Surprise and contradiction continue to dominate your impressions of the Baleno as you swing the lightweight, hollow-sounding driver’s door shut, settle into the cloth seat and take in the strange mix of materials.
In bargain shopping car territory, you don’t expect the soft-touch mouldings and solid, expensive-feeling switchgear that you find in an Audi or Mini costing 50% more. With a few notable exceptions, most of the Baleno’s fixtures and fittings look and feel just about pleasant and robust enough, given its pricing.
Striking a contrived and jarring note are the silvery trims around each air vent, along each interior doorcard and surrounding the air-con controls; they’re as out of place as a micro-salad garnish and a smudge of pomegranate jus on a plate of beans on toast.
There’s more chrome accenting along the length of the centre console: a piece of trim with exposed screw heads that flexes like a toddler’s plaything when subjected to a bit of tactile scrutiny.
Less superfluous is the car’s 7.0in colour touchscreen infotainment system, whose presence as standard on any £13,000 car is quite a coup. Its screen has a slightly low-rent, orange peel look to it and its menus aren’t the last word in easy navigability, but it’s a system of many functions and it’ll exceed the expectations of a great many owners.