The Baleno will go on sale in the UK next summer and is described as combining "styling design, a spacious interior and new technologies".
The Baleno will be the first model to be powered by Suzuki's new turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol Boosterjet engine. A mild hybrid version will also be available, but likely not at the car's launch. Suzuki says the car's layout, and the materials used in its construction, have been geared towards reducing weight, "in order to meet the rigorous size and weight requirements specific to compact cars".
Judging by the single preview picture released so far, the Baleno looks almost identical to the iK-2 concept car.
The Baleno has already been spotted testing in the UK. Autocar reader Kate Hudson-Hall spotted a camouflaged prototype in the Lake District recently. The prototype's dimensions appeared to make it longer, wider and lower than the current Suzuki Swift, leading to speculation that it could be the Baleno.
The larger exterior dimensions should give the new Suzuki more boot space than the Swift, which offers 211 litres with its rear seats in place.
The Baleno sits on a new-generation Suzuki platform, which is expected underpin more new models from the Japanese manufacturer. In particular, Suzuki is expected to use it as the basis for a crossover to rival the Nissan Juke.
Those plans form part of Suzuki’s strategy to launch six new models by 2017. Among the new models planned is a production version of the iM-4 A-segment 4x4 concept and a replacement for the current Swift, which will be six years old in 2016.
Given its larger dimensions, the Baleno is likely to be priced above the £8999 starting price of the current Swift.
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