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Old 26th February 2016, 11:54   #1
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Default My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L

After a long wait my Maruti Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2 arrived on the 5th of February 2016 replacing our 12 year old Ford Ikon 1.6 SXI NXT.

The Search of a New Car:

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-ikon-col.jpg

The search for a new update to our 2004 Ford Ikon 1.6 SXI NXT began back in 2014. While the car was nice, it had started showing its age. I still feel that the Ikon was one of the best products from Ford. Loved the handling and power of the car. It was fun. The car was still holding up very well without a sign of rust (I live in a part of Mumbai which close to the sea).

Based on our usage it had to be a petrol powered car. A product from Maruti was the first choice given that our family has used their products which include 800, 1000, Esteem, Zen, Omni, Swift and Ertiga. Hence Wagon R and the new Swift came into picture.

While the WagonR is a nice Value for Money product, it didn't stroke any chords with the heart. Next on the line was the tried and tested Swift. We had the first-gen one in the family and it was going strong till Dec 2015 when it met with an accident. The new Swift had updated its features and now had the bells and whistles that were offered in this segment by its competitors.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-243.jpg

Also checked out the Hyundai Grand i10 and Elite i20. The i10 was a practical choice but the i20 was in a different league. The high price paid over the i10 was worth it. Dzire, Xcent, Amaze, Jazz had been on the list but they didn't make it to the final choice.

After going through the choices and having discussion at home, we had almost finalized the Hyundai Elite i20 (this happened back in March 2014) but then things got delayed and the car wasn’t booked.

This is the period I came across some spy shots of a new Suzuki premium hatchback being tested abroad. Code named YRA, the big hatch caught my attention and I decided to wait a bit and get more details, had got info that it will arrive in India after the global unveil. Things moved on and the Ikon was serving us well for the short trips we used to take her on, the decision to upgrade the car now took a back seat.

Time flew by and Suzuki showed the iK-2 Concept at the 85th Geneva Motor Show. I liked what I saw, felt this had to be the new Swift.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-246.jpg

This was followed by the preview of the production version of the iK-2 named as the Baleno at Frankfurt Motor Show 2015. The car was almost identical to the concept, unlike Suzuki's previous launches where the production version would be totally different from the concepts shown. I was following the updates over the internet closely and felt it was worth waiting.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-753.jpg

Maruti launched the Baleno in India on 26 October 2015. By this time I had enough idea about the car as the media drive had already taken place, all what was to be known was the pricing.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-2346.jpg

I had been to the launch event in Mumbai and really liked the car but still there was no mention of buying a new car at home.

During this time the Ikon developed a problem which was sorted out soon but again the idea to upgrade began rolling in the mind. I thought how about replacing it with a pre-owned vehicle from the above choices. I did come across some good examples which were around 6 months to a year old but somehow the heart was not ready to go in for them.

Finally it was decided it has to be a new car either from the Maruti or Hyundai stable. Baleno and Elite i20 were shortlisted.

Last edited by SRK : 5th March 2016 at 09:05.
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Old 28th February 2016, 09:26   #2
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Default re: My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L

Test Drive:
(Note I was looking for a petrol powered car given my low use, hence tested only those variants in their top-spec.)

Hyundai Elite i20: The Korean car maker has set a benchmark with their products. The Elite i20 is a great package. The fit & finish, the looks everything on this car looks premium as compared to the competitors and can put some of the higher segment sedans to shame. I drove the test car and did not like the steering feel, it was equivalent to driving a car on PlayStation wheel minus the feedback. Other than that the Elite i20 has everything to be the segment leader which it was until the Baleno entered.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno: The Baleno is a good product but lacks that finesse which the Elite i20 possess, specially the interior. I would say that the Baleno is a good upgrade from the Swift, if you like the Swift you will like the Baleno. I drove the car and felt it had better drivability than the Elite i20. It was priced a bit lower than the i20 and had a few features extra.

So it was decided “Baleno” it would be.

NEXA Experience:

In simple and short – “Zero Satisfaction”

Maruti promised they are coming up with NEXA to provide the customers a premium experience. All those promises made have never been met. The so-called suited-booted relationship managers (RM) were similar to what you encounter at any other dealership, nothing special. I actually have had better experience with other dealerships. Even a regular Maruti dealership is better. There is just no coordination between them. The only differentiating factor is the showrooms look cool and make the cars there look beautiful under those light setups. The delivery procedure is also nice where your car is delivered in a separate bay with your name displayed on a screen.

Here is my experience of Maruti Suzuki’s NEXA - A New Premium Automotive Experience at their Lower Parel outlet handled by Sai Service Group:

27-30 October 2015: I had been there a few times between these dates to check out the car and also schedule a test drive. What I noticed was that, morning times are the best to visit here, after that customers start pouring in and then the chaos starts. All the times I visited none of them ever took my contact details to get in touch.

01 November 2015: I went with dad and cousin brother to book the car. Had a cheque ready with the required documents. The Relationship Manager (RM) I had talked earlier was not available and I was asked to contact someone else. After standing almost half an hour near the reception desk a RM came and took us inside their office as the showroom had no place to sit/stand because of the crowd. Documents were prepared, cheque submitted and I was given a copy of the booking. There was no digital experience at all as promised. Nothing was shown on their iPad or screens to us, nor was the booking done on the iPad as per their no-paper claim.

Brochures were not available and price list was provided as a paper copy (no email sent).

So a Baleno in Alpha variant in Pearl Arctic White was booked at NEXA Lower Parel on 1st November 2015 (though the receipt was generated on the 3rd). Waiting given was almost 3 months (which meant it would be Jan and hence asked them to provide a 2016 made model only). I was offered ready delivery of the same if I paid upfront and could have got it within 4-5 days. Which I declined, since I had made up my mind to wait and get a 2016 made model.

15 January 2016: Visited NEXA Lower Parel to inquire about my car, I had previously been in touch with them to know the status and each time they said the car will be allocated soon. The RM assigned to me came after around half an hour and acted with his senior as if he had discussed in detail about allocating the car to me. The senior answered their typical reply. “Sir, we haven’t received any 2016 models, we will inform you once your car comes”. When I asked will I receive it after the price increases, they both smiled. They even said the plant isn't producing any cars as it is shut down for maintenance but I knew that was not the case. I later walked away and came back home and shot a mail to Maruti and NEXA.

17 January 2016: I received a reply to my mail sent earlier to Maruti. It was from NEXA Lower Parel’s showroom manager. Surprisingly my email had no sort of complaint no. generated. The manager apologized for the delay and promised to get back to me with the allocation details by 20th Jan 2016.

20-01-2016: Called up the showroom manager and was informed that I have already been allocated a white Baleno Alpha petrol last evening and the RM should call for details. I went to showroom in the evening and made the payment but asked them to hold on the registration and insurance unless I do the PDI at the yard once the car arrives, which they agreed.

25-01-2016: Got a message from NEXA which the login details. Created the username and I got the VIN of the car on the app. Contacted RM and they said the car is still in transit and should arrive soon. I also inquired if he could bring the car by paying the Octroi to Mumbai where I will carry out the PDI and submit the documents as I wanted the car on or before the 3rd February 2016, which he agreed.

27-01-2016: I inquired if the car has landed or not. The RM said he will check and send it off for Octroi as soon as he can and get the car in Mumbai, after which I can do my PDI and finalize the deal. I also got a choice number from the Andheri RTO all within 30 minutes by only paying the official fees and not a penny more.

28-01-2016: Upon inquiring I was told the car could come to Mumbai by evening but the RM was not in office hence he would call me back once it is confirmed. The call never came.

29-01-2016: I land up at the showroom in the morning only to be told the car did not come. They said there was no chance the car could come before the 30th Jan 2016. I confirmed with them the location of the car and it was said to be at the Vasai Yard. The RM said he could not do anything to speed up things.

I got in touch with the showroom manger in hope he could help me get the car in Mumbai soon. As soon as I told him about my situation, he literally started shouting saying it was my fault for the delay as I have not submitted the papers and he won’t do the octroi until I give a go ahead for insurance and registration. If I want to check the car it will have to be done at Vasai yard only as their so called Mumbai yard has something “CONFIDENTIAL” that he does not want the customers to see. He did say if the car comes with Octroi paid on 30th Jan 2016, he will get the RTO work done on 1st, 2nd and 3rd Feb 2016 and deliver the car by evening 4 p.m. on 3rd itself.

Until 7 pm I was told the car was at the Vasai yard where I could check it, this was confirmed by the person who is incharge of checking the stocks. The RM said he has taken permission from the concerned person at their yard and I could carry out my PDI the next day.

30 Jan 2016: I take a train early morning to Vasai from Bandra and reach the yard by 9:20 am. I inquire with them only to be told they have not been informed. Some phone calls later they say I will have to wait as it will take quite some time for the work force to arrive and get the car ready. While at it the person went through the diary and said that my allocated car is not with them. A few checks through the diary and it was found that the car was already delivered to the showroom a day before (29th Jan).

Called up the RM and he says not possible. The guy who keeps the stocks in check was inquired and he too had no idea. After an hour it was finally found that the car was with them since 29th Jan. All this time they had no idea about its whereabouts. After some more phone calls and discussions they decided not to show me the car at their Mumbai yard as no one is allowed there. Since I said I will not sign the papers unless I see the car in person they got it to the showroom at Lower Parel at 5 in the evening.

And I saw her for the first time..
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-73.jpg
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-72.jpg
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-74.jpg

I checked the car, it had 69km on the odo (possible as the yard is around 60km away). I finally submitted the required documents and signed the registration papers, only to be told they won’t be able to deliver the car on 3rd Feb.

All in all the NEXA experience has been pathetic. I had better experience while buying my Honda Activa 125.

01-02-2016: I get a call in evening from Maruti Insurance. It was mentioned that the call will be recorded and be used as a proof to issue the policy.

05-02-2016: D-Day!
It was confirmed that the delivery of the car will be on Friday 5th Feb 2016. I had earlier asked the RM to share the email with the date mentioned so that no further delay is caused due to any other reason.
I reached around 3:30 pm at the showroom and saw the car parked inside the delivery area. The car still had a bit of dirt that was being cleaned by the staff. I had bought mud flaps and the same were being fitted. Also around 5 litres of petrol was filled.

It took us around an hour or so to complete the formalities and move out. The documents and manuals were handed with a NEXA leather pouch inside a bag.

A cake was presented for a photo op. No Ferrero Rocher box or bouquet of flowers was handed which I have seen being done at the same showroom during my numerous visits. May be the showroom guys did not like me complaining against them.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-75.jpg
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-76.jpg
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-77.jpg

The car was driven out of the delivery area by the dealership driver as there is an extension of a ramp which goes unnoticed and has caused damage to just-delivered cars there. The car had around 77 km on the odometer before I left the showroom (This was because the car was driven back to the Mumbai yard after my PDI and back to showroom for delivery).

Overall buying experience was nothing premium. I hope they improve soon.

Last edited by SRK : 4th March 2016 at 19:12.
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Old 28th February 2016, 09:31   #3
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Default re: My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L

The First Drive:
As soon as the car was handed over, I made myself comfortable by setting the seat and steering position. Got acquainted with the controls. Wore the seat belt and we were off.

The car is quite wide and I was a bit nervous, this being a new car and the mad Mumbai traffic which was just increasing as the time passed didn’t make things easy. I drove carefully towards my home but before that stopped for a refuel.

The Baleno took in 37 litres of petrol (The manual mentions the tank capacity of 37 litres, I am confused a bit here). Next was to get the tyre pressure checked and all 4 ranged anywhere between 40-43 psi. Got the recommended pressure of 29 psi for all.

Finally Arrived at Home at 5:00 pm.

Later in the evening I took my family for a quick spin and everyone liked the car, specially the space it provided.

Initial Impressions:
Here are some of my initial impressions with the Baleno Alpha 1.2:
  • The engine is silent at low speeds. So silent that even with the A/C off I had to see the tachometer to confirm it is running.
  • Once speed builds up you can hear it roar. I actually prefer listening to the engine note for shifting rather than relying on the tachometer so this works for me. Haven’t revved the car yet, it has been only under 2000 rpm.
  • With 5 on board the car had to be downshifted to 1st to climb a steep hill. It was struggling in 2nd. I am used to drive there in 2nd gear with my Ikon 1.6 (Miss that power).
  • The car is wide and the sides bulge out hence judgement while driving or parking will be an issue for the initial days.
  • I had trouble parking the car and had to get down a few times to check the gap between the bumpers and the wall.
  • The rear camera works well even in the dark, a must have feature for the Baleno.
  • Lights are good but I think mine will require alignment.
  • Smart play works nicely but will have to go through the manual to know all of its functions.
  • Sound quality from speakers is acceptable and I won’t be doing any upgrade anytime soon.
  • MID shows lots of information and settings, will again have to refer the manual to know them all.
Overall we are happy with the car. It ticks all of the right boxes for us. Hope to stay with her for a long time to come.

Driving & Handling:
I haven't experienced long drives yet in my Baleno (planning one soon). Most of the time spent has been inside the city.
The 1.2 L petrol engine is quite responsive. Since the car is still in the run-in period I keep her under 2000 rpm in all gears. So can't comment much on what it feels at higher rpms. The pickup is good and engine feels peppy to drive in the city traffic. On highways, the car can easily cruise at 80kmph in the top gear and doesn't feel strained.

Gear shifting is good, sometimes it does feel a bit notchy but nothing worth complaining. The Clutch is light and is easy to use. Haven't felt any jerks or so while engaging/disengaging it.

As far as the handling goes, I think it performs well but I noticed while driving on the Bandra Worli Sea-Link that the car was slowly moving off track without any steering input. When corrected (steering turned in the opposite direction of the path) it moved in that direction. I will have to take it on a flat open road at higher speeds to know what the reason could be. Also I felt the suspension is a bit stiff and one can feel the undulations on the road. Both these things will be looked into once I spend a bit more time driving the car.

The EPAS makes using it a breeze in the city and during parking. On highways the steering does get some weight. Since I had been experiencing Ikon's hydraulic power steering all this time, the electric assisted steering feels a bit disconnected initially. I felt the steering unit on the Baleno had better feedback than that on the Elite i20.

Brakes are performing well. I have been driving very carefully and have not yet faced any emergency braking situations but whenever I do, I hope the Baleno performs well here. At times, I hear a noise when the car is braked from speed, this happens specially when the front end dives.

Fuel efficiency as per the MID has increased from 6.0 kmpl to 11.0 kmpl. It keeps on changing based on the driving style. I think it should improve as the engine completes the run-in period.

Ground clearance hasn't been an issue till yet, even with 5 onboard I haven't had the underbody scrap on speed breakers.

Last edited by SRK : 5th March 2016 at 09:19.
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Old 29th February 2016, 21:56   #4
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Default re: My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L

Though almost everything about the car is covered in the Official Baleno Review I would like to share my perspective on it here.

The 2015 Baleno is one of the best looking car from Suzuki’s stable. Harmony + Elegance + Energy Wave is what makes the “Liquid Flow” design theme, as per the designer of the concept car. The overall profile of the car reminds me of the Zen we had. It does have a dose of that JellyBean proportions to it.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-1.jpg

Starting from the front, the first thing that gets your attention is the width of the car. Many have said that the front resembles the Swift but that isn’t a bad thing given that Swift itself is a great looking car. One of the main reason for it to be compared with the Swift is the headlamp design, especially the ones on the lower trims. Wonder why the company did not provide the halogen lamps a black treatment like that on the new Dzire.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-3.jpg

The grill is a V-shape in design and the chrome line extends all the way up to the headlamps. This design element becomes the eyebrows above the projector assembly. This gives the otherwise normal looking exterior a bit of character.
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-10.jpg

The European model seems to get a glass-enclosed logo, whereas we get the normal one. The hood is almost flat with two character lines running from the grill to the A-pillar. One of the best looking angle of the car is from the top view.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-2.jpg

The bumper design is very simple. No extra vents or crease lines. The bumper grill shape is also very clean looking and is all black adding the visual presence of the being a wide car. The fog lamps are placed at the corners, seem to be from the Swift’s parts bin like many of the components of the car.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-9.jpg

Moving to the side we see the drooping roof line along with a windshield that has a good amount of rake. The A-pillars are finished in black along with the B & C-pillars. The window line tapers towards the rear and is finished off with a quarter glass panel after the door shut line. A subtle chrome line runs at the bottom of the windows. The shoulder line is a bit sharp at the front but becomes curvy and smooth towards the rear. The rear gets a bulbous look and the shoulders extend a bit out giving the car a nice stance. The placement of the wheel is also at the extreme end with very little overhangs on both ends. The wheel arch character line have been given a bit of squarish shape, a smoother and rounder shape would have gelled better with the overall design theme. Another light catcher line runs across the bottom end on the doors, giving a bit of relief to the flat looking sides.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-8.jpg

The handles are finished in chrome and get request button on both front ones. The driver side also gets a key hole in case of emergency situations.
The ORVM mirrors are placed on the doors. They are electronically adjustable and retractable. The indicators are integrated in the ORVM mirrors.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-4.jpg

The fender does not get any kind of badging on the petrol variants, while the diesel get DDiS badges. One thing good is that even though the lower Sigma variants get the indicators on the fender, the same place is not filled by any badges or any other element to fill it up like some manufacturers do.

The Baleno comes with 16-inch alloy wheel on the top models, which are very simple. Many have almost mistaken them for wheel caps. The alloys on the European models should have provided on the Indian-spec as well.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-11.jpg

When compared to the competition especially the Elite i20, the alloy design simply looks like a bad choice. Though I would like to mention that the build quality and finish looks good. These alloys are said to be built by UNO MINDA.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-6.jpg

Walking towards the rear we see a very clean look, the only badges seen are the Suzuki logo along with the Baleno branding badge. There is no mention of the variant anywhere on the car.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-7.jpg

The export model gets Suzuki badging at the left and the Baleno one at the right. Not sure why Maruti didn’t do that for India as well. There is a NEXA sticker placed on the rear window under the stop light.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-12.jpg

The tail lamps units on the Alpha model are different from the lower variants.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-58.jpg

Just below the rear windscreen is a chrome garnish which also houses the rear camera for the Alpha variant.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-5.jpg

The bumper is huge and gets four parking sensors in body colour. The number plate sits in the middle, while small reflectors are placed on the lower edge at both corners. Suzuki could have given a bit of black plastic cladding between the reflectors to take the bulk away.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-48.jpg

The rear wiper is placed on the windscreen and has a sufficient cleaning area. The Baleno also gets a rear spoiler with stop light. The rear water sprayer hides behind the spoiler, giving the car a clean look. A small antenna is place at the rear on the roof.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-50.jpg

The tail gate can only be opened using the button at the rear. There is no provision to open it from inside the car. I think a switch inside would have been nice to have, specially during security checks. Next to the button to open the boot is the request button to lock/unlock the car, this comes quite handy when you are standing at the rear of the vehicle and don't have to move towards the front doors.

Last edited by SRK : 4th March 2016 at 12:30.
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Old 2nd March 2016, 10:08   #5
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My car comes with the Keyless Entry and Start/Stop system. Pressing the request button or the keys on the remote unlock/lock the car. The first thing one will notice is the all-black interior, which turns to light beige from pillars towards the roof. I have added black after market covers to my Baleno for seat and steering. Have also bought a set of 5 piece rubber mats and a boot mat.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-19.jpg

The design is again very clean and simple. Comparing to our Ikon, the insides are very spacious. Five people can easily fit inside and be comfortable. Even the legroom is great and the car actually feels big. There is no more touching the passenger's knee while shifting gears.

While compared to the international version, the Indian-spec Baleno loses out on quite a lot of features. While giving a fully-loaded export-spec variant would have raised the cost by a significant amount, I am sure there would be a lot of buyers for it given that quite a lot of the cars sold have been in the Top-end variant. Many of the parts are shared with other cars which are in the lower segment and hence it lacks the premium touch that its competitor the Hyundai Elite i20 has.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-55.jpg

The steering wheel is a very familiar one as we have seen it on various Maruti cars. The size is nice to hold. The little chrome elements are a nice touch. The steering mounted buttons are good enough but they are available only on the left and the right panel is empty giving it a very non-symmetric look. May be they could have integrated the phone/voice control buttons on to the right as the option for Cruise Control is not available on the Indian version. The steering wheel is adjustable for rake as well as reach.

One area I did not like about the steering is the horn pad. I have to stretch my thumb or lift off the hand to use it. The sound of the horn is typical Maruti, I would like to upgrade the horns to the trumpets one in the future but the service center says it will be considered as an alteration even if it will be a plug and play unit.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-71.jpg

Behind the steering wheel you can see the beautiful instrument cluster. A blue arc lights up when the car is switched on. The Speedo meter, Tacho meter, Fuel gauge and Temperature gauge are analogue units. The center MID screen is a full color display of 4.2 inches and show a bit of information. Also it is used to go into the settings mode using the right stalk, which feels filmsy to use, hope it doesn't break.

Starting the car is fairly easy, you press the clutch and press the Engine Start/Stop button once. While the system says one has to press the Clutch and Brake pedal to start the car, it only requires the clutch to be fully pressed. The pedals are nicely placed and there is also a dead pedal.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-20.jpg

The driver seat is height adjustable. I have noticed that if you put the seat at a higher position the IRVM comes in the field of vision, this is noticed specially during left turns. Placing the seat lower solves this problem but then your front end view gets affected. The seat is quite comfortable and a driver of any size can find the right position as per his/her needs.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-54.jpg

The rear seat is almost flat, there is no centre armrest and has only two headrest, whereas the European version gets 3, again not sure why Maruti skipped this feature. There is no rear air-con vents, I think they could have used the unit on the Ciaz RS for it. The seat has a 60:40 split feature. They do not create a flat base when folded like you can get on the Honda Jazz.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-78.jpg

Maruti provides two units of Keyless Push-Start System Remote Controller, the buttons on which can be used to only open/lock the doors. There is no provision to open the tail gate as seen of some other cars.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-80.jpg

The remote control has the key stored inside which can be pulled out using the small button at the rear in case of emergency. This will be used to only open the driver side door. I have added a silicone cover on the key I use daily to avoid scratching it.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-79.jpg

If the car is not able to detect the remote control within its limit a key reminder icon is displayed along with the buzzer sound. If the engine is on and the key is moved away it still stays on but with the reminder displayed.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-66.jpg

When the lights are turned on the buttons on the steering, centre console, engine start/stop button, parking sensor and headlamp level switch glow in red. The window switch is not illuminated except the Auto button for the driver side. The front gets foot well lights as well in red but they are too dim , also available is the puddle lamps on front doors, which again are not too bright according to me.

Another thing I noticed is that the sound insulation isn't the best. I could hear people speaking outside the car in traffic though wind noise and road noise is not much. . The glass windows feels too thin and these could be a reason for the sound penetration.

Last edited by SRK : 5th March 2016 at 09:55.
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Old 2nd March 2016, 10:26   #6
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Default re: My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L

Head Lights:

The top end Alpha variant comes with projector setup with LED DRLs. The design is very clean, the indicator lamps sit beside the projectors and are placed under the chrome line that is an extension of the front grill. The overall backing is finished in black giving the Alpha model a distinct look among the other variants.

The DRLs lights up as soon as the car is started and remain on until the engine shuts off. They do dim when the projector lamps glow. There is no provision to change their intensity manually. I sometimes feel they are too bright.

The projector are fitted with proper HID bulbs and not halogen ones. The bulbs are said to be made by OSRAM.

The light gets these different modes:
OFF – DRLs are switched on as default
Auto – The sensor near the windshield detects the ambient light conditions and automatically switches the HIDs on.
Parking – DRLs are switched on, interior lights turn up and the MID and touchscreen brightness lowers.
Head light – HID switches on the DRLs intensity lowers.
Fog lamp – the fog lamps get a dedicated switch on the stalk and light up in parking or head lamp mode.

When the car is switched Off:
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-22.jpg

When the Engine is started/ Parking light mode:
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-23.jpg

Headlamps switched On:
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-24.jpg

Headlamps with fog lamps:
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-25.jpg

The light throw of my car is not proper. As you can see it requires to be set properly, which I will get done soon. Currently I feel it is lighting up the left side more and very less light is thrown towards the right. The cut-off as seen is not aligned. Also I feel the fog lamps are not that effective.

The LED lights:
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-60.jpg

LED + Fog lamps:
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-61.jpg

HID low:
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-62.jpg

HID low + Fog:
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-63.jpg

HID High:
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-64.jpg

HID High + Fog:
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-65.jpg

While many non-Alpha Baleno owners want to get these lamps on their cars, Maruti would not sell them stating that there is a difference in the wiring harness. These lamps are said to be connected to the ECM and BCM of the car for the auto light feature and DRL function and hence cannot be added on to other models.

Last edited by SRK : 4th March 2016 at 19:26.
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Old 2nd March 2016, 10:54   #7
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Default re: My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L

Tail Lights:

The Alpha model gets a different set of lamps. They get an LED strip along with another row of LEDs, which is said to be dummy. If it does not serve any extra purpose, I don’t see the need why the company had to provide them in the first place. The showroom guys nor the service centre guys know about its use. Actually they did not know about the difference between the tail lamp designs until I pointed that out.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-26.jpg

The LED strip and the LED bulbs glow when the lights are turned on. During braking the top led lights glow brighter and the stop lamp on the spoiler lights up.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-28.jpg

Reverse light is available on both sides.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-27.jpg

It would have been nice if Maruti would have made the second strip functional too but I am sure there will be a work around for it too.

Last edited by SRK : 2nd March 2016 at 10:56.
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Old 2nd March 2016, 11:15   #8
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Default re: My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L

Engine Bay:

The engine bay has lots of space. Feels as if it can swallow a much bigger engine without any problem. May be this could be because Suzuki will be adding the hybrid system to the export models which will take up the space. The engine has no cover, the wires seem exposed. While it may not have provided any benefits, a cover does enhance the looks of the engine bay.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-13.jpg

The area under the engine is not fully covered and is exposed to the elements and bad Indian roads. I can see some attachment holes on the plastic part that is used to cover the edges, which suggest that a under body cover could be provided on export models. This material feels thin and filmsy.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-46.jpg

What is worrying me is that the opening is big and the inside space is huge enough that a dog or a cat could easily sit inside. A major concern would be rats, which have a habit of entering the engine bay and chewing off the wires.

Last edited by SRK : 4th March 2016 at 19:29.
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Old 2nd March 2016, 12:10   #9
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Default re: My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L


Suzuki has been providing the SmartPlay system on most of its cars now in the top trims. It is a 7 inch touchscreen unit which runs on a Linux based system. Along with playing the media files, it also performs as a Navigation unit and Reverse Camera monitor. There is also Apple CarPlay but you require Siri to use it. Hope Maruti updates it with Android Auto as I am an Android user. The system has been created by Bosch. While it may not be the best display, it does the job. The touch response is good, similar to what one gets on entry-level tablets. The screen brightness dims when lights are turned on

(Note: The videos attached are from Maruti Suzuki)

The 4 quadrants take you to the respective functions
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-82.jpg

The centre button on the screen is used for quick commands for the different functions
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-83.jpg

LISTEN: This is used to play the music. You can select the mode which include - FM/AM, SD Card, USB, AUX. There is also an option of portable DVD Player but haven't found the use for it. Music can also be played from devices connected via Bluetooth.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-84.jpg
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-85.jpg

No option for CD/DVD is available. Video files in certain format can also be played but requires the handbrake to be engaged. If the handbrake is disengaged the video files plays but only the sound is heard and display goes to the normal operation mode. Sound Quality is acceptable as an OEM unit.

CALL: This allows you to receive and send calls. The phone has to be connected via Bluetooth and permission has to be granted to read the phone's contact and messages.

Call quality is good. When an SMS is received, the system can read it for you. The phone connects easily via Bluetooth and I haven't faced any connection issues yet.

DRIVE: The system gets Navigation with inbuilt GPS receiver hence no need for network or internet connection. The maps are loaded on a SD card, hence when one needs to use the navigation function the SD card with media files has to be replaced with the one with maps.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-91.jpg

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-86.jpg

The night look when the lights are turned on.
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-87.jpg

The map data is said to be provided by HERE maps. I have used it in Mumbai city and when compared to Google maps, I prefer the latter.

There were some areas which showed that I am in a non digitized area, whereas they were available on the Google maps. Wonder how it will function when one moves out of the major cities. Hope the data is updated.

Coming to the update, I don't see any mention of it on the Maruti website. It is said that one has to go to the service centre incase any updates are provided. I would have preferred if we could download them via the website and install them.

CONNECT: Suzuki is also providing Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink on this system. Both of which I could not check properly.

For CarPlay you need to have Siri activated on the iPhone. MirrorLink is said to work on limited phones as of now. I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and that doesn't work as of now.

Reverse Camera: The screen is also used as a reverse camera monitor. It activates when the reverse gear is engaged. The guidelines help one judge the distance but they are static and not adaptable based on steering input like on the Elite i20.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-88.jpg
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-89.jpg

Also the parking sensors start during reversing. The display of which is avaialble on the MID. I think a small icon also on the touch screen would have been nice.

Voice Control:

The voice control can be used to perform a set of specific instructions.
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-90.jpg.

The voice recognition system works nicely and based on some online video I have seen it recognises our Indian accent easily too.

Owners can also download the Suzuki Remote Control App, which allows the users to control the Listen feature of the SmartPlay via the smartphone.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-97.jpg

Link for Android phones: Suzuki Remote Control App

Last edited by SRK : 4th March 2016 at 21:58.
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Old 2nd March 2016, 12:26   #10
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Default re: My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L

Some observations I was able to make:

There is a small storage area ahead of the handbrake. It has a plastic part which creates two sections and can be used as a cup holder and if removed increases the space. The inside material seems it will be scratched too easily.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-33.jpg
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-34.jpg

The area under the centre console has the USB/AUX input and a 12V charger point. I would have liked if Maruti would have provided some light here instead of the footwells. Even with the cabin light on, it becomes difficult to see these ports. The quality isn't premium but good thing is they have provided covers to protect the inlets from dust.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-32.jpg

Another 12V port is available at the rear, a USB one would have been better. Next to it is a warning that says that both ports combined can power a max of 120W.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-53.jpg

The armrest provided is of good quality but does not have too much space to keep things.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-93.jpg
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-94.jpg
Also it is not adjustable and with my driving position I feel it should have been a few inches towards the front. An adjustable model like the one on S-Cross would have been a better solution.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-29.jpg
Airbags and Seatbelt with Pre Tensioners are provided by Takata India.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-36.jpg
The Projector headlamp unit is made by India Japan Lighting. This is a JV between Lucas-TVS (India) and Koito Manufacturing Company (Japan).

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-38.jpg
A warning displayed for the HID bulbs

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-35.jpg
Under the ORVM there is a sticker which has the date and time of manufacturing. These are made by Samvardhana Motherson Reflectec (SMR)

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-44.jpg
Radiator fan comes from Denso India

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-37.jpg
The Battery is from Panasonic

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-43.jpg
The ignition coil assembly is made by Lucas-TVS India

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-39.jpg
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-42.jpg
Quite a few components are from Bosch.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-40.jpg
ABS hydraulic unit comes from China.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-47.jpg
Compressor is from Subros

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-41.jpg
Many of the components have been manufactured in December 2015 just like this pipe.

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-45.jpg
Fog lights come from Lumax India

The Anti-dimming mirrors always start in the Auto position, which can be cancelled by pressing the Auto button.
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-95.jpg

When light falls on it, it will make the whole glass dark.
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-96.jpg

My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-30.jpg
This is the sensor that detects the change in ambient light condition

I tried using the NEXA App to schedule an appointment but was not successful. Also one cannot set the time on it after the service centre closing hours.
I haven't been able to drive my Baleno much but since the first service has to be done within 1000km or 1 month, I got the first service done on 1st March 2016 at 248 km at Sai Service Lower Parel.

Service experience wasn't anything special. I had taken an appointment for 8:30 am and reached on time. The car was delivered by 4:30 pm due to the heavy rush. Had to pay nothing. The service advisor recommended me to get Teflon coating and Anti-rust coating done for a sum of Rs. 10K, which I declined.

The delay was also caused because I had complained about a misift between the front fender and right headlamp. Also was hearing some noise while braking from speed when the car dives. The solution for that was said to be brake cleaning which I don't think has helped.

I had also complained that when I had taken the car on Bandra-Worli Sea Link, I had to correct the steering quite a lot to keep it going on the same lane. The reason given for that was improper tyre pressure, banking angle on the sealink and also crosswinds that would have made the car go off path. Will have to check this again, may be on a flat road at higher speeds.

I had asked for headlight alignment and this is the result.

Before (Low):
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-62.jpg

After (Low):
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-98.jpg

Before (High):
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-64.jpg

After (High):
My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L-99.jpg

I do not notice much difference. May be a DIY procedure will give better result.

If anyone wants to get the Parts Catalogue and the Service Manual here are the codes:

Parts Catalogue Baleno (October 2015): 99000M24120-959
Price: 245/- INR

Service Manual Baleno (2015) (November): 99500M68P00-74E
Price: 2235/- INR

These will have to be pre-ordered at your nearest MGP dealer. I think it would take around 15-20 days for them to get it.

Last edited by SRK : 4th March 2016 at 21:48.
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Old 5th March 2016, 11:23   #11
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Default Re: My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 5th March 2016, 11:54   #12
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Default Re: My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L

Congratulations! That was a lovely write up and it complements the official review well. Yes, the headlights adjustments don't seem to have made much difference. Also, Suzuki's idea of premium dealership experience is laughable. I will second your opinion that I received several times better service from my SA at regular Maruti Suzuki Showroom where I bought my Ciaz than the Nexa where I visited when checking out the S - Cross and Baleno.
Regarding the mileage, a car as light as Baleno should be able to do much better than 11kpl.
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Old 5th March 2016, 12:06   #13
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Default Re: My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L

Congrats buddy!!
I too own a new baleno zeta petrol. I am happy with the car and driven around 2500 kms.
Fuel tank capacity is 37 litres, but it takes in around 39-40 litres when tank is almost empty and you top it up full. Also owner's manual advice not to top up the tank full and stop at auto cut off. Reason-Fuel will expand under high temperature and it's bad for fuel tank and fuel pump

How do you the find ride quality at rear? I find it little bouncy and tyre pressure is at recommended 29 psi.

Last edited by Dr.Naren : 5th March 2016 at 12:07.
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Old 5th March 2016, 12:25   #14
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Default Re: My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L

Congratulations SRK. Wish you wonderful and happy miles ahead !!

Baleno has a good road presence from front and side views. The car is very spacious also. I had taken a test drive. Just to have the feel of the car. It's really wonderful.
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Old 5th March 2016, 13:19   #15
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Default Re: My Maruti-Suzuki Baleno Alpha 1.2L

Excellent writeup! I loved the detail that you went into. I like the Baleno's looks a lot, but I'm not a fan of the 16" Alloys. I think the Ciaz's alloys should be a direct fit and would look way better.

Can you confirm that the dummy lights at the rear are not the fog lamps? I was always under the impression that they were rear fog lamps.

Also, regarding the headlight alignment, it is normal to have the throw of the left side light to be greater than the throw of the right side light. This is done to avoid blinding oncoming traffic. I think your headlight alignments are according to design, and they seem to be quite powerful too. I have driven 1st gen Swifts a bit, and I find their high beams quite inadequate on highways!
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