By Malusi Msomi
Some goodbyes are harder than others as we bid farewell to our Suzuki Baleno GLX Auto. We loved the first iteration of the hatchback which was introduced to the world at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2015. Enter the second generation Baleno and Suzuki has upped the ante.
Off the bat the Baleno GLX looks quite good. Standard features on the exterior include LED projector-style headlamps, LED daytime running lights and 16-inch polished alloy wheels. Overall, we love the modish and sporty styling of the hatch.
The stunning exterior looks are accompanied by a well-appointed cabin that we were happy to climb aboard endlessly. Features such as a 9-inch touch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities, steering wheel controls, a 360-degree view camera, a heads-up display, and comfy cloth seats made long and short trips enjoyable. As much as it uses a fair amount of plastics, it does not come across as cheap.
In terms of practicality, the Baleno does come with a decently sized deep boot coming in at 314 litres. With the 60:40 split seats folded forward, the available storage space jumps to 1 057 litres. It also comes with three USB ports for added practicality.
Having received a power and torque bump, the new Suzuki Baleno proved both nippy and efficient, returning a healthy 6.3 L/100km during our test period. It’s powered by a new K15B power unit which is a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated four cylinder engine that produces 77kW and 138Nm of torque (9kW and 8Nm bump over the previous generation Baleno). It’s paired to a four-speed automatic which makes for an interesting drive. For those who want to change gears for themselves, Suzuki offers a 5-speed manual in the GLX. Gear ratios are a tad long and the engine tends to rev a bit high at freeway speeds, but somehow this does not affect fuel consumption.
When it comes to ride quality, the Baleno is quite comfortable thanks to its soft suspension and high-profile rubber. Its also fun to drive and is quite peppy making for an easier drive in traffic. At Joburg’s high altitude you do have to work the engine a bit, but down at the coast it performs effortlessly.
The Suzuki Baleno GLX Auto makes for a compelling purchase in a rather competitive segment, offering buyers a well-designed exterior, a well-appointed cabin, and an adequately powered and frugal engine. Mind you, the aforementioned comes at a budget friendly price but with modern features.
Pricing for the Suzuki Baleno starts from R239,900, with this range-topping GLX model coming in at R311,900.
Every new Baleno is sold with Suzuki’s popular 5-year / 200 000 km promotional mechanical warranty. This includes unlimited roadside assistance for the same period. Pricing includes a 4-year / 60 000 km service plan and an anti-corrosion warranty of 6 years and unlimited kilometres
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