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New and efficient Suzuki Baleno

Created on 11/05/2016 @ 08:41
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

Suzuki has responded to a growing demand for cleaner performance with the introduction of hybrid technology in the new Baleno.

Bigger than Swift the Baleno hits UK showrooms in June targeting sales from Hyundai i20 and Skoda Fabia in the small car B-Sector market and the 1.2 litre Dualjet version now comes with a hybrid option.

Known as an SHVS - the short form for Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki - the Baleno incorporates a mild hybrid system with a belt-driven integrated starter generator. This assists the engine during take-off from cold starts and also generates electricity through braking.

Energy is stored in a compact battery found under the passenger seat, which allows smooth engine restarts. It' s clearly more efficient than a conventional alternator and means C02 levels of just 94g/km and average fuel consumption of over 70mpg. This model is no slouch either with a top speed of 111mph and 0-62mph in 12.3seconds.

The Baleno was first revealed in India in October 2015 and more than 40,000 have already been sold there. Here bosses have targetted 3,500 sales from dowsizers or previous Swift owners, introducing a ‘Liquid Flow’ design theme with a compact body, roomy interior and efficient powertrains all on a new generation platform. That means a fun driving performance combined with good fuel efficiency.

Suzuki is well known for its expertise in small cars and the new Baleno hatchback is its latest example. Since launching its first car in 1955, the Suzulight, Suzuki has produced a vast range of significant models each tailored to the needs of its time.

Historically, Suzuki has earned high acclaim for its city oriented designs while also offering good performance, favourable fuel economy and low emissions. A larger car than Swift at 3.99 metres long, Baleno offers a more choice for buyers looking for extra interior but not be looking to move up in size to a Vitara or S-Cross.

Under the ‘Next 100’ plan announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2015, Suzuki has developed a new platform strategy for its future models and the Baleno is the first with this new generation platform to be introduced in Europe.

For the new Baleno, body rigidity has been enhanced by approximately 10 per cent and with the use of a new smoother shaped structure the total vehicle weight has been reduced by around 15 per cent, making Baleno the most aerodynamic car that Suzuki has ever produced with a drag coefficient of just 0.299.  

There’s a choice of four models. The SZ5 1.2–litre SHVS M/T on test is competively priced at £13,499 while the other models come with Suzuki’s superb Boosterjet 1.0 litre engine with prices ranging from £12,999 to £15,349.

Standard equipment for all Baleno models in the range is comprehensive and the SZ5 1.2  model includes six airbags, 16-inch alloy wheels, HID headlights, air conditioning, satellite navigation, DAB Radio with USB and Bluetooth connectivity, rear privacy glass,  electric windows, , 4.2 inch central colour trip display, LED rear lights, Adaptive Cruise Control and Radar Brake Support.

Up front is a comfortable place to be with plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment, while the rear seat space is class leading and a real plus point. Boot space of 320litres is also impressive but a shallow opening means loading is not easy and the model failed the golf club test, meaning seats need to be folded.

The hybrid is an interesting addition but the Boosterjet models will clearly attract the most sales with the impressive 1.0itre , three cylinder unit producing combined fuel figures of 62.7mpg a top speed of 124mph and 0-62mph in 11.4seconds. C02 figures are just 105g/km.

The Baleno is an interesting addition to the Suzuki range as the company continues to make steady progress in the UK market. Expect to see plenty of this new model.

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