Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Review & Test Drive


Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Overview

Maruti Suzuki’s latest trend of injecting premium status into its new products has certainly worked. Ever since the advent of Nexa dealerships and market entry of S-Cross, the leading car maker’s intention and ability to see beyond conventional volume segments came into light. Venturing into segments with untapped potential, the Baleno premium hatchback was the first true success from Nexa outlets. Buoyed by its popularity, Maruti has expanded the offering list and included the Ignis which will be followed by the shift from regular networks to Nexa for the upcoming Ciaz facelift. Baleno was already an evocative name in the Indian auto industry and would be resurrected to compete against the likes of Hyundai Elite i20 in late October 2015.

It has gone on to set new heights for the company with a stylish package blended in with nimble performing reliable engines seen in the Swift. One of the upshots of its fame is that Maruti could bring in more variants and substantiate its sales figures. There was a big gap existed to its hot hatchback rivals VW Polo GT TSI and Fiat Abarth Punto and it was rightfully addressed when Maruti debuted the RS (Road Sport) variant at the Delhi Auto Expo in February 2016. For over the last one year, the Baleno RS created quite a buzz as to what it would dish out in terms of performance and appearance. The Boosterjet engine was the major talking point but its power output could be lambasted by some. As it is being offered only in the top-end Alpha variant, both the ‘form and function’ factors are taken into account to define its position and the additional cost you would have to bear in while purchasing this product. Check for Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS price in Chennai at Tryaldrive.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Look

Design is a core form of expressing the characteristics of a vehicle and in case of the RS derivative of Baleno, there have been plenty of thoughts shoveled in. A comparison with the standard model side-by-side would give you a clear picture of how the RS is subtly different. The front fascia is where the apparent changes can be clearly noted. The regular Baleno has a rather uninspiring bumper but the bigger air intakes on the RS version make it pretty unique and aggressive. Both the grilles are similar in appearance but, as it being important from visual standpoint, some modifications have been implemented to improvise its appeal. In contrary to the black grille accented in chrome, the RS variant receives the same chrome bezel with a sporty mesh. You cannot help but think a blackened grille would have done a better job but still it is all well laid out.

One more styling differentiator is the lip spoiler on the bumper and it looks all the more purposeful adorned with satin black finish. On the sides, the same treatment has been applied as the new side skirts are painted in satin black shade to stand in line with the front bottom bumper portion. The side body kit does ensure a lowered stance to the RS when compared to the regular Baleno and that bodes well for a sportier external appearance. Out the back, the Baleno RS is fitted with a tail-gate mounted spoiler that can only be found in the top-spec regular Baleno trims. The 16-inch alloy wheels on both the cars are similar except that the RS’ get painted in gloss black while the regular model has silver or gunmetal shade. Perhaps, a newly designed set of alloy wheels would have made a world of difference in making the RS stand apart from the regular Baleno.

Like the bumpers up front, the rear bumper on the standard Baleno RS is body coloured but no separate diffuser system. In case of the RS, the square-shaped rear bumper is bigger and chunkier giving substantial road presence. The new shades in blue, bright red and orange have certainly upped the RS’ tempo but we wish the exhaust pipes would have protruded out underneath the bumper instead of being hidden. Other important exterior features are blackened A, B and C pillars, projector headlamps, LED DRLs, chrome door handles, body coloured ORVMs, turn indicators on wing mirrors and UV Cut Glass. To wrap it up, lessening the chrome bits and adding more black gloss might have given a more menacing and aggressive styling. Nevertheless, it is still a good package over the standard Baleno that you would not complain about.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Comfort

You won’t notice many changes on the inside as the interiors are identical. The all black theme of the dashboard and upholstery continues. The instrument cluster is carried over having a TFT display that comes with torque and power graphics, fuel economy details, time, outside temperature, driving time, etc. The Smartplay touchscreen infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay connectivity and features such as navigation system, rear parking camera display, etc. Some of the key features include keyless entry and go with push button start, follow me home headlamps, auto AC, front centre armrest and more.

The fit and finish feels long lasting and the cabin offers good ergonomics. The seats are comfortable and there is more than enough space both at the front and for the rear passengers. All in all, from the inside, the Baleno RS feels pretty much the same. Maruti could have offered some sporty elements to differentiate such as red accents, redesigned steering wheel, sporty gear knob, aluminium pedals, etc. to differentiate the interior layout from the regular Baleno. To know more info on Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS visit Mpculture

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Transmission

What is it that makes a Baleno, a Baleno RS (short for Road Sport)? Let’s talk mechanicals first and go in increasing order of significance. The RS uses the same suspension as the standard Baleno petrol but it’s been stiffened by about 10 percent. The chassis has also been strengthened and is one reason why the RS weighs about 60kg more than the Baleno 1.2 petrol. Still, at 950kg, the RS is light and that can only be good for performance. To reign in the extra speed, it comes with rear disc brakes in place of the standard car’s drums. But leave aside everything else because the single ingredient that makes the RS the RS is its engine. It’s a 998cc, three-cylinder unit from Suzuki’s new Boosterjet range of direct injection, turbocharged petrol engines. It’s imported into India and is far removed from the K10 engines on the Alto, Celerio and WagonR.

Designed to be lightweight and compact, the all-aluminium engine integrates the exhaust manifold into the cylinder head and also makes use of a short intake. Fuel is injected directly into the cylinder at a pressure of 200bar from six hole injectors while the pistons’ wedge-shaped tops help enhance the air tumble and, correspondingly, combustion efficiency. A larger radiator and piston-cooling oil jets are part of the engine’s heat management package. To counter the soot build-up at the intake valve, which is a common issue with direct injection engines, Maruti recommends an engine additive every 20,000km.

Coming to the figures of real interest. The 1.0 engine produces 102hp at 5,500rpm and 150Nm at 1,700-4,500rpm. While more powerful than the standard Baleno petrol, the RS’ engine can’t match up to Ford’s 1.0 turbocharged, direct injection EcoBoost engine (125hp and 170Nm) on the EcoSport. What stings even more is that the Suzuki engine makes 111hp and 170Nm on the European Baleno. Maruti had to recalibrate the engine for our lower grade of fuel (it’s been tuned on 91 octane) and that’s why it makes the power it does.

It does 0-100kph in a respectable 10.25sec, which betters the Baleno 1.2’s time of 12.6sec, but is down on the Abarth Punto (9.32sec) that is more of a hot hatch if you look purely at the power figures. But get this; the Baleno RS is quicker than the Abarth through the gears. That’s partly due to the Baleno’s weight and also down to how much earlier the boost comes in. There is reasonable progress until the turbo kicks in at about 1,600rpm, and from there on you get a steady supply of power, until the limiter cuts in abruptly at 6,000rpm. You won’t get the same shove in the back as you do in an Abarth but it’s enough to keep you more than content. The RS’ engine does sound thrummy when extended but most of us agree, it’s a nice noise. What also makes the RS likeable is the drivability. You can often get by driving in a higher gear than warranted by the speed. Third gear, especially, is really flexible. The RS’ five-speed gearbox is slick in its own right, while the clutch is light.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Driving

On to the drive experience then. The motor builds up speed rapidly and is a high-revving unit. We like the way it has minimal turbo lag even with an FGT. For the sake of photographs, we had to drive the car at 40kmph and it was happy doing it at third gear. There is no sudden spike in the power delivery, and the linear approach adopted by Maruti will align with the family car appeal of the Baleno.On the straight at BIC, we saw 160kmph in fourth gear, with the tachometer needle nudging the 6,200rpm redline, before we had to brake for the corner. However, we wish the motor sounded a tad more sporty at those speeds. Maruti also haven’t quoted any claimed 0-100kmph numbers, but the company did stress on the claimed fuel efficiency of 21.1kmpl.

Maruti says that they have stiffened the shocks at the front to accommodate the extra weight of the engine. This shows in the way the car handles. It has a bit more nose dive than its naturally aspirated cousin. However, the car still handles predictably. The steering wheel also lets you know how much effort has to be put to make that corner, and the effort doesn’t vary every time you take the same corner at the same speed.That being said, the steering, like all Maruti units, feels a bit heavy at low speeds. While we didn’t have a chance to check the ride quality of the RS, expect it to retain the slightly firm ride quality that the car is known for. Given the extra boost in power, the car comes with disc brakes on all four wheels. The brakes are nice to modulate and offer lots of feedback. In short, they will stop the car where you want it to.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Safety

Maruti is offering the Baleno RS in a single variant and hence the car is loaded with top spec safety features as standard such as dual front airbags, ABS, EBD and ISOFIX child seat provision. Additionally, the Baleno RS comes with all-four discs for better stopping power. In terms of after sales, we all know that Maruti has a very renowned and wide network across the country. The NEXA channel is growing with each passing day and the ownership cost of the Baleno RS will definitely be the lowest compared to the other performance hatchbacks in this segment.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Price in Chennai

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS On Road Price is 9,92,059/- and Ex-showroom Price is 8,76,000/- in Chennai. Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS comes in 7 colours, namely Fire Red,Premium Silver,Autumn Orange,Urban Blue,Grey,Pearl Arctic White,Ray Blue. Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS comes with FWD with 998 CC Displacement and 3 Cylinders with Maximum Power 101 bhp@5500 rpm and Peak Torque 150 Nm@1700-4500 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS comes with Manual Transmission with FWD .

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Final Word

Let us categorically put this into a conclusion so that you can have a clear head when making subjective decisions. As for the styling, there is a vast room for improvement but evaluating the RS’ exterior is fairly an easy job as you have certain touches that make it sportier. For instance, the aggressive bumpers, black wheels, blackened pillars and satin black finish do elevate its appeal over the standard model but only by a moderate margin. Plainly speaking, the interiors are just as same as the standard Baleno except for some subtly added ingredients like the RS badge on footmats. Performance is the key contributor to the existence of RS and in any phase, we would choose the Boosterjet over the K-Series petrol motor due to its punchy feedback and constant pursuit of speed throughout the rev range. The added weight does come handy in improving the overall stability while rear discs aid in additional stopping power.

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