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

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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.

DE­SIGN

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.

IN­SIDE STORY

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

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