THE THOUGHT PROCESS
Back in 2013 I bought my first car, an alto 800. As I was just out of driving school that time, so I went ahead with alto as it made more sense being a learner. Unfortunately on the second day itself it was banged to a tree by my wife and the apron got damaged. The car was there in body shop for about 2 month. Since it was a major accident, so the day I got it back, I was looking for options to sell it off. Even a deal for Chevrolet beat was almost finalized in exchange of alto but my wife was against selling it off within one year of ownership. Then one fine day in October 2015 I visited the ford showroom as my brother-in-law was looking to buy his first car. When I saw aspire in the showroom, I just fell for it. Though car buying was not in plan but seeing the beauty I could not hold on and booked it from Fortune Ford, Hyderabad. In the meantime I got one buyer for my alto at 2.4 lacs. He was informed about the accident and he was ok with that. Though the aspire looks stunning but I was not happy with the overall package in trend variant. Meanwhile the news spread about the launch of Baleno. I kept my finger crossed and decided to buy it if it comes under 8 lacs. Finally the day came, the 26th Oct. I was so surprised to see the Baleno pricing and the delta was under my budget. So went ahead and booked on the same day.
Before reading through the review please note that …
• I don’t hold a MA/ PhD in English literature. So please excuse me for any grammatical or spelling errors, although I tried to make it error-proof.
• I am not a Maruti fan, this review is purely based on what I experience so far.
• In this review I may have compared Baleno with other cars like Elite i20, Jazz and some other cars. Every car has its own pros and cons. So no offence to owners of those cars.
OTHER CARS CONSIDERED
Hyundai Elite i20:
What I liked in this car:
• Stunning looks. This is the best looking hatchback under 10 lacs in the Indian market today.
• 1.4 liter diesel is a fun to drive mated with 6 speed gearbox. I found it far better than Baleno.
• Great interiors. I feel like I am in a car which is one segment above.
• A healthy list of equipment’s in asta trim
• Best looking alloy in the premium hatchback segment
What made me not to choose Elite i20?
• The rear seat legroom is not as good as baleno.
• Lifeless steering feedback. Need to be extra careful in highway trip
• Safety features available only in asta trim which is out of my budget Honda Jazz:
What I liked in this car:
• Space. My friend owns a jazz and I call it a 1 BHK car
• Most powerful diesel motor in this segment
• Interior design is a direct copy of City. Liked it.
• A kind of airy feeling when I sat inside.
• A list of color options to choose.
What made me not to choose Jazz?
• The NVH level of diesel motor is a big turn off.
• Safety features available only in top trim which is out of my budget
• The MUV look is not of my taste Ford Aspire:
What I liked in this car:
• The 1.5 liter diesel motor is fun to drive
• Almost no turbo lag and linearity in power delivery
• Aston martin front look. Oh boy, I just fell for her.
• Airbags from the base variant itself
What made me not to choose Ford Aspire?
• Beige interior. It’s like sea of beige and very hard to maintain
not available in the trend variant
• A one size small basic instrument cluster. Tata Zest:
What I liked in this car:
• The 90 BHP engine is very much fun to drive
• Interior quality is better than other tata cars
• Proportionate boot design
• Safety feature available from mid variant
What made me not to choose Tata Zest?
• Egg Shape shell. I can’t believe Tata has carried the indica shell in zest as well.
• Harman touch screen is not at all touch sensitive
• Tata’s service is a hit or miss
THE DECISION PROCESS
What I liked about Baleno:
• Airbag and ABS
standard across all variant
• Tried and tested diesel motor although not the best
• The delta trim is loaded with features and the most VFM
• The space management inside the car is superb
• The service and availability of spares and accessories
What I did not liked about Baleno:
• The built quality is not up to the mark
• Plastic quality is worst in the segment
• The turbo lag. It’s a pain to drive it in city
• Boring alloy design.
Why I bought Baleno:
No car can be perfect and satisfy all our requirements. Baleno also has its own list of negatives. But whenever I roam to shop a car, I always prefer my car to stand out and that is what Baleno does. It can easily catch the attention of crowds. Most of us may agree that it’s the best looking maruti that they have ever produced. Also my previous ownerships with maruti cars gave me the confidence to go ahead with another maruti. As I was very much in need to get safety feature in my next car so getting ABS
and airbag from the base variant was a deal breaker for me. The tried and tested diesel has already proven its reliability. Last but not the least, my better half liked the Baleno and I cannot dare to go against her
THE VARIANT SELECTION:
Considering my monthly drive of around 1500 KM with frequent highway trips, diesel made more sense to me. I was also under tight budget as I don’t really keen to spent more on depreciating assets but in the same time I don’t want to buy a bare bone car. The delta variant was meeting my entire requirement including the safety features. Though Alpha was out of my reach but I was very much interested to take the zeta variant but again personal commitment did not allow that as well that time. The color I had chose was Fire Red as Baleno looks more sporty in red color.
PRICE BREAK UP:
Ex-Showroom: Rs 702632
Zero Depreciation Insurance: Rs 26917
Road Tax: Rs 84560
Total: Rs 814109
Dealer : Varun NEXA, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad
Freebies offered: One box of chocolates, 2 Half liter water bottle, and 5 cups of tea.
Since I already booked an aspire and was waiting for the delivery scheduled on 29th October, so I was in real hurry to see the baleno and book it on the spot if its value for money. I sold my alto on 24th October, so we were without car and visited the Saboo NEXA, Madhapur on 26th October just to have a glimpse of the baleno so that we can get one day to decide and book. The attitude of this Saboo NEXA was very bad. They were saying that the demo car is in parking slot and is locked. So if I need to see the vehicle I will have to come in the evening or tomorrow morning. They did not even bother to offer a glass of water. Then from there went straight to Varun NEXA, Jubilee Hills and got surprised by the way they are welcoming customer which is exactly opposite to Saboo NEXA. Promptly they offered a cup of tea and a RM named Anil was assigned to attend my query. Since Baleno was not officially launched in Hyderabad on 26th Oct, so he took me to the PDI area where a demo car was parked. Had a look into it, checked in and out, understood various features and decided that it’s time to cancel the booking of aspire as Baleno will be my next car. The RM invited us to come on 28th October for the launch ceremony of Baleno with was attended by a minister. Went sharply at 10 am to the showroom, and after the official launch swiped my credit card for the initial booking amount of Rs 11000.
WAITING AND DELIVERY DAY EXPERIENCE:
The tough time started after I booked the car. Initially the RM told me that he will deliver the vehicle within 10 days. But even after 15 days when I did not receive the call, I got bit angry and called up Anil who promptly convinced me saying that within one week I will I get the vehicle. Again no call for next 10 days. One fine day I called him and said that I am going to cancel the booking but to my surprise he said that my car is allotted and will be in Hyderabad in next 4 day. As promised the car reached the dealer stockyard in 3 days but could not do PDI due to office work. On delivery day, the 28th November, went straight to showroom at about 8 am so that I can finish the PDI. Checked in and out and to my surprise found no issues. So asked my RM to go ahead for the life tax payment, insurance etc. I took the car loan from SBI and as expected the SBI guy reached at 2 pm with the loan disbursement paper. Meanwhile we took Mr. Anil for lunch and he informed me that Varun motors is awarded the best maruti dealer in India and seriously it was getting felled from the day I went to their showroom. The dealership experience was amazing. Finally the RM handed over the key at 3 pm with a box of chocolate, a bunch of flowers, a big key and couple of photo shoots. Inserted and key and revved my red bull straight to the fuel bunk to fill its tummy. Then went to the 3M car care, Madhapur, Hyderabad for underbody anti rust coating which was completed at about 9 pm. After that we visited the nearest temple for puja. Finally we reached home at 11 pm with our new family member, The RED BULL
The first thing that you will notice in baleno is that its size. Baleno is the widest hatchback and many times i was almost about to scratch it against parking pillar. Since govt have restriction only to the length so maruti has added those bulges in both side to make it more roomy and wide. In fact it is wider than Ciaz. In flash it look like a higher segment car and seems like Maruti engineers got inspired from Mercedes Benz A class. Definitely it’s a head turner and stands put in the crowd, especially in red and ray blue color.
The liquid flow design. Adds value in terms of aerodynamics
The muscular front. Two crease lines on the bonnets adds a character to the front on otherwise a boring swiftish look.
Door Open is three stage. The metal thickness is as per the segment. Door closes with a thuk and not thud like European models
Key hole only on driver side. A cost cutting measure?
Mirrors are not fully body color painted. Placed on the door like Jazz
Integrated turn indicator on ORVM is standard across all variant. Look at the indicator which protrudes out so that the people at the back can see it properly
Honeycomb grill looks really good and hides the components inside. The V shape chrome looks good too. The suzuki logo is a size bigger than other maruti cars
Headlight cluster. The chrome goes all the way to headlight as well. Lights are not very powerful.
LED taillights looks cool at night. Total 6 LEDs. The alpha variant gets a different design of taillight cluster. No rear foglight in delta variant
Baleno comes with reverse parking sensor. Looks good in body color unlike other cars which comes with black color. The sound increases when you go near to objects
2 reflectors at the back like other Suzuki siblings
Only diesel has DDiS badging on the fender. Petrol does not have one. Again a cost cutting.
Clean back with no variant badging. That’s good as other may not know which variant you are driving. They did not maruti badging anywhere in the car. An indication like hero and honda?
The material used to guard the underbody from dirt throwing by wheels is not made of plastic. Its cheap jute kind of material and cleaning is a headache
A small flaps are there next to front wheels. An aerodynamic requirement. So no mud flap required at the front
Trust me, wheel caps in delta looks much better than the alloys. These caps gives a illusion of alloys at a distance. Caps are not bolted as looks like. Instead uses clips
Fuel cap is on the left side and has a diesel badging. Petrol does not have one.
Short antenna. The one in i20 looks very ugly
Look at the rake angle of rear windshield. Visibility gets hampered because of this
Rear washer and defogger standard in delta variant
Both A & B pillar is blacked out by vinyl sticker. Gives a floating roof illusion.
Washer nozzle placement is not on the bonnet like other cars. 3 spray nozzle offers good amount of spray
Panel gaps are consistent except few areas To be continued...