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Old 20th November 2015, 22:44   #1
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Default The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)

Preface: I am still a newbie to team-bhp hence please excuse any shortcomings in the report. I am an auto enthusiast but that enthusiasm reached catastrophic levels (according to my better half) when we were mulling to change our near decade old Alto. Team-bhp app was anyways always there on my mobile home screen for the past 5 years now, but the number of times I was following some particular threads (esp. Official reviews of team-bhp and ownership reviews) just zoomed up a million times in the past 6 months so much so that for sometime even I thought I had lost it.

We had an existing Alto Lxi (Jan 2006) hardly run for 24.5k kms. Given my location of work in Mumbai and my place of stay, taking a car to office was always ruled out. The Alto served us wonderfully well as as weekend car with occasional long trips. But I must say, hats off to MSIL, even in the tenth year with minimal maintenance my Alto used to give 13 kmpl as mileage and our entire family had very very fond memories of it. Hence I was trying to postpone my new car purchase decision as much as possible as there was no genuine need.

All of this changed in June 2015, when there was a change in my job with the new workplace closer to home. My family actively started scouting for a new car and my requirements were as follows:
1. Should be able to seat 5 adults reasonably comfortably. After having made my family taken around in an Alto for all these years (where rear legroom was a bit of premium), and also putting AC on when you have to speed above 60 kmph and 4-5 adults on board was a fight, this was topmost on priority list.
2. Should have decent boot/ luggage space
3. Should have minimum 2 airbags and ABS. Absolutely no compromise on this aspect
4. Should be reasonably easy on wallet to maintain and run. (read good mileage and strong after sales service)
5. Given my daily running requirement of less than 40 kms odd, a Petrol car was my only consideration.
6. And last but the most important, an upper limit of 8 lakhs on budget for OTR price in Mumbai.

I was not very fussy with a choice of a Compact Sedan or a premium hatch.

The various cars under consideration and decision making process
1. The new Honda Jazz.
The new Jazz (or the Fit as its known globally) was at the top of our reckoning. When we went for our vacation to Sri Lanka earlier this year, me and my wife were literally floored looking at the Fit, which was already launched there much ahead of India. We had made up our mind at that point that whenever Jazz launches in India and if it fits our budget we will take it. Once it was launched in India, we checked out the car in the launch week itself and test drove it. I must say the 1.2 litre mill had very disappointing low rev range (in a city like Mumbai that is the most important aspect) and frankly the Indian version felt a lot less premium in the inside as compared to the one we saw in Sri Lanka. Besides VX trim was way out of my budget and SV and the V trims didn't seem very exciting in what they offering for the price they were asking for. The back seat was another disappointment in terms of back rest and under-thigh support. Hence overall, we had to move Jazz lower down our preference list

2. Elite I20
The runaway success of Hyundai was also in our consideration list. Features and pricing were good, but the 1.2 litre petrol mill was disappointing (although it felt better than the older I20), safety features being only available in the topmost trim and add to it a lifeless steering meant this also moved down the pecking order

3. The new Figo Aspire
As luck would have it, our purchase decision coincided with the much anticipated lauch of the Aspire. We loved the Aspire in all respects when we saw it in the showroom (especially given that 2 airbags were standard across variants), but the moment we took the test drive the petrol engine disappointed us. Add to it, the all beige interiors made me feel that its going to be difficult maintaining it in a longer run. Besides, given that the petrol engine in the Aspire was same as that of the older Figo with a different tune, I was really unsure of thinking of buying the Aspire given the not so good mileage related reviews of the older Figo petrol.

4. The Xcent
This was one car which was very high on our list mainly because it was extremely VFM given the huge discounts available, it ticked all our requirements and after driving it I felt this could be the car we might buy. We had decided that by Diwali when we have to finalise our purchase, Xcent had the the highest possibility of making into the list. The cramped rear seating space was a negative for me, but still this car ticked most of the boxes for us.

The other not so serious contenders along with their reasons for elimination were the Polo (cramped rear space), Amaze (very evident cost cutting and below par interior quality), Dzire (cramped leg room in the rear and just too many on road for my liking).

A point to be noted that I have test driven petrol versions reasonably extensively each of the above cars and why I am making this specific point you will come to know slightly later

We patiently waited through the Jazz launch in July and the Aspire in August. Given there were contrasting reports everywhere on the Indian launch date, we were not sure if we would be able to hold on to our purchase decision till Jan or Feb 2016 which was one of the expected launch dates. Add to it the most stupid launch of MSIL till date in terms of pricing (S-Cross) along with the so called "premium" Nexa platform made me pretty sure that baleno would be launched at a substantial premium. Everyone in our family loved the car when it was showcased in the Frankfurt Motor show, but as it has happened in many other global cars, we were not sure how similar the India spec car would be and what all features will be loaded into it. However, prima facie, it ticked our most important aspect of space (both for rear passengers and boot space) and safety.

Once it was confirmed that Baleno will have an diwali launch here, we were eagerly looking forward to it. By this time, I had become almost a maniac following team-bhp's various threads of ownership and reviews because frankly we had not decided on any of the cars which were already available and I was continuously trying to fine tune my decision making process.

The media drive of the Baleno in mid September made the Baleno a very hot contender for us. Once the India specs were available, (except for the pricing which was still to be declared) it ticked all my requirements: a good lively petrol engine, safety features across variants, handsome looks and spacious interiors. I am not boasting of myself, but there will not be a single review in print/ internet medium/ across all auto shows on tv which I had not analysed in detail. The one thing which was coming across consistently across all these reviews was that after a long time most of them were praising a 1.2 litre petrol engine on a car, which was something almost all of them had adversely commented on for other competitors. The only missing puzzle in the entire jigsaw - pricing.

Given the way MSIL priced the S-cross, I thought that in my budget of 8 lakhs OTR, maximum I will be able to afford could be the Zeta trim. Alpha was out of reckoning as I anticipated its price to be closer to 9 lakhs OTR. I don't think so anyone could fault me for this. The 4 most anticipated and covered launches in this calender year (apart from Baleno) like the Jazz (almost all variants), new Figo twins (titanium and titanium plus variants), S-Cross and Creta were ultimately priced at a substantial premium than general expectations and the general feeling in the air was same will be the case with the Baleno.

The final decision making process
With pre-bookings of the Baleno having started I was still un-decided whether to take the effort of giving a 11k cheque to the dealer and then go all the way to their office to take a refund at a later date if I don't like the pricing. The other dilemma was that from my existing shortlists of cars, there was not even 1 which was a very compelling buy for me. Each of them had some or other short comings. Hence come Oct 22, on the auspicious day of Dushherra, I finally convinced myself to go to Navnit Nexa, Andheri West and did the pre-booking formality (only colour and petrol/ diesel to be confirmed and I booked the Ray blue colour, petrol trim). My extremely helpful RM, Mayur confirmed that maximum bookings were for the Ray blue and that pricing mostly is expected to be at par with the I20.

Come Oct 26 (which was a Monday as I clearly recollect), the official launch date, and like most of us, I was shocked at the pricing. The Alpha variant, which I had completely neglected suddenly seemed within my reach. My RM confirmed OTR price of 8.37 lakhs and I was ready to stretch my budget by that amount given I was getting the top most fully loaded variant.

But there was still one very big dilemma. None of the dealers in Mumbai were expected to have a showcase car atleast till Oct 30 or so and all of them had indicated that a test drive car would only be available in November. How could I confirm payment for a car which I had not even seen in flesh let alone have a test drive. A decision had to be made real fast since post announcement of prices the demand for Baleno shot up significantly. I had to ultimately rely on these points and make a decision (especially since Baleno was coming up in a entirely new platform and that India was the first nation to get this car globally):

1. The engine in the Baleno is the same in terms of configuration and tune which powers the Swift twins, which is widely regarded as a easy to maintain and frugal engine. There are lakhs and lakhs of them on the road hence I didn't have any second doubts on the engine per se. Given my average daily expected usage of 35 kms odd, I could safely bet on this engine for giving a good mileage
2. After all its a Maruti. Few things can be taken for granted when it's a Maruti, like the fit and finish for all its cars across various segments has always been good. The ride quality for all their cars is very aptly tuned to Indian riding conditions unlike the reputation of Honda or some German counterparts whose first batch of new vehicles were not the best suited for pot-holed ridden Indian roads
3. And most important, a gut feel to go ahead and take the plunge.

So finally, after having test driven almost all cars in this price segment, I went ahead with booking of a car which I had not even seen.

Final booking Process
Given my existing relations with SBI, I had already sounded off my SBI branch manager about this purchase decision and he promised to proceed promptly. The sole reason for choosing SBI was that they have nil prepayment charges as I don't intend to keep the loan outstanding beyond 18 months or so. I visited Nexa showroom again for making my part of complete payment and the showroom had an absolutely different feel as compared to when I had gone for making my initial payment (when only the S-cross was on display and the showroom was deserted). There was just one ray blue zeta diesel Baleno for display and it was like a mela there even at 11 in the morning. 4-5 families were simultaneously checking out the car and frankly we didn't get a great or a longish feel of the car. The crowd was only swelling by the hour. Thanks to my RM, Mayur, my entire booking process was an absolute breeze. There was absolute chaos in the showroom but my RM handled this with ease. Loan process was handled very well in SBI (2 days flat) and by Oct 31, the full payment was done for the car and a vehicle was allotted to me. He couldn't commit though on when a test drive vehicle would be available and it almost seemed that the first time I would be driving a Baleno could well be my own car. Diwali delivery was assured in the process and were all looking forward to welcoming the new member into our family.

The breakup for the OTR price was as follows:
Ex-showroom: Rs. 733,453/-
Registration (Mumbai city): Rs. 66011/-
Insurance (Zero dep, BTB, from the dealer): Rs. 25920/-
I.M.V: Rs. 550/-
Service charges: Rs. 570/-
Nexa card: Rs. 1000/-
Service tax on Service charges: Rs. 220/-
Extended warranty for year 3 and 4: Rs. 10070/-
Total: Rs. 837,794/-

As expected no discounts in any form. One refreshing thing was no depot/ handling charges in the entire scheme, something which is now even though illegal but has become a norm of sorts with other car dealers.

I got excellent LTV of 85% of the above as loan from SBI.

In addition, given there were absolutely no basic accessories in the market for this new car, I also confirmed the following accessories to be fitted before delivery:
Floor matting: Rs. 1790/- (good quality, but leaves a lot of floor carpet exposed, not highly recommended)
Dicky matting: Rs. 790/- (very average quality, not worth the price)
Mud flap: Rs. 790/- (good quality, but slightly expensive IMO)
Body side moulding: Rs. 1790/- (good quality, good finish, complements the looks)
Door Visor: Rs. 1190/- (good quality and adds to the looks)

Given its a new car in the market, after much of haggling all I could get the dealer to convince is to give the dicky matting as free. Rest all I had to pay for.

Delivery day process and formalities:
I confirmed the date of delivery as 11 Nov (Laxmi Puja day of Diwali) and reached the showroom at 10 in the morning. There was already a white baleno which was been delivered and ours was the next in line. Balance paper work were done in the mean while. Team-bhp PDI checklist was very handy in the process. The entire car was inspected for any last minute surprises and luckily there were none. The car was washed nicely. All documents handed over smoothly. Mayur explained each of the features patiently.
This is the first pic of our car we took.
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Our beast getting ready for delivery in the delivery bay area:
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Some new ways to please the customer:
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Getting a customary bouquet along with a big box of Ferrero rochers from my RM, Mayur
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Some more delivery time pics
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And finally as luck would have it, my first drive in a Baleno happens to be in my own car
The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)-img20151111wa0062.jpg

By 11.45 am, we were out of the showroom. Overall, I frankly didn't interact with anyone in the showroom apart from Mayur (except for the accessories part) throughout the entire process and given the madness about the Baleno rush, I would rate my entire showroom experience as 10/10. The car had run around 60 kms before delivery, which was acceptable. Went to the nearest petrol pump and did a tankful and headed home. I must say, the amount of attention we were getting on the road was enormous and the car was a sure head turner. Was a special feeling indeed.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 26th November 2015 at 13:43. Reason: Smileys = 2 per post.
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Old 21st November 2015, 21:24   #2
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Default re: The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)

Main features of Alpha variant over the Zeta variant:
  • Day time Running Lights
  • Projector head lamps
  • 4 in one touch smartplay infotainment screen interface combining: Reverse Camera + Music system + Navigation + Smartphone connect/ Apple car play
  • Voice command
Apart from the above some of the prominent features of the Baleno are: 2 airbags standard, ABS with EBD standard, UV cut glass (higher variants), front seat belts with pretensioners and force limiterss, Auto dimming IRVM (higher variants), parking sensors, boot lamp, glove box illumination, Telescopic and Tilt steering (higher variants), 60: 40 rear seat split etc.

Why Alpha Variant and why Ray Blue colour ?
As mentioned earlier, Zeta was the model I had shortlisted before pricing was revealed primarily for some features like UV cut glass, height adjustable front seat (very important thing for me), alloy wheels, auto headlamps and telescopic steering. When I went to make my balance loan payment, I saw a Zeta version on display and frankly from the front felt it was too similar to the Swift. And given the Alpha variant has some of the distinctive features and I was stretching my budget of 8 OTR by only 37k, I decided to go ahead with the alpha trim.

The colour choice for us a unanimous one, given this shade of Ray blue looks very very elite indeed. On a practical note, under the lights of showroom this shade looks slightly different than on the road. IMO, the one that you see on the road looks a lot better than what you see in their print/ tv advertisement. I guess, some of the newer Innovas and Corolla Altis are sporting a colour similar to Ray Blue. Add to it, the UV cut glass which is a shade mix of Blue and green goes very well with this shade of Ray Blue.

I will summarize my impressions on various aspects having driven now more than 350 kms in the past 10 days of ownership

Interiors
The type and quality of plastics according to me are of similar texture and feel of the Swift. Might be interior quality wise the Elite I20 would be slightly better than this. From the drivers position all the buttons of the Auto AC system (which are the only sets of buttons in the dash) are easily accessible. The Auto AC is chills very quickly and is very effective.

Due to the smartplay infotainment system, there are hardly any buttons on the dash and the overall layout gives out a sense of richness and simplicity. I have an Android smartphone and even though the name suggests Apple Car Play, it paired via bluetooth with ease. Contacts were loaded easily and I could easily call anyone using voice command (although it sometimes doesn't recognize exactly what you tell . ). Sound quality while speaking on speaker-phone is good and I have checked on multiple times with persons on the other side that they hardly hear any road noise/ honking indicating the system might be equipped with noise-cancellation.

Setting up various FM channels was easy. Sound quality is very good for OEM set of speakers. Mp3 files were also paired with ease and the sound quality was excellent. Shifting between FM/AM/Aux etc is also easy by way of "Mode" button on the steering wheel.

Navigation comes with set of pre-loaded maps and data points. I have used it in a limited form till now and hence cannot comment on it in detail. It does have most of the important co-ordinates of Mumbai but it will still time getting used to.

Reverse Camera display is of excellent quality even in dark areas. Coupled with proximity sensors it forms an excellent package for reversing.
Some pics of the dash area for reference:
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The speedometer display with a 4 inch odd Multi-Info-Display gives cool and different sets of information at the click of a button. Information such as graphic representation of Torque and power coupled with gear shift indicator, mileage indicator, time etc.
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Door open indicator looks very cool indeed.
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The steering comes covered with OEM leather and feels good and solid to hold. There are buttons for choosing the mode of music system, mute, increasing/ decreasing volume and to change track/ stations. Additionally, you have buttons to make voice command, accept calls and reject/close a call.
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The steering is a 3 spoke steering, and the placement of the horn is a bit awkward to reach. If you are holding the steering at the corner spoke of the steering, you will not be able to use your thumb to access the horn. You will have to lift your hand to access the horn or hold the middle spoke if you want to use your thumb. The steering can be adjusted for reach and tilt.
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There is provision for dead pedal. The accelerator, break and clutch have enough spacing between them and there is enough leg room to move around.
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Seating and Space
The one thing that you would marvel once you seat inside the Baleno is the amount of space packed inside the car. When we look at the new Jazz, the bonnet area as compared to the Elite I20 is smaller, leading to enhanced interior space and also larger boot space in the Jazz compared to the I20. In the Baleno IMO, the bonnet area is comparable to the I20, but you still have loads of space in the front seats and in the second row and you still have a boot area which is just shade smaller than the new Jazz. Its just incredible how they have used the entire 3995 mm of car length to maximise interior space.

The front seats are segment best in all respects. The under-thigh support is excellent and so is the back support. The height adjustment can go up and down to a good extent (see the pic below)and given my wife who is 5'2" certified it is useful then my purpose was served.
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The rear seats IMO lack bit of under-thigh support and the back seats seem to be of a straighter type. Once I go for a longish drive then I will be able to comment how comfortable they would be. The angle of the back rest is pretty good. The rear adjustable head-rests are well placed and highly usable. You can seat 3 people easily in the rear set. The middle hump is not pronounced and wont irritate the middle passenger. There is enough knee room and head room for the rear passengers. I am 5'10" tall and with my driver seat pulled back, still rear passengers were able to seat comfortably.

The rear seats have a 60:40 split and you can use the same to enhance your luggage space.
The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)-img20151121wa0083.jpg

The seat covers provided are of fabric quality and overall goes well with the dark grey interiors .
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The tone of the interiors is a consistent single tone dark grey in shade. Coupled with dark grey seats, it gives a neat feel. Even though its largely all dark interiors, you won't feel even a bit claustrophobic because the you have large windows in the front and rear apart from the rear quarter glass.

Storage Spaces
Each of the doors come with space to keep door bottles. There is good space to keep some stuff in below the dash (note a removable portion as below depending on how much space you need), apart from the area under the handrest.
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The handrest is small and practically useless and can only be used for storage.
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The boot area is massive (339 litres to be precise) and very highly usable. The wheel arches cause very minimal loss of area. The loading lip is very high and will be a concern when you have to load in and take out heavy luggages. There is nice boot lamp to assist you.
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Floor mats taken as accessory. See the amount of carpet left exposed
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The view from the driver's seat is commanding. ORVMs are adequate. They are of electrically foldable and adjustable type and using them is very easy and its effective. Given the rear glass is small coupled with very big front headrests, IRVM is not of much use. Besides the angle of the windshield and the IRVM is such that it creates a blind spot when you have to turn left. I have to always take care while taking a left turn. The IRVM is of auto diming type which is very useful during night drives. The A pillar is not much of hindrance for taking a right turn.

You have 2 electric socket for your regular charging needs one below the AC unit and one on the back side of the arm rest.

Last edited by Aditya : 28th November 2015 at 08:26.
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Old 21st November 2015, 23:05   #3
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Default re: The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)

Exterior Styling
From the front, I feel the Baleno with its projector head lamps and DRLs looks like conveying "Don't mess with me". It looks aggressive and coupled with the protruding wheel arches (both at front and back) the car looks butch hence I have nicknamed our car as the "Beast". If we say the likes of Polo, Jazz, I20 and the new Figo as cute, cool and sexy, then it will be the opposite for the Baleno. Here I must add, the credit for this aggressive looks goes solely to the DRL and projector head lamps. The lower version looks far more sober.
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The UV cut glass is very very effective in keeping the cabin area temperature low and looks very cool.
At the rear, the car looks cute. Side profile reminds me of the I20.
Overall the styling is something which can't be categorized as jaw dropping but should appeal to most of the people. One of the refreshing things is that at the rear you only have "Baleno" and a Suzuki emblem. No mention of the version.

With break pedal pressed
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The rear spoiler adds to the appeal.
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The door visor enhances the appeal.
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Side strips adds to the looks
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Chrome handles with keyless entry
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IRVMs
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The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)-img20151121wa0077.jpgThe Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)-img20151121wa0060.jpg

The OEM alloys and tyres. The profile of tyres looks very adequate for a car of this size.
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Mudflaps purchased as an accessory
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The key set with the key removed
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Last edited by Aditya : 28th November 2015 at 08:24.
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Old 21st November 2015, 23:58   #4
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Default re: The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)

Ride dynamics and Misc
  1. The ride quality is very very planted and it soaks all the un-even Mumbai Potholes with ease. Suspension setup is typically Suzuki, absolutely spot on for Indian road conditions. Neither too soft nor too hard. Steering feedback is precise for the speed.
  2. The engine is very peppy and I wont say it is fun to drive, but yes it is responsive. To meander in start stop city traffic, you can easily go in second gear without needing to upshift to third. At lower speeds, in case you are in gear 3 and you have to slow down a bit you needn't downshift to a lower gear frequently. The power delivery is also very linear as expected from this K12 engine.
  3. With 5 adults on board and AC in full blast, the car drove with absolute ease at 70 kmph on flyovers without a hint of strain. With AC off, the car literally flies and you won't even realise when it touches triple figures.
  4. Highway ride was very enjoyable. I didnt cross 90 kmph and tried my best to keep the rpm needle at 2k, but the engine was very smooth to drive and the ride quality was indeed good. The road noise filtering into the cabin was very low and I guess the Apollo tyres are not that bad an option.
  5. The clutch is very light and gear shift is smooth. You don't feel the notchy type feeling as on swift when you shift gears here.
  6. The NVH levels are remarkable. If you push the engine above 2.5k rpm, you do hear a bit of humming sound. But overall road noise is filtered to a great extent. In first gear you will have to pinch yourself to believe that the engine is actually on. Even with windows rolled down, you don't hear much of the engine noise.
  7. The headlights and DRLs can be put on Auto mode and it is pretty effective. It took sometime getting used to the white light, but I must admit that the light throw of the HID head lights is wide and deep and much better than the ones found in the lower variants.
  8. After driving around 360 kms, I did the second tankful of fuel and the mileage I got was an impressive 15.7 kmpl, which for a car which is just running in, is incredible. My mix of highway and city traffic mix was 60:40. Post first service and once I cross 1000 kms, I expect this mileage figure to only improve.
  9. If you drive the swift/ dzire petrol and then drive a baleno petrol, you will definitely feel this one to be peppy. I have frankly not felt anything about the lighter weight of the car and credit of that has to go to engineers who have designed the car.
  10. I liked the overall build quality, panel gaps are minimal and paint quality comes out as good.
  11. The wider profile tyres inspires confidence when you drive and given the proportions of the car I felt it to be more than adequate.
  12. The AC is very effective even in sultry Mumbai types of condition. Passengers seated in the second row have not complained to me of not getting adequate AC cooling.
  13. The ORVMs size is very adequate and makes up for the IRVM which is rendered less effective due to the smaller rear glass area.


Dis-likes/ Concerns
  1. The Alloys are clearly disappointing. There is hardly any difference in how the alloy looks as compared to the Wheel caps given in the lower segment. The ones showcased during the Frankfurt Motor show/ ones available in Ciaz should be made available.
  2. The Car is based on an entirely new platform by Suzuki and add to it, India is the first market to receive this car. So its like the test market for this car, which gives you a bit of goosebumps. What if this fails here. Will it affect my resale value in future? How will the Indian customers like this car?
  3. Rear AC vents as available in the I20 should have been available.
  4. The position of the IRVM as mentioned in my post above leading to a blind spot being created is a concern every time I have to turn left.
  5. The Rear glass being small for the size of the car renders very less use of the IRVM.
  6. Will existing owner like me be given a chance to add on Android Auto whenever MSIL comes with an update for the Audio system? I certainly don't want to buy an IPhone just to use the Apple Carplay.
  7. Given its a entirely new car in the market, it will take sometime for the non-MGA accessories to hit the market, leaving new buyers like me to buy the expensive MGA accessories
  8. Maruti should have given some Art Leather seat covers atleast for the Alpha Variant
  9. In the rear seats, Maruti could have given seats with better under-thigh support, especially given the amount of space present. It would not have eaten into the legroom.
  10. The loading lip of the boot will be a concern when you have to put and also pull heavy luggages.

Overall to sum it up, it has been a enjoyable first 10 days of ownership. Especially for a car which could very well be the next blockbuster for MSIL, it feels great to be amongst the first set of owners. As on date, me and my family members are thoroughly enjoying the car, its features and specially its ride quality.

Additional accessories in near future:
Given I had already stretched my 8 lakhs budget for the car by some good margin, I have in mind the following which I will be doing soon
1. Art leather Seat covers
2. Carpet lamination (mainly since my existing floor mats leaves a lot of carpet exposed)

Credits for this long review:
My dear wife, who although not an auto enthusiast patiently listened and read through this entire review and suggested a whole lot of suggestions. Credit has to be given to my bro-in-law Mr. Ganesh Nair who did the entire work of photography, editing and then compiling the necessary snaps. Credit to GTO for guiding me through the process of writing a report as per the forum requirements.
All in all, a wonderful experience compiling this report.
I would be glad to handle any queries from our fellow enthusiasts and I hope this review is of help to those who are thinking to buy one.

Thanks and regards,
Abhishek Menon

Last edited by Aditya : 28th November 2015 at 08:27. Reason: Typo
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Old 26th November 2015, 11:09   #5
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Default Re: The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 26th November 2015, 13:10   #6
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Congrats, it must have been a big risk, buying a car without testing it first!
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Old 26th November 2015, 13:11   #7
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Default Re: The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhik897 View Post

All in all, a wonderful experience compiling this report.
I would be glad to handle any queries from our fellow enthusiasts and I hope this review is of help to those who are thinking to buy one.
Lovely compilation Abhishek and congrats on your latest acquisition

Though I am not in the market for a new car, I had couple of queries:

- Is this shade of Blue on your Baleno the same one as that on the S-Cross? I understand that showroom lights can play some tricks on the car color, but I felt it looks a bit different even under Sunlight (one of your pictures posted).

- Those Alloys really are an eyesore for a modern hatch and IMO looks el-cheapo !! Does it even offer you with enough space between the spokes to clean them?

Not a query but just curious to know if you have any plans on changing those alloys. A nice set of rims will transform the looks of this hatch completely

Drive safe and wish you a happy motoring.
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Old 26th November 2015, 13:39   #8
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Default Re: The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)

Congratulations on the Baleno, Abhishek!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik0728 View Post
- Is this shade of Blue on your Baleno the same one as that on the S-Cross? I understand that showroom lights can play some tricks on the car color, but I felt it looks a bit different even under Sunlight (one of your pictures posted).
There is a slight difference between the shades of the two cars. The Ray Blue on the Baleno is darker and more towards black whereas the S-Cross gets a more towards a brighter blue.
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Old 26th November 2015, 13:59   #9
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Default Re: The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)

Congrats Abhishek on the new car!! Thanks for the detailed report... very well written!

I'm glad you are happy with the initial feel of the car as i too have booked one and such positive feedback on a brand new car does help in giving peace of mind to initial owners. Btw, i should give it to you, for booking the car even before test driving it!!

I see stark similarities in the purchase decision confusion which you faced. I too was initially keen on an Xcent but then thought otherwise after seeing it turned into a Taxi (Courtesy: Uber & Ola)

I'm expecting to get my Baleno delivered sometime next month. The Ray Blue color does look nice, and initially i too was contemplating the same, but finally chose Graphite Gray.

Poor rear visibility (on account of small rear glass & huge head-rests) is something even i had noticed during the test drives. Since you have driven some 350 dd kms, just wanted to know how much of a pain it really is in daily traffic? Is it manageable or an area of concern?
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Old 26th November 2015, 16:36   #10
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Default Re: The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)

Hi Abhishek,

Congrats on your purchase. I have infact been in the market for a new car and was super keen on the Polo GT TSI. However the cramped rear seat and space as such has been making me hold off on that purchase.

I have been following all the Baleno reviews similar to what you did before the purchase and has now become the no 1 contender for my next purchase.

So will be following your thread very closely over the next month or so, I would also recommend a change of alloys as and when you are comfortable to enhance the look of your already awesome looking car.

All the best and safe miles ahead....
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Old 26th November 2015, 18:28   #11
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Default Re: The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)

That is a nice ownership report. It is a big decision to book a car especially when you have not even been able to test drive & no tbhp review (yet) too to provide a detailed analysis and it is nice to see that you are happy with your decision. Also nice to hear that you had a good experience with Nexa inspite of crowded showrooms.

I can also relate to the amount of time spent in tbhp and keep thinking about your shortlisted models. It is very common that the position of cars in the shortlist keep moving up and down. I am also looking at some AT options currently and very disappointed that they launched the CVT only in Delta.

Have a great time with your car and keep sharing the updates. Congrats!!
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Old 26th November 2015, 19:20   #12
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Default Re: The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)

Congrats on the new acquisition. Wishing many smiling miles and a great ownership experience.
Btb, what exactly is the Nexa card costing Rs 1000/-?
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Old 26th November 2015, 19:37   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rajeev k View Post
Btb, what exactly is the Nexa card costing Rs 1000/-?

It is a loyalty card wherein you would accumulate points for any purchases made in the Nexa accessories store. These points can then be redeemed in the form of cash discounts in the next round of accessory purchase.
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Old 26th November 2015, 22:41   #14
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Default Re: The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik0728 View Post
Lovely compilation Abhishek and congrats on your latest acquisition

Though I am not in the market for a new car, I had couple of queries:

- Is this shade of Blue on your Baleno the same one as that on the S-Cross? I understand that showroom lights can play some tricks on the car color, but I felt it looks a bit different even under Sunlight (one of your pictures posted).

- Those Alloys really are an eyesore for a modern hatch and IMO looks el-cheapo !! Does it even offer you with enough space between the spokes to clean them?

Not a query but just curious to know if you have any plans on changing those alloys. A nice set of rims will transform the looks of this hatch completely

Drive safe and wish you a happy motoring.
Thanks Vik0728 for your wishes. Baleno is launched in 2 shades of blue : Ray blue and the other by name of "Premium Urban Blue". The showcase colour of S-Cross is this Urban blue colour and this is bit lighter than ray blue. I am contemplating in near future on changing the alloys, hopefully soon

Quote:
Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
Congratulations on the Baleno, Abhishek!



There is a slight difference between the shades of the two cars. The Ray Blue on the Baleno is darker and more towards black whereas the S-Cross gets a more towards a brighter blue.
Thanks a4anurag for your wishes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by viv_cal View Post
Congrats Abhishek on the new car!! Thanks for the detailed report... very well written!

I'm glad you are happy with the initial feel of the car as i too have booked one and such positive feedback on a brand new car does help in giving peace of mind to initial owners. Btw, i should give it to you, for booking the car even before test driving it!!

I see stark similarities in the purchase decision confusion which you faced. I too was initially keen on an Xcent but then thought otherwise after seeing it turned into a Taxi (Courtesy: Uber & Ola)

I'm expecting to get my Baleno delivered sometime next month. The Ray Blue color does look nice, and initially i too was contemplating the same, but finally chose Graphite Gray.

Poor rear visibility (on account of small rear glass & huge head-rests) is something even i had noticed during the test drives. Since you have driven some 350 dd kms, just wanted to know how much of a pain it really is in daily traffic? Is it manageable or an area of concern?
Thanks viv_cal for your wishes and hope you get your Baleno soon.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DevSoms View Post
Hi Abhishek,

Congrats on your purchase. I have infact been in the market for a new car and was super keen on the Polo GT TSI. However the cramped rear seat and space as such has been making me hold off on that purchase.

I have been following all the Baleno reviews similar to what you did before the purchase and has now become the no 1 contender for my next purchase.

So will be following your thread very closely over the next month or so, I would also recommend a change of alloys as and when you are comfortable to enhance the look of your already awesome looking car.

All the best and safe miles ahead....
Thanks DevSoms for your wishes


Quote:
Originally Posted by praveen_v View Post
That is a nice ownership report. It is a big decision to book a car especially when you have not even been able to test drive & no tbhp review (yet) too to provide a detailed analysis and it is nice to see that you are happy with your decision. Also nice to hear that you had a good experience with Nexa inspite of crowded showrooms.

I can also relate to the amount of time spent in tbhp and keep thinking about your shortlisted models. It is very common that the position of cars in the shortlist keep moving up and down. I am also looking at some AT options currently and very disappointed that they launched the CVT only in Delta.

Have a great time with your car and keep sharing the updates. Congrats!!
Thanks Praveen for your wishes. Even I was disappointed that CVT was only available on the Delta trim else even I could have given it a thought. Yes will keep sharing the updates for sure


Quote:
Originally Posted by rajeev k View Post
Congrats on the new acquisition. Wishing many smiling miles and a great ownership experience.
Btb, what exactly is the Nexa card costing Rs 1000/-?
Thanks Rajeev for your wishes. As told by viv cal, the card for accumulating points for accessories purchase which can be redeemed later on future purchases

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
Congrats, it must have been a big risk, buying a car without testing it first!
Thanks ajmat for your wishes. As I mentioned in my thread, given its proven engine in India an coupled with Maruti tagname, I frankly didn't feel it was unduly a big risk to take. Besides, I had narrowed down on the Baleno on pure elimination of available options for me.
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Old 26th November 2015, 22:54   #15
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Default Re: The Beast arrives - Maruti Baleno Alpha (Petrol)

Quote:
Originally Posted by viv_cal View Post

I'm expecting to get my Baleno delivered sometime next month. The Ray Blue color does look nice, and initially i too was contemplating the same, but finally chose Graphite Gray.

Poor rear visibility (on account of small rear glass & huge head-rests) is something even i had noticed during the test drives. Since you have driven some 350 dd kms, just wanted to know how much of a pain it really is in daily traffic? Is it manageable or an area of concern?
I did see this Graphite Gray coloured baleno on road and also in the showroom and I must say its a smashing colour.

On your query on the rear visibility: The car which I had before this was a previous generation Alto,which for the size of the car had a very generous rear glass and excellent rear view. Coming from that sort of an experience, it took me sometime to get used to the Baleno. I would say its not very bad now that I have gotten used to it. Besides the big ORVMs compensate to some extent for this. I also take care that when there are no passengers in the rear seat, then the rear head-rests are as low as possible, else it eats into my already limited rear view. So I would suggest not to worry much for this.

So which is the trim that you have booked and why?

Last edited by Aditya : 28th November 2015 at 08:26. Reason: Typo
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