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Suzuki launches the new Baleno to tempt Corolla buyers

The new Suzuki Baleno has arrived in Australia boasting small car dimensions but genuine room for a family of four.

IF YOU WANT A small car, then you need to keep changing models. That’s because every year any given car seems to grow just a fraction wider, longer, taller and of course heavier. Just look at the original Mini vs the models of today, or BMW’s original 5 Series which is smaller than today’s 3 Series. The concept of a value-for-money, small, light car is being eroded with every new model release.
Unless you’re Suzuki, who are still squarely focused on small SUVs and cars. Practical Motoring spent some time with Andrew Moore, Suzuki Australia managing director, who told us that Suzuki “prides itself on value for money” and are presently in third position for light-car sales, behind Mazda and Honda. Suzuki is hoping to jump into at least second place on the back of the Vitara, and the new Baleno.
We had a good look at the Baleno during our visit, and it’s a true small car – larger than the Swift (which means it has a useable boot) but smaller than Corolla or Mazda 3, and much lighter at less than 1000kg. That’s not even as heavy as the Mazda MX-5, and it’s “lighter than Swift, but more spacious” as Andrew noted.
Lightness is just goodness – because the car is light, it can make do with a tiny engine, tiny engines don’t need much space, and the engine compartment can be smaller so more of the car’s length can be devoted to occupant space not engine space. Andrew was keen to point out that the Baleno is shorter than Corolla or Mazda 3, yet has comparable interior space with a “similar boot to Corolla, bigger than Mazda 3”.
So how does the Baleno compare against those two best-sellers?

Mazda 3, Corolla and Suzuki Baleno hatches (base model automatic)

  Toyota Corolla Ascent Mazda 3 Neo Suzuki Baleno GL
Length (mm) 4330 4460 3995
Width (mm) 1760 1795 1745
Height (mm) 1475 1455 1470
Weight (kg) 1255 1262 935
Fuel cons (combined, L/100km) 6.1 5.8 5.4
Driveaway (Victoria) $23,252 $25,316 $17,990
The Baleno is appreciably shorter and much cheaper, although we’ve not done a like-for-like specification check. It would seem likely that the Baleno offers all the basics expected today – cruise control, Bluetooth, satnav, reversing camera – but can’t match the features of its competitor’s top-end models with heated seats or rain-sensing wipers. What it does have that not every car can offer is something every child will love and that’s a 12v socket in the second row. For kids that’s almost as good as a Pokemon sensor up front.
Safety will be interesting. Both Corolla and Mazda 3 are 5-star, whereas Baleno has so far scored 4 star in Europe. However, that appears to be mostly due to a low level of advanced safety aids, so it might score 5-star over here and Andrew Moore said he was “hopeful” of a top rating to match Vitara and Swift.
Same reversing camera as in Vitara.
There’s two specifications of Baleno, differentiated not so much by their trim level but the engine. There’s a four-cylinder 1.4L good for 68kW (not much, but remember that 935kg weight) and a 1.0L petrol turbo, 3 cylinder, good for 82kW.  Not only is the GLX more powerful, but it gets a six-speed automatic which gives the engine much more chances to stay in its best power or efficiency rev range than the GL’s four-speed unit or five-speed manual.

2016 Suzuki Baleno Specifications

  GL GLX Turbo
Engine 1.4L petrol 4 cyl 1.0 petrol turbo 3 cyl
Power 68kW / 6000rpm 82kW / 5500 rpm
Torque 130Nm / 4000rpm 160Nm 1600-4000rpm
Transmission 4 auto or 5 manual 6 auto
Length (mm) 3995
Height (mm) 1470
Width (mm) 1745
Transmission 5-manual, 4-auto 6-auto
Fuel cons, combined (man/auto) 5.1 / 5.4 5.2
Fuel tank (l) 37
Weight (kg) Approx 935kg
Turning circle (m) 9.8
Seats 5
Brakes Disc front, drum rear Discs front and rear
Tyres & wheels 175/65/15, steel 185/55/16, alloy
Headlights Halogen (normal) HID
Paddle shifts N/A Yes
Steering wheel adjustment Tilt Telescopic, tilt
Dash displays Basic information Adds torque, G-force
Satnav Standard
Reversing camera Standard
Spare Space-saver
 There’s four colours, none of the eycatching bright ones you find in the Vitara which is typically bought by younger people:
The interior looks different. Here’s GL and GLX:
A feature of the GLX is a small TFT panel in the dash which can be configured to show G-forces and various other information displays such as fuel consumption. Personally, I find that most people play with these things once and then forget about it, but Andrew Moore says it “adds style” to the car.
Here’s the pricing. Warranty is three years 100,000km which can be extended to 5 years 130,000km if you take up and keep to the capped price servicing regime.













GLX Turbo




Overall, it looks like the Baleno will be a serious small-car competitor. Suzuki have a good reputation for such vehicles, and this one has all the features expected in a base model 2016 vehicle at a very sharp price. We have lined up a Baleno on test; check back soon for the review. Also coming soon is more about our chat with Suzuki’s Australian boss.


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5 years ago

I know Corolla owners have no taste, but seriously this is even uglier by quite a stretch, so why do they think it’ll tempt them. And even worse it’s power puts it fighting in the Yaris class, so Suzuki are totally delusional.

Robert Pepper
5 years ago
Reply to  Azmodan

Power means nothing without weight. Check out the power to weight ratios then come back and post.

5 years ago
Reply to  Robert Pepper


If you think this thing has a good power to weight ratio I have a lawn mower to sell you.

5 years ago
Reply to  Azmodan

Corolla owners have no taste. LOL. Yeah only you have taste. Yeah.

5 years ago
Reply to  Alien

Hey so you get it. Well done.

5 years ago
Reply to  godafoss

Yeah and clowns have tastes.

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper