The last time Suzuki used the Baleno name it was attached to one of the most depressingly dull cars of the late-Nineties. The new Suzuki Baleno, though, looks much more promising.
It sits above the Swift in the range, as a more direct rival to the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. At 3,995mm long, 1,740mm wide and 1,470mm tall, it sits on an all-new platform that will eventually underpin the next Swift and a small SUV.
Clever packaging has created a 355 litre boot, bigger than any competitor bar the Honda Jazz, and several similarly-sized MPVs and crossovers. The dashboard is uncluttered; a 7-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay is optional.
The engine line-up includes Suzuki’s existing 89bhp 1.2-litre petrol unit and a new 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo motor. The 1.2 with be available with an SHVS mild hybrid system, consisting of a starter generator that gets the car moving from stationary on electric power before the engine cuts in. The system reduces CO2 emissions to 93g/km.
All the engine options come with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard; a CVT auto is optional with the 1.2 and a conventional six=speed auto with the 1.0.
European sales start next spring. UK pricing has yet to confirmed, but is expected to undercut the equivalent Fiesta et al.
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By Only Motors