I won’t bore you with the technical details in this Maruti Suzuki Baleno 2022 Review. I’m sure you already know about the 1.2-liter engine (with dual jets and variable valve timing, carried over from the previous model), the 88.5 bhp of power, the manual and automatic options, the 318 litres of boot space and the projected mileage of 19 to 23 kmpl. I’m equally sure that you also know about the variants and the ex-showroom price range of about Rs. 6.5 lakhs to Rs. 9.71 lakhs. So, I don’t need to tell you about that.
What I am going to tell you about is the experience of owning this car. What it feels like, what I like, what I love, and what I am not so thrilled about. The car I am reviewing is the Baleno 2022 Alpha with a manual transmission, which according to some sites happens to be the top selling model. Also, I have driven about 1000 km in the car now so, I should know what I am talking about… hopefully!
So, without further ado let’s get started.
I recently took the car out on another drive and here are my observations:
- I managed to do 568 Km on one full tank before I got a fuel warning. The mileage was around 16-18 kmpl
- The drive was a mix of city driving, narrow roads, twisty roads, gentle hills and expressways
- Some sections of the road were really, REALLY, bad and the car did scrape the bottom on some stones
- The journey was smooth and comfortable with the car feeling very controllable on twisty roads too
- The overtaking was a bit of an issue because of the lack of power
- Most of the grunt and movement in the car will come after 2000 RPM
- Interestingly, once you get a low fuel waring the car stops showing the range to empty. Don’t like that at all
- Tried out the automatic headlights in the tunnels. Nothing much to report here except that they work just fine and come on 1 to 2 seconds after you enter the
The look & Feel of the Baleno 2022
For the looks I will talk about the colours, the new lights, and the interiors.
Baleno 2022 Colours
Let’s start with the colours available. The colours have also been updated and the most popular one is the Nexa Blue. My preferred colour is the red but the blue works really well too. It is a deeper shade of the old blue.
One thing to note is that they also have a colour called the Opulent Red, which is what I wanted. But I was told that there is a minimum waiting period of 3 months for that colour, so I chose blue. Apparently, you have to wait for the red because they only make it to order and only mix a batch when they receive a certain number of orders.
Don’t get me wrong. It was not a matter of settling, the blue is an excellent colour and I really like the look of it on the car. It also has another advantage which we’ll talk about a bit later.
There are new LED projector lights in a new design that replace the old ones. The old ones resembled the ones from the Swift so it is a good thing they have been changed. There are fog lights also available under the headlights but these are not a new addition. The grill has also been worked on to give it a slightly new look. The tail lights have also been changed to a new style that spills over onto the boot lid. Overall the exterior of the car looks definitely updated and good.
Let’s first talk about the most important thing, space in the car. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the space in the car. The front seat can be moved back and forth and also up and down to adjust the height.
The inside of the car feels quite premium, especially if you take the Alpha. The trim inside is dual tone and comes in grey and blue. This is the second advantage of choosing the blue… the colour of the car matches the trim. It’s important because if you take any other colour you will still have to deal with the blue interior with a non-blue exterior.
The dash layout is good with the most prominent feature being the 9 inch infotainment system that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Just under that are the controls for the air conditioning and while most cars get round dials to turn, this car gets toggle switches and buttons.
For connectivity the car offers 2 nor USB outlets, 1 USB type C and one 12V point that can be used to attach USB accessories to. 1 USB and the Type C points are available for the passengers in the back seats along with their own AC vents.
Space in the car
When it comes to leg room, I can safely state there is plenty of it. The back seats were the real surprise here. Even in my driving position (I am not short by any stretch of the imagination), anyone sitting behind me can sit comfortably. There is also plenty of headroom so you don’t feel very cramped.
The boot of the car also has a lot of space to fit most of the luggage you carry if you get thrown out of the house. The only downside is that you can’t just slide the luggage into the back. You have to lift it over the back and then put it in. Maruti should be handing out complimentary gym memberships just for this!
How Does the Baleno 2022 Feel to Drive?
Let’s be very clear about one thing. This is not a vehicle for those looking for a car that zooms about. There is nothing rushed about the way the car picks up speed. It’s not slow but it’s not quick either (I would know, my other transport is a KTM Duke 390). The real ‘aggression’ in the car shows only after 2000 RPM.
That said, the performance is very smooth. There is a bit of a growl from the engine but that only comes when you push the car, something you won’t do much in the city. The gearbox (5 speed) is also smooth enough though it sticks just the tiniest but when shifting from second to third and from the fourth to the third.
It is very comfortable to drive in the city and on highways too. The steering is light and easy to use, although it’s a bit too light for my liking. The suspension is a bit on the stiff side and becomes noticeable when dealing with speed breakers and could have been a tad softer.
The mileage of the Baleno is something everyone looks forward to in a car like this. Since the mileage of the Baleno 2022 is supposed to be around 19 ish kmpl (as per the brochure), you’d expect somewhere around 700km of range. But what I have observed so far is that I am getting around 16 kmpl at the moment. While it seems a bit low, I believe that after the first real service it could improve. It could also improve with time as I get more used to the car.
On a drive to Bombay via the expressway, I got an indicated mileage of 26 kmpl. The actual mileage was lower than that because after the trip I was driving in the city too.
The Baleno 2022 also comes with an eco feature where the engine will cut out at red lights and come back on when you press the clutch. But there is one thing to keep in mind, the settings on the air conditioner will determine how often the engine cuts out as it will try to maintain the temperature inside the car. Also, with the AC on, if you are stuck in a long wait, the engine will come back on if you don’t move for a few minutes.
Now THIS is something I was really excited about. The HUD (Heads Up Display) is available only in the Alpha but it is quite a nice little tool to have. First, it makes you feel like a kid, because COME ON!! Who doesn’t love a display that rises out of the dashboard! The other, slightly less important :P, advantage is that it reduces the need to look at the instrument cluster and allows you to keep your eyes on the road.
Now, I have heard people arguing with the showroom people saying that the HUD intrudes into the driver’s view and will be distracting. I can tell you from experience it is not. Most of the time you won’t even register its presence while looking out the windscreen. But when you need to glance at your speed, you’ll have to look down significantly less than if you were to look at the instruments. Also, the screen on which it is projected is transparent and does not create any blind spots.
Now this is a feature that I have tried on the expressway but I don’t see much of a use for it for someone like me. If you have never used this feature, it will take a bit of getting used to when it gets activated. But my observation was that the speeds change so often that while your foot rests, your thumb gets a workout. Even if you were on a road trying to hold a steady speed, there will always be someone going slow in the fast lane, forcing you to manoeuvre and change speeds.
Also, I’m very old school so I prefer to trust my reliable right foot to manage things like speed.
For the most part, the new 2022 Baleno is an update to the old one and concerns about the safety have been addressed. The old Baleno got a 0 in Euro NCAP safety ratings but, at the time of writing this, Maruti is looking to change that to a 5 star Euro NCAP rating for the Maruti Suzuki Baleno 2022. To that end they have:
- Increased the thickness of the metal used to make the car to make it more sturdy
- Provided 6 airbags(in the steering wheel and dash, in the front seats and curtains covering the rear seat too), though that is only available in the Zeta (AMT) & the Alpha (AMT/MT)
- Included ABS, ESP and hill hold assist
The fun little features in the Baleno 2022
- HUD: Rises up out of the dash, is super convenient to use and can be switched off if you want.
- Keyless car: Unlock —> switch on the ignition —> start the engine —> drive —> park —> get out of car —> lock car. From the beginning to the end, the key doesn’t have to leave the driver’s pocket.
- Day/Night rear view mirror: tints over at night so the lights of the car behind you don’t blind you… BRILLIANT!!!
- Lots of USB: Phones are important that is why it has 2 normal USB and 1 USB Type C ports. Passengers get them too.
- Instrument cluster: Neat with RPM on the left, speed on the right and a whole lot of info in the middle
- Hill hold assist: Installed to stop the car rolling back or forth, comes in really handy when on a slope. With me it got activated only once or twice but still feels good to have that. It won’t work on a gentle slope, only on steep ones.
All the other stuff
Since I couldn’t (and didn’t really want to) find a very SEO friendly heading, I will classify what comes next into two categories. Things I don’t use or care about and stuff that I don’t like.
Stuff I may not use
- 360 degree camera: In my usage, so far, I have used the front view camera a bit and the rear view camera while reversing. But I don’t really see use of this unless you are on terrible roads, or in narrow spaces.
- Cruise control: I tried this on the highway and while it is very nice to give your feet a rest, I feel that this feature on Indian roads doesn’t help because there is too much acceleration and deceleration.
Stuff I don’t like
- Small key fob: I was hoping for a slightly chunkier key fob with buttons for locking, unlocking, boot lid and car locator. The key fob is smaller and only has 2 buttons on it.
- Rear view mirror for tall people: Being tall, I adjust the seat to a height I like, I can’t see clearly out the rear view mirror. Not fun!
- Armrest: In my driving position, the armrest moves too far back and is not the most comfortable thing to use.
- Push button start: I am old school so I like the sensation of putting the key in the ignition and turning it. Miss that with the push button start of this car.
Accessories for the 2022 Baleno
Once I had the car all selected, I knew I needed to buy some essential stuff for it. Here are some of the accessories I got for my car. To be completely honest, these accessories will work for any car you have and I feel that they are a must-have!
First you need some things to keep in the car to maintain it. My personal favorite is the little trashcan that can be put in the cup holders. The towels are great for cleaning it and the USB charger allows you to charge other phones in the car. You can’t use the main USB up-front because the main one will already be connected to your phone to run Android Auto.
The worst thing that can happen to you on a drive is a flat tyre. Since the Baleno 2022 has tubeless tyres, it is recommended that you carry an inflator and the puncture repair kit with you. It will ensure you don’t end up paying Rs. 100 per hole to some puncture scam guys on the highway. As for the vacuum cleaner, this is an absolute essential if you are anything like me and like to keep your cars as clean as possible.
2022 Maruti Suzuki Baleno Vs Toyota Glanza
The Toyota Glanza is the same thing as the Suzuki Baleno. There is literally no difference between the 2. So much so that, remember that AC vs engine cut off mechanism I spoke of earlier, I figured that out by watching a video of the Glanza.
Final thoughts? For a car that costs about 12 lakhs on-road, in Maharashtra, it has a lot to offer. It offers a good feel, a smooth ride, fair enough economy and loads of little features. It is a car that can be your daily driver without any issues. You also don’t feel like you really settled because it actually feels premium and does everything you’d expect of it and a bit more. And it looks really, REALLY good, especially in blue 😛
A good thing to do with a Baleno is to go for road trips. Here are some destinations depending what season you are travelling in.