The freshly launched Maruti Baleno RS locks horns with the most powerful hatch in the country, the Fiat Punto Abarth and the another great performance car from Volkswagen, the Polo GT. While Punto Abarth and Baleno RS offer a petrol engine only, the Polo GT, among petrol, also offers a diesel motor.
So how do these stack up? We find out.
Design and Exteriors
The Baleno RS offers touches of satin gray all around in the form of new mesh grille, bumper lip at the front and back, and side skirts. All this makes it stand apart from normal Baleno. RS logo at the back is definitely an added plus if you think all other subtle hints don’t make it clear enough. Alloys are of the same design and size as seen on the Baleno, and they do a good job of adorning the RS too, albeit, now, they are black in colour.
Available in two colours - Pearl White or HipHop Black, the Fiat Punto Abarth is definitely not for the ones who prefer subtle and understated looks.
|Exterior||Maruti Baleno RS||Volkswagen Polo GT||Fiat Punto Abarth|
|Length||3995 mm||3971 mm||3989 mm|
|Width||1745 mm||1682 mm||1687 mm|
|Wheelbase||2520 mm||2469 mm||2510 mm|
|Height||1510 mm||1469 mm||1505 mm|
|Ground Clearance||170 mm||165 mm||155 mm|
|Wheels||195 / 55 R16 (Alloy)||185 / 60 R15 (Alloy)||195 / 55 R16 (Alloy)|
The Scorpion badge, in all its pomp is displayed on the hood, wheels and even on the roof. There’s no way you can mistake it for anything else. Polo GT is the most understated of them all and gets a GT badge at the front and rear, everything else remains the same as the regular Polo.
Interiors and Features
Polo GT and Baleno RS are going to disappoint you if you are looking for exclusivity, because you get none. And everything like the seats, dash, features etc. are same as the highest spec variant of the Polo and Baleno respectively. All cars offer electrically foldable and adjustable ORVMs, ABS, reverse parking sensors, music system with USB, Bluetooth and Aux-in connectivity. Navigation system is present to on all cars. Unlike the other two, Polo offers a flat bottom steering which lends a sporty touch to the interiors.
|Interior and Features||Maruti Baleno RS||Volkswagen Polo GT||Fiat Punto Abarth|
|Steering Adjustment||Tilt and Telescopic||Tilt and Telescopic||Tilt only|
|Rear AC vents||✘||✘||✔|
|Audio System||Smartplay with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay||Mirrorlink||Integrated CD/MP3/FM player|
|ABS with EBD||✔||ABS only||✔|
|Airbags||2||2||2 (dual stage with passenger deactivation)|
|ESP (Electronic Safety Program)||✘||✔||✘|
Baleno RS and Polo GT offer tilt and telescopic steering while Punto Abarth offers only tilt adjustment. Polo gets cruise control while both the other cars give it a miss. What Punto Abarth and Polo GT have in common are the door garnishes and sporty aluminium pedals that lend it a touch of class. Baleno does not get door garnish, and uses black pedals which look commonplace. All in all, Punto Abarth’s interiors look most special of them all while equipment level is generous in each car.
Engine and Transmission
The Baleno offers a 3 pot, 1 litre motor that pumps out a healthy dose of power and torque figure of 102PS and 150Nm. It comes coupled with a five speed transmission with no option of automatic. The Punto Abarth offers a 1.4 litre motor that puts out potent figures of 145PS of power and 212Nm of torque while retaining a conventional manual shifter.
|Engine and Transmission||Maruti Baleno RS||Volkswagen Polo GT||Fiat Punto Abarth|
|Engine capacity||998 cc (P)||1197 cc (P) / 1498 cc (D)||1368 cc (P)|
|Cylinders||3||4 / 4||4|
|Power (PS@rpm)||102@5500||105@5000 / 110@4000||145@5500|
|Torque (Nm@rpm)||150@1700-4500||175@1500-4100 / 250@1500-2500||212@2000-4000|
|Transmission||5-Speed MT||7-Speed DSG / 5-Speed MT||5-Speed MT|
The Polo GT goes a step further and offers a 7-speed DSG transmission with paddle shifters along with a turbocharged 1.2 litre turbo petrol engine that develops 105PS of power and 175Nm of torque. A larger 1.5 litre diesel motor that develops similar power of 110PS and 250Nm of torque is also on offer but comes with a five speed manual transmission.
Most people who buy these cars, buy them for the fun-to-drive nature. With the DSG, the Polo GT TSI comes across the best package for someone who’s primarily looking for driving pleasure. If you prefer a manual, you should rather look at the Fiat Punto Evo that has 147PS of power on offer and is the most fun to drive. The Baleno, costs about Rs 1.5 Lakh less than the competition is no slouch either and has infact the best power to weight figures. With generous space for all passengers and decent equipment list, the Baleno is the most practical car of the lot in our opinion, that also happens to have the best value on offer.