Suzuki Queensland has bridged the size gap between the light and small car segments with the release a creatively packaged compact that blends the external dimensions of one, with the larger interior space of the other.
Badged as the Baleno, the new car reintroduces a Suzuki nameplate from the 1990's, but that's where any similarity ends.
The Baleno is larger than Suzuki's top selling Swift, but retains the company's keen focus on producing well equipped, innovative, compact and ultra-economical hatchbacks across a variety of platforms.
And while the Baleno borrows heavily from the Swift in terms of sharing engine and transmission componentry across some models, the Baleno manages to deliver a fuel economy figure that is around eight percent better on the manual and 13 percent better on the comparable automatic model.
A significant part of that improved efficiency comes from an entirely new, lighter but ultra-strong platform that makes greater use of very high tensile materials to keep its structural rigidity and occupant safety.
And for the first time, Suzuki has released a model range that offers a choice between four speed and six speed automatic transmissions.
The turbo charged Baleno model which features a new direct injection Boosterjet system, delivers even better fuel economy figures again - a miserly 5.2 litres per 100km on the combined cycle.
A large part of that edge comes from having a six speed automatic transmission as standard whereas the non-turbo model has the four speed transmission (as well as being available in a five speed manual).
Suzuki has managed to sneak more width into the cabin area by reducing door liner intrusion into the front seats and as a consequence, being able to push the seats out wider apart which generates more shoulder room for the driver and front seat passenger.
Likewise, there's significantly more space between the front and rear seats than in the Swift, delivering back seat passengers 70mm more knee room.
Suzuki has carried the commitment to increasing internal space right through to the hatch area and once again is using its handy removable side trims to deliver a couple of handfuls more space which allows items like a set of golf clubs to be carried sideways.
Even without the rear seats folded forward to increase space in the hatch, it has a cavernous carrying area of 355 litres.
While a key focus of the Baleno is about creating a new size of car deliberately designed to bridge market segments, Suzuki also has seized the opportunity to tread further down the graphics and infotainment interface than its competitors.
In fact, drivers can tailor their dashboard display to any one of six configurations. It allows personalisation of the graphics which are monitoring systems including:
- Engine power and torque outputs
- Real time driving G-forces
- Tracked G-forces
- Accelerator and brake operation efficiencies
- Average speed
- Average fuel consumption
They are in addition to traditional display information such as car speed and engine revs, trip meters, distance to empty, average speed, warning lights.
The Baleno also hits Queensland roads with Suzuki's central infotainment display screen that incorporates ApplePlay and MirrorLink smart phone interfaces which include music, maps, messages, current track information, audio books and podcasts, as well as navigation and rear camera viewing.
The integrated autotainment system is standard across the Baleno range as are "guide me home" headlights which remain on for a short time at night after the driver and passengers have alighted from the car.
Likewise, headlights that automatically turn on in low light, cruise control, a speed limiter, electric windows front and rear, central door locking, remote control door locks, USB and auxiliary inputs, 12 volt accessory sockets, an electro-magnetic tailgate release, tinted windows and rear door and tailgate window privacy glass, leathered covered steering wheel, hill hold on automatic transmissions and LED daytime running lights, also are standard across the Baleno range.
The Baleno is being offered in two specifications - GL which is the 1.4 litre engine with five speed manual or four speed automatic transmissions and the BoosterJet turbo-charged model which comes with the six speed automatic transmission.
In terms of safety, Suzuki has taken the jump on its competitors by equipping the rear seats with pre-tensioners which instantly tighten the seat belt to maximise occupant security when a strong impact is detected.
Six airbags are fitted as standard across the range.
Other safety items include side anti-intrusion door beams, Electronic Stability Control, Anti-lock Brake System in conjunction with an Electronic Brake Force Distribution system.
Pricing for the Baleno starts at just $16,990 drive away.
- Baleno 1.4 litre GL 5 speed manual $16,990 drive away
- Baleno 1.4 litre GL 4 speed automatic $17,990 drive away
- Baleno 1 litre Booster Jet turbo 6 speed automatic $22,990 drive away
68kW @ 6000rpm
130 Nm @ 4000rom
5.1 l/100km (5 spd combined cycle)
82kW @ 5500 rpm
160Nm 1500 - 4000 rpm
5.2 l/100km (6 spd auto combined cycle)
Suzuki Queensland General Manager - Sales, Mr Steve Craig said: "Suzuki now has the most potent compact car line-up on the Australian market."
"For the past five years, the brand's economiser, the Celerio and its fore-runner, the Alto have been the outright winners of the RACQ's annual car running costs assessment which calculates the cost of ownership and maintenance over a five year period."
"The Celerio comes perfectly packaged for new drivers and those down-sizing and in doing so, remains the most affordable car in the micro segment of the market."
"A step up sees the multi-award winning Suzuki Swift continuing to remain a front runner in the light car segment and we have our traditionally unique SUV strengths displayed with S-Cross, as well as potent and highly desirable new Vitara models which we released just a week ago."
"Developing innovative, affordable compact cars with outstanding durability and retained market value is a core sequence within Suzuki's DNA."
"It's a brand consciousness that resonates very strongly with Queenslanders and today, we're pushing that recognition even wider with the launch of the Baleno."
"For the first time, we now are able to give Suzuki buyers who might have one or two young children, the opportunity to stay with the Suzuki brand when stepping up in interior car space from the Swift. They now can retain the economical purchase price and operating costs of a compact hatch, rather having to go to an SUV or another brand," he said.
For further information:
General Manager - Sales
Suzuki Auto Co.
Ph: (07) 3623 4900
Suzuki Auto Co.
Ph: (07) 3822 4466 or 0403 180 178