Maruti Baleno has always been known for its quick and sporty performance with impeccable throttle response and no compromise to fuel efficiency. In fact, it has gained a cult standing with fans. Its 1.2l 4-cylinder petrol are nearly flawless. The in-house petrol engine is very refined and sounds growly.
The petrol is very quiet and you barely hear it work under normal driving. When you push it hard through the gear, it responds with a satisfactory growl.
Petrol come equipped with 5-speed transmissions. You can either pick manual or AMT to ease driving. Clutch action on both petrol and diesel manual is very light and makes driving the Baleno very enjoyable. Another point is the tractile nature of the gearbox, which is obvious on the diesel but is also great on the petrol variant.
This is where things get a lot more interesting as S-P delivers class-leading fuel efficiency numbers. Petrol engine delivers 22kmpl ARAI certified mileage, ARAI certified number. And since Maruti AGS is technically designed for convenience and efficiency, fuel efficiency numbers are exactly the same in automatics.
Gone are the days of the boring interior from Maruti. Baleno has a sporty flair inside as well with a lot of features. But best of all Baleno leads with excellent seats both for the front and rear passengers. Plastic quality and fit and finish have improved drastically over the previous generation. Swift feels like a classier place to be in. But the theme still is dark inside the cabin if you do not prefer that sort of thing.
Since Baleno has always been a drivers car, the new one has better handling and braking characteristics thanks to a lightweight body and quick steering. The ride is comfortable and very stable at higher speeds. It does get slightly choppy when you encounter rough patches or a series of speed humps.
In terms of safety equipment, you get ABS with EBD and dual front airbags as standard fitment. It has an immobilizer and child ISO fix seats additionally.