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Old 29th July 2021, 14:39   #1
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Default Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS

I must admit, upfront, that I wasn't planning on contributing a whole lot more than some periodic experiences with the Baleno RS. Honestly, I wasn't all that attached to the car to want to have a separate thread on Team-BHP, although this is my first car ever. Don't get me wrong, it's a good car, especially for the city, and for others in the house who don't consider themselves auto enthusiasts (hey spouse!). I care for it to bits, do all the detailing myself. What I mean is that it's not my "dream car", it's a good car but not a FUN car.

But after having read many owners' threads here, and other pinned posts, I have some new-found love for the car. I'd specifically like to point to threads of Mr Narayan's Volvo XC-60, itwasntme's
BMW 330i, Mr Santosh's BMW X3 30d and Mr Ganesh's BMW 330i GT among a few others. Their love and passion for their rides have given me a new perspective on vehicle ownership, and so, I'd like to have my own mini thread that I can keep updating. I know it's not going to be remotely as exciting as their experiences, but I want to give this one a shot nonetheless. I'm hoping to be a more active part of this wonderful community, and this is one of the ways that I can think of.

Forgive that long preamble, please!

Let me be one of those typical Indian car reviewers on YouTube and start with the key fob:

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854758.jpg

Quick couple of points about the key before jumping to the likes/dislikes of the RS.
- I've kept the lock/unlock siren on (which can be turned off via the MID settings). But when I want to be discrete, pressing both the lock and unlock keys simultaneously once and then quickly locking (or unlocking) disables the aural double ding.
- Pressing both the lock and unlock keys for longer than three seconds is supposed to set off the panic alarm!

- Point wise likes & dislikes of the car (summary)

Likes:
. Easy to drive whether the driver is an enthusiast or not. Probably the biggest advantage of the car.
. Right size for city use, easy to park especially with the great reversing camera. I’m glad Maruti-Suzuki provided a camera of useful resolution as compared to what I’ve seen on the Venue.
. Neutral to slightly sporty design with the false splitter and diffuser, and side skirts. The lack of sharp lines works for some people.
. Steering is correctly weighted for city and highway driving (albeit with a caveat, see dislikes).
. Comfortable driver and front passenger seats for short drives.
. Easy to find a comfortable driving position with height adjustable seat and rake/reach adjustable steering.
. Amazing legroom for the segment.
. Really like the auto-dimming IRVM. UV resistant windows make driving at night/day painless.
. Easy to overtake both in cities and highways. The little turbocharger really helps here. To answer the question on the keychain, the RS comes with just under 101 bhp!
. Good projector headlights. Haven’t had to modify them in any way.
. No major blind spots although being tall, my visibility from inside the car isn’t ideal even at the lowest seating position. The IRVM does block my view a little and I find myself ducking to keep an eye on traffic lights, etc. But this is less of a problem on highways.
. Hassle-free service experience with Nexa. Zero problems thus far, and they’ve been very friendly too. The car gets cleaned thoroughly during service.
. Very usable boot.
. Very good AC.
. Good ICE and touch screen even if a bit slow to respond.

Dislikes:
. Overall build quality- especially the exterior.
. The plastic on top of the dashboard can be quite reflective, especially on a sunny day.
. Lack of lumbar support. Also, while the seats are comfortable, they're a bit on the soft side for adequate long journey support.
. One of my biggest problems with the RS is the handling, specifically, steering stability at speeds above 110-115 kph.
. Lack of adequate underbody protection.
. Car not built for an enthusiast.
. The suspension, while decent, isn’t as good as an i10/i20 in my experience. Bad road thuds can be felt in the cabin.
. NVH, while alright in the city, is terrible at higher speeds.
. I’m not a big fan of the curvy design of the RS. I like sharp lines. The rear looks good, but I don’t like the front end design.
. Miss auto-sensing wipers.
. Impractical driver center armrest unless you're long-armed and sitting far back.
. The steering doesn't center itself and that really takes the fun element away, especially on curvy roads.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854711-copy.jpg

Our Baleno RS is a September 2018 model, we’ve driven just over 13,000km since. That's very little running, yes, thanks to being away from home a lot, and then Covid. Engine spec: 998 CC, variant RS. And here’s my ownership review. Hoping this is still relevant to someone out there.

- All the alternatives that were considered, and why you zeroed in on this particular car:

Well, this car was gifted to us post wedding, and we weren’t party to the decision, unfortunately. So, I don’t have useful points to make here. However, I was excited about the Abarth Punto and the Volkswagen GTI. These would have been my considerations given that at that point in life, I was looking for a hatchback. I must admit that a Maruti was never on any list, personally for me. No Maruti hate here, I don’t really care about brands that much. I consider myself an enthusiast and Maruti has never had a car that crossed my mind in terms of performance or looks. I might have ignored the scandals and gone with a Polo after all. But I don’t dislike the RS, given that it’s a car everyone around me is happy to drive too.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854700.jpg

I’ve come across only one other RS in Bangalore in all this time! And I think this colour suits the RS well.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854702.jpg
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854698-copy.jpg
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854697-copy.jpg

The good and bad about its features:

This little car is incredibly easy to drive, especially within the city. The turbocharger kicks in around the 2000 RPM mark, and with it, overtaking is a breeze. No planning required, and the BoosterJet is quite forgiving even if you end up on a higher gear than what the situation calls for. There is turbo lag, but it isn't unexpected, is completely manageable and overtaking is easy even with a full car. The A pedal is responsive, and it's easy to be one of the first off a traffic light.

We almost always drive with the AC on, and I've never felt any lag due to that whatsoever either in town or up in the ghats; the car seems to just work with you. The 3 cylinder motor is silent, can hardly tell if it’s running at start or when idle. Get the turbo working and push the engine into higher RPMs, and there’s a noticeable growl that gets louder as you push. It isn’t anything super exciting, but it still makes me smile.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-img_20210807_121332-lr.jpg

Not the neatest engine bay out there. While at it, lack of adequate protection underneath makes me nervous when driving over bad or under-construction roads. The cost cutting is unbelievable, especially from a manufacturer who knows our driving conditions well. You can see right through to the ground below:

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-img_20210807_121420-lr.jpg

Hey GTO, do I get brownie points for cheeky product placement?

Legroom, both at the front and the rear, is amazing. I’m 6’4” and I have a bit of a laid-back driving position, yet a tall person can easily sit behind the driver’s seat. There aren't too many cars in this segment I can say this about. In the pictures below, the driver seat is set to my preference, and you can see the amount of room available at the back.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854722.jpg
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854724.jpg

The gear throws are quick, short and easy. I never miss any of the shifts. The clutch is light and no complaints or knee aches in bumper-to-bumper traffic or on long journeys.
The car comes with all disc brakes, and they work well. There are times when I feel the lack of accurate feedback from the brake pedal, and I believe Shibujp mentioned something similar in his review as well.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854765-lr.jpg


The car comes loaded with quite a practical kit- auto-dimming IRVM, UV-cut glass (notice the glass tint in some of the images), useable dead-pedal, good reversing camera, manually height-adjustable driver seat, manually rake/reach adjustable steering, request sensors on both the front doors as well as on the boot (so useful), rear windscreen wiper, automatic headlights, touchscreen of a useable size and resolution, wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, fog lamps, an okay 6-speaker sound system, ISOFIX mounts for two rear seats, climate control, auto-locking doors, height-adjustable front seat belts, four adjustable headrests, lane change indicators, footwell lights, “to car” and “to home” guiding lights, and more.

I must credit Maruti for these as I keep reading about newer cars that don’t come with so many of these important and useful tools. I feel like there’s more car for the money despite the RS being more expensive than the regular Baleno. My father-in-law owns a Venue that doesn’t have rear wipers and an auto-dimming IRVM despite there being other buttons on it!

The car came with the FasTag sticker, and they did a good job putting it up. I like how it isn't easily visible from inside.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-img_20210807_123410.jpg

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-img_20210807_123601-lr.jpg

A very practical boot. The rear seats fold 60:40, and we can easily fit loads of plants or an MTB without removing its wheel. There’s a hook for a shopping bag and a lamp that’s rather dull; no nets though. The loading lip (yay, finally get to use that fancy car journo term) is quite large though.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854726-copy.jpg
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-boot-comp.jpg

Space saver tucked away underneath without eating into the boot space. There’s a little niche around the spare wheel to stow away the tools.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-img_20210807_152008.jpg

The throw from the projector headlamps is good, I haven’t felt the need to upgrade them. The automatic headlamps are a bit too sensitive, they turn on way before it gets dark. I mostly operate them manually when in the city.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854754-1.jpg
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854755-1.jpg
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854756-1.jpg

Good ground clearance (unladen 170mm). Haven’t had any issues with the ground clearance even when fully loaded and going over Bangalore’s infamous speed breakers, although we need to be mindful of the front diffuser when navigating around ramps and kerbs.

As expected for a car of this size, the turning radius is great. Parking isn’t a problem and U-turns are fun!

Reversing camera works really well, although the guidelines are not dynamic. The resolution or feed quality is good enough for all conditions- day or night, dry or in the rain, even if the image below isn't clear. I can say that it's much better than on the Venue. There are four obstacle sensors on the rear bumper, and none at the front. When the reverse gear is engaged, the MID displays, along with aural beeps, obstacles in the following ways:

Corner sensors, if obstacles are
. between 18-24 in away- three lines, short beeps at short intervals
. between 14-18 in away- two lines, short beeps at very short intervals
. less than 14 in away - one line, continuous beep

Centre sensors, if obstacles are
. between 24-59 in away- three lines, short beeps at long intervals
. between 18-24 in away- three lines, short beeps at short intervals
. between 14- 18 in away- two line, short beeps at very short intervals
. less than 14 in away - one line, continuous beep

Of course, if the obstacles are at varying distances, then the display shows them accordingly but the buzzers work for the closest obstacles.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854749.jpg

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854751.jpg

The reversing camera is nicely tucked away under this chrome bit:

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854707.jpg


The steering mounted stalks are the standard fare, except for the automatic headlamps and the rear wiper functions. The stalks themselves are made well, and don’t feel too cheap to touch. I really appreciate the single quick wipe you get with the “mist” mode. A gentle push up or down on the indicator stalk turns on the lane changing indicators, the duration of which is customisable via the MID- I find this really useful and surprising how many people don’t know about this feature even if their cars have it!

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-stalks-comp.jpg

I’m not a fan of chrome in general and definitely when used extensively. But the little ring around the start/stop button does add to the looks.

Also notice the parking sensor button as well as the headlight adjustment knob located amidst many empty panels:

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-img_20210807_123618-lr.jpg



Build quality- both exterior and interior.

We’ve done several long trips (Bangalore-Goa too) and we’ve picked up a few small but noticeable dents due to stones off the road. No, these are not because we were tailing a laden truck. Our highways are littered with debris, unfortunately.

The exterior sheet metal is easy to bend in certain areas with minimal hand pressure (roof, doors, bonnet). You can feel this even while wiping or polishing the car after a wash. I have a slightly noticeable dent on the front of the bonnet after parking in a public space. My guess for the cause of this dent is that somebody leaned against or sat on this part of the bonnet, as the dent slightly resembles the shape of someone’s rear (!). I often see people doing this in public parking spaces, and more often than that, when parked close to a tea stall.

In fact, the morning after we first got the car home, my dad (who is no automobile expert by any stretch) noticed that they've used really thin sheet metal on the exterior. Of all cars I've personally come across close enough to “feel” the sheet metal, this is by far the flimsiest. I think it's as or more flimsy than an Alto. I'm not suggesting that it is then less safe than other cars, but I don't find it surprising that it's one of the lightest cars in the segment. Initially every dent or scratch would bother me, but now they don't matter as much as there's not a whole lot I can do about it.

I don’t expect the interior plastic to be premium in this price point, and given the brand, but I wish they had used slightly better material. I haven’t noticed any major rattling yet (one or two minor rattles exist though), but the overall feel isn’t great or inviting. No complaints about how the overall cabin looks though. The darker colours are easy to maintain.

The plastic used on top of the dashboard can be quite reflective, especially on a sunny day. This is most noticeable soon after service or any detail/polishing work. And I’m not the only one who’s noticed this. On long drives, use of sunglasses is recommended to prevent headaches due to the reflected light coming off the plastic as well as the inside of the windshield. While the material isn’t glossy per se, I have seen better less-reflective plastic in other cars (Venue, i20, Vento for example).

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854736.jpg

The view from the front passenger side (notice the reflective dash):

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854737.jpg


- Handling:

One of my biggest problems with the RS is the handling, specifically, steering at speeds above 110 kph. As soon as you hit 110-115, there’s a drastic difference in the steering- it becomes too light and remains so at these speeds. You can almost predict the exact speed at which this happens. While I never drive at these speeds in any car for too long, there are sections of certain highways where doing 120 kph feels fine, but in the RS I need to have a steady hold of the wheel to maintain ~120. And this change in handling or ride quality is felt by anyone in the car regardless of where they’re seated. This is the only car that I’ve ever driven that has this issue. Very quickly, I get the speeds back down to <110kph as it isn’t the most comfortable feeling otherwise. It’s a bit of a shame as the car gets to those speeds fairly effortlessly.

As a side note, on our last trip, we had a few Altrozs overtake us while we were doing a hundred, and that’s when I noticed Tata’s great design choices with it (I’m happy for you, Tata. For that and your paint job!).

The RS suspension is tuned to be stiffer than the regular Baleno. Yet I find it to be on the soft side, and the car can feel floaty at speeds and over expansion joints, etc. Having said that, it isn’t too bad, but I do slow down over road undulations when there are others in the car.

The steering, while well made, doesn’t feel connected to the road and doesn’t provide good feedback. I hate that it doesn’t center itself, it just takes the fun away of driving on curvy roads.

- Your usage pattern:

We don’t use the car for daily trips, thanks to work-from-home and having a two-wheeler to run chores. So, our use would be weekly short trips in the city and longer trips when travelling.

- Comments on the exterior styling & design:

Personally, I’m more of a BMW fan when it comes to styling and design (and everything else!). I don’t think I’ve found any newer Maruti-Suzukis appealing really. The last cool looking Maruti was probably the Esteem for me. Having said that, the car does look cool with the rear false splitter and diffuser, and side skirts. These are the some of the distinguishing features of the RS from the regular Baleno series. The black painted alloys are unique to the RS too, and I think they look cool too.
I look at the Polo TDi parked on our street and admire its design while the clearly-better-half thinks the RS looks far better.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854715.jpg

- Overall build quality, fit & finish, paint quality and panel gaps:

Regarding paint quality, while it looks good and I have no major problems with the finish, I think the exterior is rather prone to scratches. Every time I park in the city, I end up with a few minute scratches that reveal the metal underneath. On one occasion, a friend who had parked next to us opened their door and made contact with our door panel, in a way I’d describe as softly, but that still left a tiny dent with some paint missing.

I'm one of those who likes to keep the car clean and shining, and I'm constantly looking for ways to better maintain the vehicle. But one thing I noticed about the paint is that some bird droppings leave a permanent stain. Not all, but some that I think are more acidic or reactive than others (bats, for example). Cars (such as a Venue) that receive a similar dose of bird poop don't seem to have these stains. I could be wrong here, but this is what I've noticed. Our roof had a few stains that were visible from certain angles. Most people won't notice though. My solution has been to wash the droppings away as soon as possible, but of course, this can’t always be done. And those stains that remain, Meguair’s Ultimate Compound does a great job in removing them (no brand affiliation).

Panel gaps are mostly all even, and a majority of switches and panels inside, especially those in line of sight, are well put together. One issue would be the exterior wide chrome unit that houses the reversing camera- it has gaps that leads to water collecting and then slowly leaking after a wash or rains. This causes water stains and some irritation!

Dual tones on the ORVM with the indicator nicely fitted into it.
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854709.jpg

While the overall fit and finish is good, there are some gaps around the fog lamp housing.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854710.jpg

Last edited by Gaboonviper04 : 10th August 2021 at 19:13.
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Old 10th August 2021, 16:12   #2
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Default Re: Living with a 2018 Baleno RS

- Driving position, ergonomics, controls & MID:

Ideal driving position is easy to attain, even for a tall driver, thanks to the fully adjustable steering wheel and height adjustable seats. The front two seats are comfortable, and the side supports help keep you in place. I don’t find the seats at the back to be as comfortable on long trips. No complaints about legroom or headroom here, but the rear seat design could have been better in terms of support, especially for long-legged folks. On long trips, you'll see people at the back start to shuffle around after a while. Being on the taller side, I surely think of the missing lumbar support. Overall, the seats are a bit too soft though. Being a hatchback, Ingress/egress isn’t the easiest for the aged. But once they make it in, they can stretch their legs with all that legroom!

All buttons are easily accessible, especially the AC controls.
As a passenger, I wish there was a dedicated volume control knob, it's a pain to use the touch screen for this. Of course, there are controls for this on the steering wheel, as well as that helpful mute button, but as a passenger, it should be easier. I like cars that have physical knobs for essential media and climate controls.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854748.jpg

All four power windows, but only the driver side gets the automatic up/down function.
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854734.jpg


The pedals are all well separated, not too soft and not too hard to operate either. The dead pedal is very useable, even for my large foot! I wish Maruti-Suzuki had provided aluminium pedals for the RS to distinguish it further. That is one of the accessories I'm interested in. Also, it looks like they ran out of carpet there, huh?

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-img_20210807_123648-lr.jpg


The MID is nice and crisp, legible in all weather and light. I like the colours and design of it (see image). The information is good enough but I almost never use the torque/power graphic as I think it's rather gimmicky than useful. The fuel economy page is what I end up with most often, although I don’t really care about FE all that much.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-mid-comp.jpg


The steering wheel is soft and comfortable to hold, and no issues with the grip and feel. It comes with basic media controls on the left panel- volume up/down, track or radio switches, media mode selector and a great mute button that is very useful when your passenger gets a call. Further down, there are bluetooth voice assistant and call handling controls. All these buttons are well built and easy to use.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854752-1.jpg


There are sufficient storage spaces in the car. All door bottle bins can hold >1 litre bottles easily. The cubby spaces in the doors are deep and useful.

Again, notice the UV cut glass:

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854718.jpg
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854719.jpg

Standard sized glove box with lights but no cooling.
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-img_20210807_123035-lr.jpg


The centre console under the AC controls has additional storage too, to place an air freshener or a couple of phones loosely. The plastic piece that splits this cubby can be removed if one wants to but doesn’t fit neatly. Underneath the armrest, there’s some more space. There’s also an airline style magazine pouch behind the front passenger seat.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-img_20210807_123224-lr.jpg

There’s a dedicated USB port for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Within that there’s an AUX port too. In addition, there’s a 12V socket that can used to charge another phone or run the tyre inflator. Passengers at the back get a single 12V socket with a mostly useless cubby space (that gets filthy when the middle seat is occupied).

On a related note, the USB connectivity (for Android Auto) can be unreliable every now and then. I’ve tried different cables that are highly rated but now and then, it gets disconnected. I find this issue only with Android based phones and never on an iPhone. So, I’m guessing it has something to do with the quality of connection (lightning vs USB). I’ve spoken to service folks but haven’t been able to fix this. With a good quality cable, the likelihood of a disconnection is less but not eliminated entirely. The centre cubby spaces don’t come with any soft lining, so things do bounce and move around. Without a way to secure the phone while it’s connected to the cable, there’s no way to avoid random AA disconnects. I’b be happy to switch to wireless AA if it becomes available on the RS.

On long trips, when we use Google maps and play music via AA or CarPlay, I notice that the phone doesn’t actually get charged and in fact discharges a little. I’m guessing that the power supply isn’t good enough, but this isn’t a deal-breaker.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-img_20210807_152158-lr.jpg
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-img_20210807_153041-lr.jpg


The sun visor on the passenger side gets a vanity mirror but with no lights, while the driver side has no mirror. We couldn’t care less about this.


Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-img_20210807_123515.jpg


I like the lead-to-car or home and auto headlights, puddle lamps in the doors- very practical.


- Overall NVH levels (including engine, wind & road noise):

Listening to good music on drives of any length is integral to me. During city driving, the bass-leaning speakers are sufficient and you can cut out some of the traffic noise around you. While driving on badly fixed roads (Bangalore is full of these potholes that are topped up unevenly), annoying amount of noise comes through to the cabin. On highways, I really wish NVH levels were better. Road and wind noise do creep in even at 80s, to the extent that music isn’t really enjoyable after a point. On badly finished roads, it only gets worse, and don’t expect to catch any subtle tones in your collection. I’m not the type who just cranks up the volume, so there’s that. I have thought of upgrading the speakers, but without also improving the damping materials, I don’t see the point in doing so.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-speakers-comp.jpg


-Fuel efficiency: City and Highway

In city, we get an average of 11-12 km/l with the AC on almost always. On highways, we’ve seen around 15-16 km/l. The owner’s manual recommends use of petrol of 91 Octane or higher.

No labels here to help folks at the fuel pump:
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854725.jpg


- Tyres:

The RS comes with Apollo Alnac 4G 195/55 R16 tyres that are rated at 87H. I’d love to explore performance tyres and find ways to improve road noise and handling but our usage has been so low (so far) that I can’t justify the change. The spare wheel is only a space saver, and it’s the MRF ZVTV 185/65 R15.

Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-wheels-comp.jpg


- Servicing:

We've carried out three service visits, the first two being free. We've tried Nexa's pick up/drop service too, and the experience has been great. Got wheel alignment done around the 10k mark. No issues to report otherwise.

- Some other little things:

The bonnet release lever:
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-img_20210808_165236-lr.jpg

Basic warm-toned lights located above the IRVM. Push the lights themselves to turn them on/off. The loudspeakers for the bluetooth calls are part of the unit.
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-img_20210807_123422.jpg

Long pressing the super flimsy turn knob on the right side of the MID gets you into the settings page which has all of these options (the other knob on the left is for the two trip meters):
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854753.jpg

Boot lamp and hook:
Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS-_k854727.jpg


In the end, I was glad to see Maruti-Suzuki experiment with an “RS badge” and I was hoping that they'd continue to and come up with some actually inspiring engine specs that appeal to people like me. Given their huge market share, I'm disappointed that they haven't continued with the experiment. I also hope that they improve their build quality and material choices; make people feel like they’re driving well-built cars that are safe too.

There we go. Hopefully I haven't missed anything major. Feel free to ask specific questions if anyone still has any about this car!

Last edited by Aditya : 19th August 2021 at 15:31. Reason: As requested
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Old 11th August 2021, 05:32   #3
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Default re: Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11th August 2021, 09:40   #4
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS

This quite a detailed review! I nearly pulled the trigger on a new Baleno CVT before getting my hands on a Vento. Parental/Peer/Family pressure is quite a thing and I barely managed to dodge it.
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Old 11th August 2021, 11:52   #5
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS

A detailed thread for sure. Never seen a baleno from so up close. Does the car come with all four discs or front discs? And what about high speed stability? How does the stock speaker sound? And since you're from Bangalore and plan to keep this car, any future plans about remapping?
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Old 11th August 2021, 12:06   #6
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS

Awesome review, on par with the official reviews! Planning on any performance mods? Esp as the RS is so mod happy.
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Old 11th August 2021, 12:32   #7
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Default Re: Living with a 2018 Baleno RS

Great review; solid details & a very direct-from-the-heart thoughts.

My family went for the Baleno CVT (2019 update) and at that time, the RS was available. I was keen on it, but dad being the super practical guy, wasn't sure if the next gen would come and the related service & parts (not sure how much of a difference it would have been for the engine). Anyways, we went ahead with the regular option.

As you rightly said, its a good city car but on highways, the NVH is not great. And the reflection from the plastic is an eye sore. A good pair of shades is a must!

We bought the car before pandemic (just shy of 2 years now), and it was never meant to be a highway runner. But pandemic has forced us to travel via road and we are extra careful with Baleno as running north of 100 is not confidence inspiring. We cruise at 90-100 max, and get a solid efficiency of 18-20 kmph. Does the job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaboonviper04 View Post

On long trips, when we use Google maps and play music via AA or CarPlay, I notice that the phone doesnít actually get charged and in fact discharges a little. Iím guessing that the power supply isnít good enough, but this isnít a deal-breaker.
One area that impressed me was the Carplay integration. Did not expect it to work so well. And I am surprised to hear you face the above issue. Do try an original charger/cable? Coz no such issues for iPhones in our family. In fact, at any given time, we have atleast 2-3 phones being charged via the various ports. And this is over multiple long drives of 2k-4k per trip.

Look forward to more updates.

Cheers!
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Old 11th August 2021, 17:43   #8
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Default Re: Living with a 2018 Baleno RS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaboonviper04 View Post
- Driving position, ergonomics, controls & MID:
Boy it was sure getting quite lonely out here! Good to have another owner here.

Great review and well detailed out with pictures. I relate with every point of yours.

I think the single repeated feedback I see in almost every RS review is the complaint that they provided a gem of a powerplant but left the suspension untouched. We have the Hyundai N Line coming in with no engine upgrades but a sporty exhaust and suspension upgrades. Would be interesting to find which strategy bears fruit.

You should try out installing RogerAB buffers on your springs. They really sort out the suspension to a large extent. Maruti should have definitely provided an appropriate spring and damper combo which would have really completed the package. For my part I am still experimenting with different combinations.

At 70K the car still puts a smile on my face. And I love the fact that I can still have two child seats, my wife and my father comfortably seated in it in while still enjoying the performance of the engine at sane speeds. So much so that when I think of buying a new car, I think of hanging on to this much like my Swift long years back.

Drive on,
Shibu
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Old 12th August 2021, 08:39   #9
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS

Thanks for the detailed review, got to many new things about the RS.
Is this the same Alto K10/WagonR/ Celerio 998cc engine with turbo and intercooler? Or is this entirely different from that engine?
Do you know what parts are different in this car compared to regular Balenos?
Is the gearbox the same as in regular Baleno or is it taken from the smaller Kseries cars.

Although in general terms, Baleno is a light car, the issue with steering that you explained, sounds more to do with wheel balancing, alignment and improper tyre pressure (over inflated). Try to get these done at a manual wheel alignment place and you should see a difference.
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Old 12th August 2021, 11:17   #10
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS

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Originally Posted by vredesbyrd View Post
This quite a detailed review! I nearly pulled the trigger on a new Baleno CVT before getting my hands on a Vento. Parental/Peer/Family pressure is quite a thing and I barely managed to dodge it.
Thanks for reading it. Oh man, while there's no direct comparison between a Baleno and a Vento, having driven both, I'm so glad you managed to dodge the bullet. Couldn't find your review of it, link please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorkey View Post
A detailed thread for sure. Never seen a baleno from so up close. Does the car come with all four discs or front discs? And what about high speed stability? How does the stock speaker sound? And since you're from Bangalore and plan to keep this car, any future plans about remapping?
Thanks! The RS comes with all disc brakes. About high speed stability, as I mentioned in my posts, the steering becomes really light after ~115 kph, aside from that, the car handles fine. To me, it doesn't feel like the car was built to be taken past those speeds regularly. The stock speakers are okay, nothing about them would appeal to an audiophile. They're better than most stock systems in the segment at that time period, and definitely sound warm, bass-heavy. If the noise insulation was better, they may have sounded better. About mods, see below please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stribog View Post
Awesome review, on par with the official reviews! Planning on any performance mods? Esp as the RS is so mod happy.
Thanks Stribog (on par with the official, yay!). Oh yes, I'm definitely interested in remaps and trying to get a little more from the BoosterJet. I've also been thinking about the suspension mods that shibujp has done on his RS. Do you have anything specific in mind?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VT-RNS View Post
Great review; solid details & a very direct-from-the-heart thoughts.

My family went for the Baleno CVT (2019 update) and at that time, the RS was available.
Thank you! Congrats on your CVT, while I wish you were able to talk your dad into the RS. I'm sure he feels justified with his decision given that the RS was discontinued. Are you planning to write your own review?
I agree, the car surely doesn't feel planted on the highway. It isn't bad at all, but not confidence inspiring as you said. After all, these cars sit in a certain segment.

Quote:
In fact, at any given time, we have atleast 2-3 phones being charged via the various ports.
Apple CarPlay works seamlessly. My only issue has been with Android phones, and not just one. I believe it's to do with the design of some of the phones I've used, where there's always a little play at the phone's end whereas Apple cables fit a lot more snugly. But thanks, I'll continue trying to figure out ways to improve the charging issue. Even the discharging doesn't always happen. I think it gets worse in some regions when the phone is trying to do multiple things at once while also searching for network.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shibujp View Post
Boy it was sure getting quite lonely out here! Good to have another owner here.

Great review and well detailed out with pictures. I relate with every point of yours.
Haha, I know! I'm happy to join you, even if I'm super late to the party. As I said elsewhere, your RS thread has been helpful, and I've learned a lot. So, please keep that going.

Quote:
You should try out installing RogerAB buffers on your springs. They really sort out the suspension to a large extent.
Oh yes, I have been thinking about this. Now that Bangalore has opened up again, let me explore my options. Thanks. And yeah, I agree, there's nothing like owning a car and wanting to keep it for as long as possible.


Karthik
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Old 12th August 2021, 16:03   #11
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaboonviper04 View Post
Thank you! Congrats on your CVT, while I wish you were able to talk your dad into the RS. I'm sure he feels justified with his decision given that the RS was discontinued. Are you planning to write your own review?
I agree, the car surely doesn't feel planted on the highway. It isn't bad at all, but not confidence inspiring as you said. After all, these cars sit in a certain segment.


I think it gets worse in some regions when the phone is trying to do multiple things at once while also searching for network.
To be honest, don't think the regular Baleno deserves another ownership review. its a fairly safe bet in the segment and enough is avilable. Your RS on the other hand is special

And you are absolutely right, we cannot expect Baleno (or cars from this segment) to offer stable ride at 100+
Though, I was spoiled during my years living in Europe. For eg: even the tiny Renault Clio had cruise mode, and was stable at 120/130 kmph on French/Belgian/Dutch highways.
Alas, no such expectations here

Lastly, on the phone, yes it could be during the time it searches for network, as the phone drains the battery much more when looking for a signal. I often switch to airplane mode, if its a known highway, to avoid such issues

Enjoy your drives, and look forward to reading about your modifications (if any)

Cheers,
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Old 12th August 2021, 18:05   #12
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS

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Originally Posted by SS80 View Post
Is this the same Alto K10/WagonR/ Celerio 998cc engine with turbo and intercooler? Or is this entirely different from that engine?
Is the gearbox the same as in regular Baleno or is it taken from the smaller Kseries cars.
Thanks for reading!
I'm not an auto expert, not by any stretch of imagination. From what I know, the RS BoosterJet is a completely different engine from the ones in the Alto K10, WagonR or the Celerio. The BoosterJet was fully imported thus contributing to the big price difference between standard petrol variant and the RS. The RS has the K10C type engine as opposed to the K10B, and produces more power and torque. I believe the gearbox is the same as those in regular manual Balenos.

Quote:
Do you know what parts are different in this car compared to regular Balenos?
The interior parts are shared with the standard Baleno; exterior parts that are different would be the different grill, painted alloys of the same design and other cosmetics (diffuser, side skirts, etc).

Quote:
The issue with steering that you explained, sounds more to do with wheel balancing, alignment and improper tyre pressure (over inflated). Try to get these done at a manual wheel alignment place and you should see a difference.
I have thought of bad wheel alignment being a contributing factor. And at the 10k mark, I got it done at the service centre. However, that didn't make a difference and the car has always been like this at speeds, from when it was brand new. Of course, it's possible that the alignment has always been off, and I'll follow your advice in getting it done at an FNG. As far as tyres go, I use an inflator and have always checked/filled air before any trip. Maruti recommends 29 PSI all around, and that's what I've gone by. The one time when a pump ended up filling 33, the car felt super skittish, but it's been 29 or lower otherwise. Over time, I don't think tyre pressure would be a factor. I assumed this was by design as I've read other posts about this issue with some Marutis.
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Old 12th August 2021, 19:25   #13
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaboonviper04 View Post
Thanks for reading it. Oh man, while there's no direct comparison between a Baleno and a Vento, having driven both, I'm so glad you managed to dodge the bullet. Couldn't find your review of it, link please?

Karthik
No review yet. I haven't even done 500km with it despite being bought in May. Have a trip to Corbett lined up in October. Might be able to do a decent photoshoot (and put that 25mm 1.8f to test) and pen down a review.

However, I'd suggest you have a look at these two reviews:

JoshMachine's 1.5 TDI DSG (I have the same engine-transmission combination): https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/long-...km-update.html

Sen's 1.0 TSI MT (I have the same feature list): https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-...ne-tsi-mt.html (Taco Time! Review of my VW Vento Highline+ TSI MT)
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Old 12th August 2021, 20:45   #14
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS

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Originally Posted by SS80 View Post
Or is this entirely different from that engine?
Do you know what parts are different in this car compared to regular Balenos?
Is the gearbox the same as in regular Baleno or is it taken from the smaller Kseries cars.
As confirmed the BoosterJet is a different engine series in Suzuki like the TSI set of engines in VW. The direct injection petrol engines in all manufacturers are different families as the direct injection requirement places different design parameters on engines. In reality the actual technology innovation is more in terms of petrol direct injection than turbo charging per se.

In addition to the exterior differences the exhaust system is different. The manifold itself is integrated in the BoosterJet. The gearbox is basically the same five speed in the regular Baleno with different gear ratios.

Quote:
What is it that makes a Baleno, a Baleno RS (short for Road Sport)? Letís talk mechanicals first and go in increasing order of significance. The RS uses the same suspension as the standard Baleno petrol but itís been stiffened by about 10 percent. The chassis has also been strengthened and is one reason why the RS weighs about 60kg more than the Baleno 1.2 petrol. Still, at 950kg, the RS is light and that can only be good for performance. To reign in the extra speed, it comes with rear disc brakes in place of the standard carís drums. But leave aside everything else because the single ingredient that makes the RS the RS is its engine. Itís a 998cc, three-cylinder unit from Suzukiís new Boosterjet range of direct injection, turbocharged petrol engines. Itís imported into India and is far removed from the K10 engines on the Alto, Celerio and WagonR.
Link


Thanks,
Shibu.
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Old 18th August 2021, 12:26   #15
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Default Re: Ownership Review | Living with a 2018 Maruti Baleno RS

Good to see another RS review, even after the car is discontinued! It's a great car overall, mine is close to 50k now with no major issues (touch wood). I did do a remap and a couple of other upgrades. I've grown quite attached to it now and will keep it till it lasts

It is strange that your glove box does not have a light. Mine does (2017 model), maybe the bulb is bust? Or, did Maruti remove that feature in 2018? A very odd feature to remove, if they did!

Last edited by ROG_AK : 18th August 2021 at 12:37.
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