Suzuki has revived an old name for its new small hatchback. But this new car is a very different proposition from the Baleno of the 1990s, writes Ian Strachan.
The 2016 Baleno is a practical and good-looking, economical hatchback which is surprisingly sprightly. You don’t expect sparkling performance from a three-cylinder One litre engine, but thanks to the addition of a turbocharger this engine has some guts.
The Baleno is elegant and pleasing to look at, with nice sculpted lines and an attractive curved front end. Despite its fairly small size it has good load-space, offering 756 litres capacity..
The interior is clean and roomy, with comfortable seats and excellent all round visibility. Controls fall easily to hand, and instruments and dials are clear and all in their logical places.
I test drove the Baleno in 1.0 Boosterjet SZ5 specification. The three cyclinder 111 bhp direct injection petrol unit returns an impressive 62.7 miles to the gallon in mixed driving, without feeling in the least sluggish. In fact it is a very forgiving engine, with impressive pull throughout the range. It came linked to a pleasant five-speed manual transmission and rarelt felt as if it needed a sixth cog.
The SZ5 trim model I tested is well equipped, with Bluetooth integrated six speaker audio system with DAB digital radio and USB connections, satellite navigation, automatic air conditioning, 16 inch alloy wheels, all-round electric windows, multi-function steering wheel with audio controls, front fog lamps, keyless entry and ignition and adaptive cruise control all coming as standard. The SZ5 spec also includes electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, rear parking aid and automatic headlights.
This Suzuki gives you a lot of vehicle for your money, which will cost you a good value £13,999 on the road for the SZ5 spec. The range starts at £12,999.