Maruti-Suzuki Baleno vs Swift
While the Swift is a sporty hatch, the Baleno exudes a certain understated mature demeanour. Though both hatches are priced similarly and based on the same HEARTECT platform, we dig deeper into the nitty-gritties to find out which one is edgier
Maruti-Suzuki (MS) is known to introduce brilliant hatchbacks to India and the last two have set hatch buyers on a spending spree. Both the Baleno and the Swift have emerged as star performers for the car maker. However, the surprising factor is that both fall somewhat in the same category and are also priced not that far apart from one another. The good news is that, this has resulted in plenty of choice for you as a consumer. But when two hatches come so close in specs and features, we volunteered to make the choice easier for you and decode both cars to make sense of which one perhaps could fit your bill.
WHAT IS SIMILAR?
Let’s begin with similarities. For starters, both the Swift and the Baleno are based on the company’s new HEARTECT platform. As a matter of fact, Suzuki’s fifth-generation HEARTECT vehicle platform now underpins three Maruti Suzuki models—the Swift, Dzire and Baleno. This platform uses ultrahigh tensile and high tensile steel in its construction, so as to not comprise on structural rigidity. Despite being lighter, Maruti-Suzuki claims that the new cars are compliant with frontal and side impact regulations, as well as meets pedestrian safety regulations.
As for the second common factor which involves powertrains, both the Swift and Baleno
are powered by the same set of engines. The petrol engine has the same 1.2-litre VVT motor. Being a naturally aspirated engine churns out 83bhp and 113Nm of torque in both cars. The other option one has is the incredible Fiat-derived 1.3-litre diesel engine. This motor is tuned to offer 75bhp and 190Nm of torque.
Both cars send power to the front wheels using a 5-speed manual gearbox. However, the Baleno is also available in the RS version where under the bonnet resides a 998cc, 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. This offers 100bhp and 150Nm of torque and fits effortlesly to the the profile of an enthusiast.
Once you go past the mechanicals, this is
SWIFT’S FRONT END BOASTS OF A STOUT NOSE WITH PROJECTOR HEADLAMPS AND SIGNATURE DAYTIME RUNNING LIGHTS
where the similarities end. The Swift comes in as a slightly smaller hatch as compared to the Baleno. The latter is longer, wider and sits lower than the Swift. It also offers a longer wheelbase. As far as the looks are concerned, the Swift is more likely to hit a chord with the sporty lot. The front end boasts of a stout nose and in come projector headlamps and the signature daytime running lights. The big front grille gives an overall sporty hue to the car. In profile the Swift gets even more radical. The floating roof design continues with the blacked out pillars and at the same time designers have relocated the rear door handles in the C-pillars in a bid to make the Swift look like a coupe.
The Baleno can be considered, a tamer version as far as the looks go, and would perhaps be pegged for the more mature, unstated buyer, per-
haps for the daily office goer who is looking at a comfortable, good quality ride to work and back. The front end has clean flowing lines with daytime running lights. The flared wheel arches add a dash of sportiness to the design. The large glass panels also reveal a larger cabin inside.
The interiors of both the Swift and Baleno compliment the theme already set by the ex- terior design. The Swift gets a unique sportylooking dash. The center console houses the climate control system and we love the display that is placed within the rotary knobs. While the placement of the infotainment system is unique to the Swift, the system itself is the same unit which is found in the Baleno. The instrument panel is a mix of digital and analogue displays and is informative. The flat bottom steering wheel is also another element which adds to the overall peppy theme in the Swift.
As for space, the Swift offers plenty of space up front. The same cannot be said for the rear seating, which tends to get slightly cramped. The high window line makes the cabin feel compact. The boot of the Swift can gulp 268 litres of baggage and one can also flip the rear seats to increase cargo space.
The Baleno, on the other end feels plusher with better overall quality. It also gets all the bells and whistles like the Swift, but the de-
sign is far different. The infotainment system is housed in a binnacle which sticks out of the dash. The instrument panel is different too and provides more information as compared to the one in the Swift.
Where the Baleno shines through in comparison is the cabin space. It feels and is more spacious both up front and in the rear. The feeling of space is also more within the cabin thanks to the lower window lines. Thia works to the advantage of passengers sitting in the rear. While five can be a tight fit in the Swift; in the Baleno the same will be relatively more comfortable. The boot’s more spacious and can take in 339 litres of cargo. The rear seats can be flipped as well.
PERFORMANCE UNDER THE HOOD
For our test this time, we had diesel variants of both cars. The Swift feels light and more agile on the move. The 100kmph comes up in 11.5 seconds which is quite good for a hatch in this class. The motor feels responsive and there is a bit of turbo lag felt till the 1,800rpm
WHERE THE BALENO SHINES THROUGH IN COMPARISON, IS THE CABIN SPACE. IT FEELS AND IS MORE SPACIOUS BOTH UP FRONT AND IN THE REAR
mark. But once the turbo spools up the boost can be felt clearly. The gearbox feels slick too and we love the short throws. When it comes to fuel economy the Swift achieved a decent 27kmpl on the highway and 21.43kmpl in the city. With a 37 litre fuel tank, the Swift then can go 780km till the nil. The Swift also offers a rather responsive and quick steering feel. It also handles well and the ride quality has improved by a landslide as compared to the earlier generation. An added advantage for the Swift is its easy maneuverability and is easy to park in the city.
The Baleno on the other hand is tamer as far as performance goes. The 100kmph comes up in 12.89 seconds and the motor feels refined thanks to the added weight of the hatch. What’s notewor-
thy in the Baleno is the NVH package.
The cabin is a far quieter space as compared to the Swift. We also recorded better fuel economy on the Baleno and with an overall figure of 22.68kmpl; the Baleno will take you 839km on each tank. The Baleno though is not as agile as the Swift and we would vouch for the cornering abilities of the Swift.
The Swift and Baleno may be priced similarly but Maruti-Suzuki has positioned them differently. The Swift is available across all MS Arena dealerships in the country. The Baleno however is available through Nexa, the company’s premium outlet chain.
The climate control system of the Swift looks sportier and more engaging
The Baleno cabin is undoubtedly a more sophisticated place to be. The instrument panel looks sharp and offers plenty of information for the driver. The infotainment system is the same as in the Swift
The Swift offers a sportier cabin; pretty much in sync with its overall image. The instrument panel provides plenty of information to the driver and the red outline looks smart