Maruti Suzuki introduced the Heartect platform in the Baleno and of course with its first-time entry in the premium hatchback segment. They brought back the Baleno label in the form of an all-new premium hatchback, but it has nothing in common with Maruti’s mid-size sedan from a decade ago. And soon after the launch, the car buyers witnessed a 5-month long wait due to demand and that’s pretty obvious the premium hatchback lured many compact sedan choice-makers too, due to its spacious cabin and decently designed interiors. Following that, the Ignis hatch was introduced based on the same platform and not stopping at that, they further thought of introducing the Dzire and Swift based on it. Let’s find out which model out of these is the best balance of price, performance, and practicality.
Maruti claims that this new platform provides more room on the inside and has also been developed while keeping in mind the upcoming crash test regulations. Suzuki's 5th generation B-platform uses high-tensile steel in its construction which aids in weight reduction.
Being the first product based on the Heartect platform, Baleno scores brilliantly when it comes to practicality. With a full use of the long 2520mm wheelbase, this model gets a genuinely large cabin that can compete the best in class for passenger space, comfort and storage space. The charm is about the rear seat space, which is one of the highlights, though there is a relative shortage of headroom, that won’t matter passengers too much. A generous amount of legroom with wide enough cabin that can seat three abreast. It’s not just the rear-side seating; the front seats are pretty large too with generous under-thigh support and foam density with a touch on the softer side. Air-throw is good for the passengers at the rear, though it doesn’t have rear AC vents, but still. Moreover, the boot has been designed in a very smart way that can gulp 339litres of large pieces of luggage.
Baleno was introduced to rival against the i20, where the previous generation of i20 locked horns with the Swift. Though, Swift changed the changed the idea of what consumers thought about Maruti when launched in 2005. Where Maruti’s idea since that time was to offer the affordability and reliability and pocket-friendly after-sales that got added with eloquent designing, more space, and fun to drive feel, something new for them back then. But still new Swift has managed to get more space in it, thanks to its new platform. Even the Dzire is no less when it comes to head- and legroom in the rear. But, Baleno has more than that, that it can seat 6 feet 2inch both in the front and a rear seat at the same time, and still you are left with ample amount of knee-room (tested personally). It’s a loooong hatchback!
This premium hatch has been packed with an extensive list of features along with a bumped up wheel size of 16 inches and offered tremendous passenger and luggage room, which is more than of its Heartect counterparts. With its premium positioning the Baleno marks for its comfort and handling as it is lightly built, swift calls for its comfy seats and same is with Dzire. The Ignis is car solely packed on a youthful theme – it can hover over rough roads handles decently even after its bit vague steerability.
Baleno is pricier than its other Heartect models but isn't that obvious that it has been priced pretty well as per its premium positioning, and moreover it undercuts its rivals' prices as well. It still has a huge-airy cabin and you get decent AC throw to the rear seats, big boot and not to forget its the way the boot has been designed without any stint.