extra money.
I am a keep-it-factory-stock guy. If not for tbhp, I would not have even got the alloys. Going the K&N way is itself a big deal for me. Also while the stock K&N is just an open-replace-shut job, I guess the conical filter needs some modifications which I do not like doing. As Samurai said somewhere, I do not like doing mods that I do not understand. Anyway, will try to search the forum to see the advantages.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69
When time and duddu permits change to 14 inchers. I have changed them and havent had the issue of the bottom scrapping road humps.
Hmmm. Makes me think. But then after having invested in 13" alloys only recently, I guess I will have to stick with them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mclaren1885
Not unless you are going downhill .. 5th gear you cant possibly go below 40kmph .. Engine will let you know that you are strangling it ..
Not really. Though I do not really drive in town in 5th at 25kmph, it has happened rarely and believe me there is no knocking whatsoever. Anyway will try it out again today and see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai
I see a mismatch in the dates, purchased on 29th, birthday on 25th?
My mistake. It was on 25th (it was Good Friday) that I got the car from the dealer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai
BTW, mine will complete 2 years on the coming 22nd. I too have about 15800 on my odo.
Strange coincidence in the number of kms logged over the same period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by benbsb29
I am pleasantly surprised at the really low charges for the servicing and oil change.
Well, those were free services - so no labour charges. Yet to do a paid service - so do not have figures for the same.

Last edited by supremeBaleno : 18th April 2007 at 16:04.
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Old 18th April 2007, 16:04   #8
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Quote:
Could never figure out the idea of having a closed boot lit up every time someone opened a door.
What I cant figure out is how you figured this out? If the boot is shut....
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Old 18th April 2007, 16:12   #9
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Quote:
Could never figure out the idea of having a closed boot lit up every time someone opened a door.
Quote:
What I cant figure out is how you figured this out? If the boot is shut....
GTO, a similar principle is followed even on the Ikon. There is a small opening/see through section on the rear parcel shelf which enables one to observe that the light in the boot has been switched on on opening the doors, even though the boot lid as such is closed. If this isnt clear, i shall try and get a snap of that opening on my car.
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Old 18th April 2007, 16:21   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
Add to it the fact that team-bhp is kind of "Baleno country" with umpteen number of Baleno owner reports floating around. And my 2-year, 15K km experience did not really throw up anything that significant which has not been already covered.
Still, coming from the supreme owner is unique. Good that you decided to do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mclaren1885 View Post
Not unless you are going downhill .. 5th gear you cant possibly go below 40kmph .. Engine will let you know that you are strangling it ..

I think he was in decelaration mode. It is only possible in that state. Try accelerating in that speed & you will know.
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Old 18th April 2007, 16:47   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO
What I cant figure out is how you figured this out? If the boot is shut....
GTO, I figured it out the hard way.
Had gone out of town for a few days & left the car all covered and stuff, but with a door not fully shut. Result was the battery went dead, which was surprising to me because the cabin light is always in off state. Investigations revealed that the boot light was the culprit.

Solution : Keep the cabin light in centre position (light comes on when doors open). So, when I park the car, I know whether all the doors are properly locked or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by esteem_lover
I think he was in decelaration mode. It is only possible in that state. Try accelerating in that speed & you will know.
Yes, john, you are right - it was that mode. And yes, trying to accelerate from that speed would be a royal pain in the a**.

And I missed one main point in the report.

Color of the car : While a black car looks great, especially after a wash (even more stunning after a wax job), it's a pain to maintain it. Dust, scratches etc are clearly visible. So, unless you are someone that cleans the car religiously or has someone to do it for you, stay away from black.
My next car, if at all there is one, would be a silver color.

@n_aditya, I read on some thread that you wished your Esteem was black. If you are reading this, you don't know how lucky you are. The grass is always greener on the other side...
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Old 18th April 2007, 17:32   #12
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I bought Baleno LXi in Oct 2005 and I have clocked around 19k. I have enjoyed every moment with it including a Pune-Cochin-Pune drive last November. As you said, I also prefer a hatchback for city commutes, but the boot came in handy during my Kerala trip with the wifey and 2 kids.

Regards,
Pradeep
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Old 18th April 2007, 19:23   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
Get a conical filter and the effects are mesmerizing. You wont regret spending that extra money.
Hi RJ, What's the damages for this? What's the performance improvement you get? Do you have to do any other modifications to the ECU, etc? Not important, but still curious, did you see a change in mileage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
When time and duddu permits change to 14 inchers. I have changed them and havent had the issue of the bottom scrapping road humps.
I'd want to do this soon as I can too. What profile did you pick up? Any particular location in Bangalore you recommend?
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Old 18th April 2007, 19:35   #14
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Lets not hijack this thread mate.
There's a whole lot on the K&N and Wheels for Baleno. Please check the links below.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/tyre-a...el-thread.html (Baleno Wheel thread)

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...n-filters.html (K&N filters)

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...filters-2.html (I need help about K&N filters)
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Old 19th April 2007, 19:30   #15
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@SB, any squeaks rattles yet ?
I've got an irritating occasional squeak somewhere in the driver's seat belt clasp/lock whatever.

Btw, I thought I drove very little with 15800 clocked in 15 months. Seems I don't.
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