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The Return Of The Suzuki Baleno

by Paul Hadley

Yes, for all those eagerly anticipating the return of the Suzuki Baleno – await no more: it’s here! The first Baleno was launched in the UK in 1995 as a saloon and a 3 door hatchback. In 1996, an estate was added to the range. Both the 3 door hatch and estate continued until 2002, whereas the saloon sales ceased in 2000.

Take a Look at the Outside

The current Baleno is available as a 5 door hatch only. The old model was a generic but neat mish-mash of rivals and the current model continues that trend. All neat, inoffensive and playing the conservative card to maximum effect. Probably the most distinctive features are the headlights (a bit Merc SLS?).

Take a Look at the Inside

Inside, Suzuki have been a bit more daring. Yes, there is a traditional instrument panel, but the centre console seems to mimic the front grille in the way it tapers down. The sixth generation Honda Accord had this feature so, sorry Suzuki, you didn’t get there first! The Baleno is one of the roomiest cars in its class and with one of the biggest boots. All models come with a touchscreen system, satellite navigation (rare to be standard across the range in this class), air conditioning, auto lights, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and 16 inch alloy wheels. There is a higher trim level too, which has autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and climate control.

Suzuki Baleno Tech Details

Only 2 engines are available; a 1.0 Boosterjet (turbocharged 3-cylinder petrol) with 109 bhp or a 1.2 Dualjet petrol “mild-hybrid” with 88 bhp. Transmissions are 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. Official economy is 62.7 mpg, while emissions are 105 g/km for the 1.0. The old model had 1.6 and 1.8 petrol engines only, by comparison.


The Baleno is pitched in the same sector as the smaller and narrower Swift. However, whereas the Swift is aimed at the younger, trendier supermini buyer, the Baleno is for those perhaps with more family requirements that are priced out of the Focus/Astra class of cars. With its honest good-value appeal, the Baleno will probably make more inroads than the previous model which faded into obscurity.

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