Japanese know best how to make a car that does in fact capture the attention - with its look, durability and most of all - performance. Their unconventional and high-tech approach in the automotive industry have turned them into one of the world's leading car manufacturers.
Luckily, our team recently had the pleasure to test on of the Japanese car industry's wonders - Suzuki Baleno, 2015 year. Usually, we do our tests by choosing a standard trim level. This time, however, we decided to try the best that Suzuki can offer - meaning the highest trim level (GLX in our case) and a spectacular color (after long dispute and voting, the Urban Blue Pearl Metalic won over the Granite Gray Metallic), plus a 1.0 BoosterJet (111 hp) engine.
It's common conception that Suzuki's cars are pretty small and not comfortable for a long distance family rides. Yet, the 2015 Baleno is something quite different. The stylish hatchback (yes, it has flawless outlines) has the perfect measures for a city car - 3995 mm length, 1745 mm width, 1470 mm height and wheelbase of 2520 mm. After all, the Baleno II is a compact family car for city dwellers.
The 1.0 BoosterJet (111 hp) engine is paired with a 5 speed manual transmission. The torque is 170 Nm/2000-3500 rpm which is nice, given the fact that Suzuki does not makes sporty vehicles. The top speed of the vehicle is 200 km/h, while the acceleration is 11.4 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h - not bad for a car from this segment.
But let's focus more on the test results. We drove around the busy city for about 5 hours, during which we pretty much saw the soul of the 1.0 BoosterJet Baleno. Once you get inside the cabin you'd be surprised to find how spacious and silent it is, even during awful traffic jams.The silently running engine is one of the surprises we discovered while waiting for the traffic lights. The steering wheel is very responsive, making each manuever quite smooth. The high-set driving position gives the driver a good all-around view of the surroundings - something we think that truly deserves our applause. The dashboard has a nice and clean design - only few control buttons are left, the most important ones. The brakes respond immediately when situation occurs. Fuel consumption stayed withing the limits given by the manufacturer, during our city test drive. What is more important is that the suspensions managed to "kill silently" each road imperfection without an effort.
So how about outside the city? We've spent another 5 hours driving around the empty curvy roads in search for the perfect place to take some pictures of the astoundingly blue Baleno. Generally, the 1.0 engine did not feel any difficulty climbing up and down the steep suburban terrain. However, during sharp turns the car felt a bit unstable. We've also noticed that for some reason when idle, the vehicle starts to shake - maybe, due to the fact that it was still cold. The safety systems of Baleno's 4-th generation gave us the sense of comfort, while sliding down the slippery road. Thankfully, again, the road imperfections were no obstacle for us.
How about the interior impressions? The car, as it was said before, has a nicely spacious cabin. The upholstery is nice to touch, though the quality could have been better. Unpleasant feature are the hard plastic panels all around the cabin - they look very cheap. Plenty of head and leg room in the front and rear - ideal for families with children. Baleno II has the biggest trunk in the b-segment: 355 litres, huge plus for a hatchback.
The GLX trim we drove came with a few tweaks that deserve to be mentioned. The side mirrors had turning signals incorporated in them. The manufacturer used chromium as a center piece detail in the door handles and at the base of the windows. Front seats came with an armrests. Tinted rear windows and LED fog tail lights were also included in the package. Apart from that, the car came along equipped with a Radar Brake Support, Adaptive Cruise Control, electric rear windows, keyless entry system, navigation system, 4.2-inch LCD multicolored information display and 7-inch touch screen display, connected with rear-view cam.
The verdict - Suzuki Baleno II was a fun to drive. Compact and comfortable, and efficient during the city - it's the perfect car for a families of 4, who seek the best for the price. But if you are an outdoor lover and prefer exploring harsh mountain terrains - then the 4th generation of Suzuki's Baleno model has nothing tempting to offer.
Author: Diyana Ilieva