The premium hatchback segment in India is dominated by Maruti Suzuki Baleno, followed by Hyundai i20 and Tata Altroz. While the Tata Altroz is the youngest, among the three, Hyundai has also launched the all-new i20 recently, leaving the Maruti Suzuki Baleno as the oldest premium hatchback in the lot. The new Hyundai i20 has a lot to offer, with its feature-packed cabin, power-packed turbo option, the segment’s most powerful diesel engine, and the segment’s only car with iMT technology on offer.
With so much on offer, the new Hyundai i20 has raised the bar for the entire segment. To combat this, Tata has recently launched an XM+ variant for the Altroz, which offers a host of features at an affordable price of Rs 6.60 lakhs. While Maruti Suzuki is the country’s largest manufacturer, the new Hyundai i20 has forced the carmaker to tease a new- “big surprise” for the Baleno.
Post the transition to BS6 emission norms, the Maruti Suzuki Baleno was left only with a 1.2-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol powertrain that generates 83bhp of power and 113Nm torque. The engine comes mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox as standard, while an optional CVT is also offered. While Maruti also offers mild-hybrid tech, which helps increase the mileage and power output to 90bhp, a lot of enthusiasts miss the Baleno RS with its 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine. In its previous avatar, this turbo-petrol engine can generate 100.5bhp of power and 150Nm of torque, which will be transferred to the wheels, via a 5-speed manual gearbox.
Recently, a facelift version of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno was spotted testing. There are several possibilities for the new teasers “Big Surprise” statement. It’s expected that the carmaker can either unveil the BS6 compliant Baleno RS edition or just a special edition of the Baleno, with the naturally aspirated engine. Also, since Maruti is also testing a diesel engine for the Ertiga, and the S-cross, the carmaker can also unveil a diesel version of the Baleno.
At present, the Maruti Suzuki Baleno is equipped with an SHVS mild-hybrid system. We also expect, that the new edition might come with a 48V “strong hybrid” technology, which will increase the power output and the mileage. Speaking about the features, the Maruti Suzuki Baleno is equipped with a host of features like LED projector headlamps, 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, auto climate control, push-button stop/start, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, and passive keyless entry.