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Old 2nd March 2022, 09:00   #1
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Default 2022 Maruti Baleno Review

2022 Maruti Baleno Review


The Maruti Baleno is on sale in India at a price of between Rs. 6.35 - 9.49 lakhs (all-India).


Last edited by Aditya : 10th March 2022 at 19:49.
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Old 2nd March 2022, 09:00   #2
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Since the Maruti Baleno has already been reviewed by Team-BHP, this report will only focus on changes made to the facelift. To read the full test-drive, click here.


Last edited by Aditya : 2nd March 2022 at 09:01.
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Old 2nd March 2022, 09:00   #3
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The second-gen Baleno was launched in October 2015. It was the car that helped Maruti’s premium car Nexa division get traction. The S-Cross, which was the only Nexa car before it, had not managed to attract many customers.

The Baleno, over the years, has been very successful and one of the best-selling cars in the B2 segment and the country. It is positioned above the Swift in the Maruti’s model line-up and is the company’s only competitor for the Hyundai i20, Tata Altroz, VW Polo and Honda Jazz. This makes it a very important car for Maruti. With the considerably more modern third-gen i20, going on sale in 2021, it was important for Maruti to give the Baleno some updates to keep its appeal strong.

The updated Baleno gets major changes to the exterior as well as the interior. The car gets new headlamps, radiator grille, front bumper, L-shaped tail-lamps, changes to body panels, a new squarish side profile and slightly smaller quarter glasses.

On the inside, there is a new dashboard along with some new features like head-up display, 360-degree camera system, new touchscreen infotainment head-unit called SmartPlay Pro+ along with an Arkamys sound system. The interiors are still black, but now gets blue inserts on middle portion of the dashboard and one the doorpads. The seat base is now firmer and there are some changes to padding of the backrest and side bolstering. There is also a Suzuki Connect Telematics System with connectivity features like access through Alexa Skill and a compatible smartwatch. Other interior changes include rear a/c vents, fast charging USB ports at rear, cruise control and sliding center armrest for the front seats.

The safety kit has also received a major update. Six Airbags are now standard on the top two variants, along with ESP. There are changes to car's structure as well. Maruti claims “extensive usage of high tensile & ultra high tensile steel”. The kerb weight has increased by 55 kg, though we're not sure how much of it contributes towards increase in structural strength.

The updated car comes with only a single petrol engine - the DualJet naturally aspirated 1.2 K-Series unit that produces 89 BHP and 113 Nm. This engine is paired to either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed AMT. The older CVT automatic has been discontinued in favour of the AMT transmission, which has made the automatic variants cheaper. There is slight increase in fuel efficiency as well. Other mechanical changes include a hydraulic clutch system, all new suspension and bigger front disc brakes. Maruti also claims improved NVH.

Maruti Baleno Exterior Review


Front end features new headlamps, bumper and new NEXWave radiator grille:


3 piece DRLs inside the headlamps are called NEXTre' DRLs and a similar theme will used for upcoming Nexa cars. Headlamps are LED projectors and foglamps are also LED type:


Front camera (part of the 360 degree camera package) is mounted on the radiator grille:


On the sides, the round curves have been slightly squared off now and there is a minor change to rear quarter glass design:


The car gets new 16" diamond cut alloy wheels and a chrome strip runs along the window line:


Shoulder line has a squared off appearance compared to the curved shape of the older version:


Side cameras are mounted below the ORVMS:




Rear end features squared off bulges along with squarish tail-lamps:


New L-shaped LED taillamps look fresher, but may not be to everyone's taste:


Rear camera position remains unchanged:

Last edited by Aditya : 7th March 2022 at 09:50.
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Old 2nd March 2022, 09:00   #4
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Maruti Baleno Interior Review


The new dashboard feels way fresher and apt for the premium positioning of the Baleno in the segment. The plastics, though not in league of the i20 (which is the class benchmark), don’t feel cheap either. The lower part of the dashboard - the dark blue coloured portion is made of hard plastic feel. A few switchgear parts remind you of other Marutis. The seats have been redone. A welcome change is that the seat base is now firmer compared to old car, which way too soft and made long drives tiresome. There are slight changes to side bolstering and padding of the backrest as well. All in all, the front seats are large and comfortable even for a tall person like me. The steering has tilt & telescopic adjustment. Finding a comfortable driving position is easy and the ergonomics are sorted. The new steering wheel is leather wrapped but because it is a flat bottom unit, it looks out of place. It would be more suitable for a sporty car like the Swift. The new HUD is bright enough even for under the bright afternoon sun and displays a good amount of driving data. After few minutes of driving and getting used to it, I completely stopped looking at the instrument cluster. The only thing I missed in the HUD was navigation. I had to constantly look at the infotainment system for the navigation directions.

Dual tone dashboard is black with a dark blue middle portion along with a thick silver highlight insert. The design looks and feels fresh, it doesn't look as bland and monotonous as the previous versions. The overall feel is a lot more premium compared to the previous version. The part quality is a mixed bag with some plastics are still hard and feel built to a cost and are nowhere near as nice as the Hyundai i20.

Wide angle view of the dashboard. The center armrest can be slid forward, but the action feels too loose:


New leather-wrapped, flat bottomed steering from Maruti parts bin adds a sporty touch to the interior:


Audio and infotainment related controls are located on the left spoke, while the right spoke holds switches for the cruise control system:


Instrument cluster feels more mature and sober with the funky blue lights and highlights gone. Even the MID has more pleasing fonts and display:


MID display similar information to the outgoing car. Power and torque meters have been replaced by a G force meter:


Small, retractable transparent glass head-up display pops up above the instrument cluster. This is how the popped up HUD looks from outside:


Position and the brightness of the HUD can be adjusted. The brightness levels are excellent even on a bright, sunny afternoon. Display screens include speed, rpm, time climate control settings, fuel economy and gear position (AMT):


Buttons to control the newly added features i.e. HUD, ESP, 360-degree camera system and traction control are placed on the right side of the steering wheel:


With a long press the ESP and traction control system can be turned off. Once turned off, the ESP stays switched off irrespective of the speed the car is doing:


Black & dark blue theme is carried over to the doors as well. Armrests get soft artificial leather padding:


Door pocket can take 1L bottle. Power window console is from the Maruti parts bin:


Center fascia features a 9" touchscreen infotainment head-unit with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support connectivity has good resolution. No prizes for guessing where the a/c vents below get their inspiration from. Climate control console is new:


Touchscreen head-unit's display resolution is good. With its large size, it can display a lot of information. The Arkamys sound system sounds way better than outgoing car's basic unit:


A host of information and alerts & warnings are displayed on the head-unit:




In the satellite mode of Google maps (via Android Auto), the resolution of the map is excellent. Scouting for a photoshoot location was a breeze with this display configuration set up:


Updated car gets 360-degree camera system. While the camera resolution isn't as good as the display screen, the camera system has various display options, which make parking in tight spots easier:


Reversing camera gets adaptive guidelines:


Left most display shows the front left wheel. This is of help when parking next to kerb in urban surroundings:


12V power outlet and type-A USB port, which can be used to connect your smartphone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, or just for charging it:


Glovebox is on the smaller size:


Rear doorpad is slightly changed. It gets a small map pocket now, but the bottle holder looks smaller:


Space in the rear is excellent - same as the outgoing car:


I am 6'2" feet tall and just about fit in without my head touching the roofliner. If I move my head backwards, it touches the roofliner:


Rear passengers now get air-con vents. The twin vents have independent horizontal direction adjustment, but a common vertical direction adjustment and air volume controller:


Two USB ports have been provided below the rear air-con vents - a traditional type-A port and a type-C port, which supports fast charging:


Boot space is rated at 318 liters. Though smaller on paper than the outgoing car (339 liters), it feels about the same size:


Rear seats can split in a 60:40 ratio for cargo flexibility. With the rear seats folded down cargo space is massive:

Last edited by libranof1987 : 3rd March 2022 at 10:30. Reason: Typo
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Old 2nd March 2022, 09:00   #5
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Driving the 1.2L Petrol MT


1.2L DualJet K-Series petrol engine is an updated version of the old engine. It now makes 89 BHP & 113 Nm:


The first thing I noticed when I got into the car was how silent and refined it is at idle. Of course, this is the newer version of the 1.2L K-Series. The old engine was a gem and this was to be expected. This car feels quieter than the old one and even its sibling, the Swift.

Starting off from a standstill is smooth. The clutch is very light and the anti-stall system is well tuned. Even with the additional 55 kg kerb weight, the DualJet engine feels peppy. While driving in city traffic, there is a decent amount of pep. Pottering around in the traffic, the anti-stall system and low-end torque ensure good drivability. I tried slotting int 5th gear at 30 km/h and the engine did not stall. Even at such low revs, there was no audible sign of the engine resisting or knocking. Of course, there is no power at such low revs though.

Once the roads open up and you floor the accelerator, that’s where the K-Series engine shines. Being a 4-cylinder unit, it is smooth and loves to be revved to redline. The only downer is that the mid-range could have been stronger. Maybe nowadays, we are just used to the surge of power we get with turbocharged petrols. Outright performance is good and engine excels when it is being pushed hard. That being said, the performance cannot match the i20's 1.0L turbo which produces much more horsepower.

The Baleno MT has an ARAI rating of 22.35 km/l, which is 0.95 km/l more than the old car's.

Bonnet gets insulation on the underside just like the older version:


Metal covering above the fender lining on both sides is missing - just like the older version. Damaged plastic fender lining can lead to ingress of water in the engine bay:




Air-con compressor looks unusually small:


Finally, there is a plastic plate under the engine for protection:


Driving the 1.2L Petrol AMT


It is clear why Maruti has opted for the AMT instead of the mechanically superior CVT when you see the drop in prices of the automatic transmission equipped variants and the published fuel economy numbers. They surely know their market and what customers want. But, the enthusiast in me disagrees. The AMT does not offer as refined a driving experience as a conventional automatic transmission, be it a CVT, traditional torque convertor or dual clutch automatic.

AMTs have come a long way since their introduction. This AMT is surely way better tuned than the earliest AMTs. Compared to older AMTs the start off is smooth. The gearshift is well mated to the engine. Of course, with a single clutch, the shift times are typically AMT. Start off without any throttle input on a flat road and the car crawls forward gently. You can feel the slight mechanical judder of the clutch release. In the traffic the shift logic is well tuned - almost feels like a proper automatic as long as you keep the throttle input light. It surely offers the convenience of an automatic.

Middle level throttle and moderately aggressive driving is where the AMT and conventional automatic transmission gap starts to widen. For overtaking on undivided roads, I seriously recommend using the manual mode and choosing the right gear in advance. Try not to change gears in the middle of the maneuver, even if it means revving the engine to redline or holding a gear at higher revs, as the shifts take a long time. In D mode if you are driving hard, for the duration of gear change, there is a brief interruption in power. Maybe the engine hits the rev limiter first and then the gear shift happens. It is much smoother with slightly less throttle input and when gear changes happen below the redline.

The Baleno AMT has an ARAI rating of 22.94 km/l, which is better than the MT.

The AMT gear shifter. Unlike other types of automatics, there is no P mode. Only the handbrake holds your car when parked on a gradient:


Suspension


Another major change in the updated Baleno is the new suspension. The suspension still is tuned on the softer side and at low speeds the ride is good. The overall cushioning is top class. I tried jumping a few sharp edged speed breakers and car cushioned the impact pretty well and stayed composed. At high speeds, there is not much up and down movement. There is no audible suspension noise in cabin, even when the car hits in deep potholes.

The Baleno's handling isn’t as sporty as that of the Swift. The car behaves like a bigger and more mature vehicle. Its high speed stability has improved a lot over the old car. It is only when you get into higher triple digit speeds that you realise it is a lightweight hatch and not a German sedan. However, at moderate and lower speeds, there is nothing to complain about. The change in suspension has clearly brought about a big change to the Baleno's ride and handling.

The steering is light and typically Maruti. The self-centering urge is not at all strong. It feels disconnected like most EPS units, but weighs up decently with speed.

Disclaimer: Maruti invited Team-BHP for the Baleno test-drive. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by Aditya : 2nd March 2022 at 12:46.
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Old 2nd March 2022, 09:00   #6
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!

Last edited by Aditya : 2nd March 2022 at 09:03.
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Old 2nd March 2022, 09:47   #7
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Default re: 2022 Maruti Baleno Review

Terrible decision to move from a CVT to AMT. Why would Maruti do that for their premium hatchback? Especially since all the competitors come with proper ATs. The CVT was definitely a plus point for the Baleno and I think it is a bad decision to move to an AMT. Buyers in this segment would definitely have a preference in the type of transmission.
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Old 2nd March 2022, 09:49   #8
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Default re: 2022 Maruti Baleno Review

Thanks for sharing. Beautifully articulated.

Observations:

The logical mind says that there is not much of a WOW factor in the vehicle as most of the features that they are offering is already in the process of becoming mainstream. This is more of playing a second fiddle to the Koreans.

For the practical aam junta it will be a superhit as they get everything that the Koreans have to offer in the "S" logo along with exciting economy numbers. No wonder it has got success pasted all over it.
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Old 2nd March 2022, 09:52   #9
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Default re: 2022 Maruti Baleno Review

Great review as usual. I feel Maruti have truly upped their game in the face of increased competition, the Baleno hits all the right notes. Great looks , improved interiors and a refined engine coupled with an increase in perceived safety should definitely result in increased sales. In its segment it seems like a complete package.
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Old 2nd March 2022, 09:55   #10
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Default re: 2022 Maruti Baleno Review

Excellent review, rated 5 stars. A brilliant product from MS too, the Baleno already commands a 65% share in the premium hatchback space, I think with this facelift it could go well above 70.

Maruti always seems to disrupt the tech trends in the Indian market, in 2015 IFRC, they were the the first in India to offer Carplay and later Android Auto and now, the 360-degree camera system in a sub 10L car. The safety pack offered is equally impressive, Well done Maruti!!
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Old 2nd March 2022, 10:02   #11
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Default re: 2022 Maruti Baleno Review

I would buy the new Baleno over the i20.

Reasons

1. Latin ncap found the body shell to be stable in frontal impact tests. The vehicle fared poorly in side impact - which I hope the new improvements address.
2. GDI engines don't have a long track record in India. They require premium petrol, and fuel adulteration is common in India
3. New interiors are much better
4. The only disadvantage is the AMT, but I can live with a manual.
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Old 2nd March 2022, 10:27   #12
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Default re: 2022 Maruti Baleno Review

Thank you for this review. We booked one (Alpha AGS Blue) for regular use replacing our 7 years old Celerio AMT but we are waiting for a test drive to confirm or a refund. We could get one allocated for a delivery in a week but we didn't want to rush it up without a test drive. I am not expecting CVT standards but is it as annoying as the Celerio AMT or has it improved ? How's the ICE setup ? Is the Cruise control effective ? Do you think the build quality has actually improved ? Also, in person, the 360 view did not look very effective with a scattered stitch. Is that how you also felt or may be it was just one of the views I saw.
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Old 2nd March 2022, 10:39   #13
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Default re: 2022 Maruti Baleno Review

I have always loved the design language that Baleno carries. Build quality apart this is one of the best vfm propositions in the space, but the build quality leaves a lot to be desired. No doubt this is going to be another 10000+(or can I say 20000+) per month volume vehicles from the Maruti stable, I just hope someday Maruti and VW share their notes.
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Old 2nd March 2022, 10:57   #14
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Default re: 2022 Maruti Baleno Review

Thank You for this beautifully written review.

Very happy with MS's offering here. Will be getting one for sure in August.
The only question in my mind right now is, if I should opt for the manual or AGS. Initial reports have confirmed that AGS has been improved as compared to Maruti's previous AMT offerings. Looking forward for a TD and hopefully I can get my doubts cleared.

Cheers.
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Old 2nd March 2022, 11:05   #15
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Default re: 2022 Maruti Baleno Review

Excellent review as expected ��

While every move Maruti took with New Baleno was in the right direction, the decision to opt for AMT over the CVT is bit bewildering. Even Tata did hold back in having AMT for Altroz (which i believe is readily available) to have that proper automatic (DCT in this case) for the position of the product. Baleno would end up then being the only car in the premium hatchback segment without a proper automatic option (jazz, polo, upcoming altroz, i20 all have one).

Some people would argue about the cost saved and the f.e. but one needs to understand that the CVT actually transforms the engine characteristics completely and not just a automated gear changer. A CVT drives completely different from its manual counterpart. (Imagine doing 100@1500 rpm against the MT doing 100@3000 rpm). That itself is worth the extra money the manufacturers charge in general.


Hopefully Maruti sends the Baleno for a crash test and gets good score. Much needed thing right now. Tata is having a great time with all good reasons for the focus they have on safety.
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