Suzuki Baleno might be the definition of affordability and frugality 

Having attended the local launch of the Baleno, when it arrived on test, I knew what I was in for. The Baleno has always cemented itself as a sort of premium offering within the Suzuki stable, providing decent exterior looks, seamless interior design and quality plus, amazing fuel economy.

I had the Baleno GL with me, and I really enjoyed a lot about it. It’s not really a car you can fuss about and dissect much – it gets the job done in an amazing way. The 5-speed manual Suzuki uses have always been a favorite, as it is smooth and so seamless to use. The GL further benefits from the addition of electrically adjustable and foldable side mirrors, cruise control and three USB ports (a Type A port in front and a Type A and Type C port in the rear).

I used it mainly to test out how it would work for a team of creatives. Featuring one of my contributors and content directors, Saya, we used the vehicle daily to shoots for various things, such as adverts, campaigns and photoshoots. The Baleno’s boot space of 314l helped us a lot with this, as the equipment needed sat very well in there, including the soft boxes and backdrops needed, so I was thoroughly impressed. Saya commented on its fuel economy quite often, while Suzuki claims 5.4l/100km, we managed to roam around the 5.1l/100km mark. I always recommend such vehicles to people who drive a lot in the city, especially creatives. They need a vehicle that’s spacious and frugal, and with the odd long distance trip that might come about, comfort is guaranteed. 

The Baleno is powered by a 1.5l engine that produces 77Kw/138Nm. The drive is pretty decent, as mentioned before this car is very good and there is not much to fault it on. I’ve had a few stints in it and comparing it to the previous gen, the most notable upgrade has to be the aesthetics of the car both inside and out. The drive felt pretty much the same, but I did experience a lot of wind noise – even on launch. Nonetheless, it really is a good car that I think is best for any demographic – young people, families and the like. I think for people who are looking for something fully loaded and affordable, this is your guy. Just to throw a spanner in the works, I would get a Starlet. It’s the same car, yes, but I feel as though the Toyota Starlet has a much better looking exterior. Ultimately, it is all up to you as to what you decide on. Priced from R225 900, this is really some competitive pricing, considering that the Polo Vivo 1.4l is about R10 000 more. 

The Baleno is highly commendable and I applaud Suzuki for bringing this car into the market, with the cost of living being so high. You’re guaranteed amazing fuel economy, a well-crafted interior and a very cute little thing.

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