Japanese brand Suzuki is among these rare monks and the company’s newest car, the Baleno, is a fine example of this great wish.
Its cuddly looks will have you cooing within moments of setting eyes on it. The company’s sales pitch and the car itself outline its profiled buyer with clarity: young, energetic upstarts who are looking for the ideal, economic car to reliably ferry them to their hearts’ content in relative comfort, safety and with a bit of aesthetic pizzazz added to the mix.
If you take the crystal ball of economists seriously, monitor with dedication crude oil prices, and dream about a cute nuclear family, then this Baleno and its offerings over three specification models will instantly attract the bargain seeker. By sheer size it sits precariously close to D-segment hatchery such as VW Golf, yet it really isn’t there and it rides on an entirely new and lighter platform, translating to a peppier ride quality and inevitably good fuel consumption.
And this is not simple buttering up from what the catalogue says. It’s an accomplished drive over a range of surfaces and the verve of its 68kW and 130Nm naturally-aspirated 1.4-litre engine linked to a light chassis is evident. It also feels adequate for the long haul, being comfortable, and noise and vibration pollution, famous ills of these little tykes, is seemingly controlled in superb fashion in the Baleno. And it can be had in a choice of either a 5-speed manual or automatic.
That should cover the bases for most modern tastes except, it isn’t offered in diesel guise. But at R240 000 for the range topper that’ll be equipped with driving niceties such as cruise control; airbags; central locking; a comprehensive info-tainment system with navigation enabled; daytime driving lights and a fairly solid reputation of functioning properly every time, a lot of the new Suzuki Baleno looks set to find many homes.
It’s an all new concept hatch that still needs to find approval in place of established, more in demand brands. And history teaches that despite its logic in these days of hardship, it will head out to where all the other underrated Suzuki products end up, to the brand’s faithful or like that other awesome Suzuki Kizashi, straight back to Japan.
1.4 GL M/T R199 900
1.4 GLX M/T R229 900
1.4 GLX A/T R199 900