MARUTI SUZUKI BALENO 1.2 VVT
For Maruti’s petrolhead fans, we tested the new hatchback’s petrol engine variant
With no really distinguishing features visually, save for the ‘DDiS’ badge, the Baleno’s spark-ignition counterpart uses the same 1.2-litre K12 VVT petrol engine also seen in the Ritz, Swift and DZire. Here it is tuned to produce 84 PS at 6,000 RPM and 115 Nm at 4,000 RPM. Paired to a five-speed manual, the Baleno feels eager and rev-happy. The rorty engine note, accompanied by those digital power and torque graphs, makes things more exciting. Look in the engine bay, though, and a bare motor lies there; no cover, and exposed exhaust manifold inches away from where your hand would usually rest after opening the bonnet. The space there looks like they planned a V6, but then decided against it at the last minute; more crumple area it is, then.
On the move, the petrol Baleno clearly is an easier-to-drive car. It’s quite nimble, the clutch is light, the gear-lever shifts soft and sure, and the suspension is decent. The steering feel is quite dead. However, the braking is smooth and drama-free. The acceleration isn’t brisk, but is adequate; 100 km/h comes up in 13.73 seconds and it can get up to 155 km/h.
Equipment level is the same as in the diesel Alpha top-spec model, so you get the auto climate, touchscreen interface and projector headlamps. The 890-kg weight makes it much lighter than most other offerings, though it does pack in a lot of equipment overall. At Rs 7.14 lakh (ex-Pune), it is priced rather competitively. There is also a CVT option on offer for those who prefer the convenience of an automatic, available in the ‘Delta’ trim at Rs 6.89 lakh (ex-Pune).
Power and torque graphs are an exciting addition and inject more fun into its rather mediocre
K12 1.2-litre fourpot petrol makes 84
PS but is more focussed on midrange performance; exposed engine and
exhaust manifold close to bonnet edge
may lead to injury