THE Suzuki Baleno was launched in Mzansi six years ago and came at just the right time.
The car soon took the top spot in sales, showing that Mzansi motorists wanted small passenger cars.
The arrival of a new, bolder model is set to just increase the success of the Japanese brand.
Suzuki South Africa’s managing director Yuki Sato said he was pleased with the Baleno, which boasts a number of modern features popular with budget car buyers.
On the surface, the Baleno looks very similar to the Starlet but according to brand marketing manager Brandon Carpenter, it has its own identity.
He said the new model didn’t just get a facelift but was a completely new car.
The car looks noticeably different from the older model, sporting what the company’s Chelsy Pluto calls emotive styling with expressive design.
The suspension has been upgraded, providing great comfort for the drive.
From the front, sides and rear, the car design is great and shows Suzuki designers mean business.
The interior boasts a black a navy dash with two-tone elements to the seats.
It’s quite spacious and the seven-inch infotainment touch screen is a feature to brag about.
The Baleno also gives you a clear view of your rear when you reverse, thanks to the reverse camera. You also get an amazing amount of boot space of 214 litres. An upgrade from a 1,4 litre engine to 1,5 litres has boosted what the Baleno has to offer when it comes to performance.
When SunWheels test drove it, we were left surprised with its performance on the N3 from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.
The 1,5 litre engine develops 77kW and 138Nm and you have a choice between manual and automatic transmission.
Baleno 1,5 GL MT R225 900
Baleno 1,5 GL Auto R245 900
Baleno 1,5 GLX MT R275 900
Baleno 1,5 GLX Auto R295 900
* Suzuki made this review possible