By Khulekani Dumisa
Suzuki Auto South Africa has taken covers off the next-generation Suzuki Baleno which features a design language called Crafted Futurism. Although the car retains a degree of familiarity, the new design means a completely new loom inside and out.
Two specification strategy
Whilst employing a two-grade strategy, the brand has thrown in a lot of features in the entry level GL model. For instance, the GL model range now has cruise control and climate control (as opposed to standard air conditioning) with rear-mounted air vents as standard.
The Baleno GL also features a 7” touch screen infotainment system as standard. This further adds a two USB type A (one front and one rear) and one Type C (rear) charging port to the standard specification list.
In addition, Suzuki has also added Hill Hold Control, which was previously not available on this model. Other GL luxuries and safety features remain, including Electronic Stability Programme, dual front airbags with ABS, electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assistance (BAS) and the leather clad steering wheel with controls for the audio, phone and cruise control systems and the electric windows and mirrors.
The GLX features all of the luxuries of the GL but adds to them with a range of first-in-segment features. The most prominent change is the new 9” high-definition infotainment system.
Featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the new interface is said to come with a high degree of customization. The new 9” infotainment system is also home to the Baleno’s new 360-degree view camera system. That means the reverse camera found in the current model is replaced by an array of cameras that creates an all-round view of the vehicle when manoeuvring in tight spots or when parking.
Additionally, the new Baleno GLX offers Head’s Up Display which features a full colour display of a host of vehicle features, including speed, temperature and other vehicle warning symbols. This, too, is standard on the new model.
Safety and additional GLX featurers
Like before, the GLX features luxuries and safety equipment like 6 airbags, LED daytime running lights, LED projector headlights, keyless entry and a push-button start and dual-colour 16” alloy wheels.
Lastly, Suzuki has crafted five new exterior colours for the range, these include Celestial Blue Pearl Metallic, Luxe Beige Pearl Metallic, Opulent Red Pearl Metallic and Splendid Silver Pearl Metallic and Grandeur Grey Metallic to the popular choices of Arctic White Pearl and Midnight Black Pearl.
New engine and increased power
Under the new bonnet lies Suzuki’s beloved K15B engine, which replaces the K14B engine and increases the engine volume from 1.4 litres to 1.5 litres. The new engine delivers 77 kW (9 kW more than before) and 138 Nm of torque (an improvement of 8 Nm). The vehicle weighs in at less than a tonne (955 kg) for a best-in-class power-to-weight ratio of 81 kW per tonne.
With a much higher specification level in the new Baleno GL and given the perceived requirements of budget-conscious buyers, Suzuki South Africa has added an automatic model in the GL specification level. This means the range grows to four models, with the Baleno available in a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic in both GL and GLX grades.
Suzuki says, they have not only tweaked the engine but the suspension, steering and drivetrain have been improved to offer a more engaging ride, and the patented TECT safety shell and platform are now even more rigid, thanks to more high-tensile steel.
Suzuki’s global head office in Japan has confirmed the start of vehicle production for the South African Suzuki Baleno in April, with first customer deliveries scheduled for around June 2022.
More details on the range, pricing, service plan and warranty information will be made available at the time of launch.
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