The Baleno sits above the Swift in Suzuki’s line-up. It’s 3995mm long, 1745mm wide and 1470mm high - so longer and wider than its baby brother, but with a slightly lower roofline. It trumps the Swift on boot space with 355 litres, a figure that’s also well clear of the capacity offered by the Ford Fiesta or a VW Polo.
The new car sits on an all-new platform that’s likely to underpin a new baby SUV and the successor to the Swift. It features MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam set-up at the rear.
The engine line-up for the Baleno comprises Suzuki’s 1.2-litre Dualjet motor with 89bhp and 89lb ft, and the firm’s new 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged unit, dubbed Boosterjet. It produces 110bhp and 125lb ft of torque between 2000 and 3500rpm.
The Baleno line-up also gets a mild hybrid edition - called SHVS, it mixes an integrated starter generator with the 1.2-litre engine, and helps the Baleno to move away from a standstill. Suzuki claims the system also gives a smoother restart in stop-start situations, because the engine uses starter generator’s belt-drive start instead of a conventional starter motor.
The standard transmission is a five-speed manual, although the Dualjet is also offered with a CVT gearbox and the Boosterjet is available with a conventional six-speed automatic. The Dualjet SHVS hybrid is the cleanest model in the line-up at launch, with CO2 emissions of 93g/km. The regular manual Dualjet emits 101g/km, while the more powerful Boosterjet manual emits 103g/km.
The Baleno’s front cabin features a neat, uncluttered dashboard design. It will be offered with an optional 7in touch-screen display in the centre of the fascia, although even more basic editions will get an LCD display at the centre of the instrument panel. Suzuki has revealed that the infotainment set-up can include Apple’s CarPlay connectivity for iPhone users.
European sales of the Baleno are due to start in spring 2016. Prices have yet to be confirmed, but we’d expect a starting price of around £12,000, giving the car a slight cost advantage over the likes of the Ford Fiesta.
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