Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Review & First Drive
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Overview
Let’s talk mechanicals first and go in increasing order of significance. The RS uses the same suspension as the standard Baleno petrol but it’s been stiffened by about 10 percent. The chassis has also been strengthened and is one reason why the RS weighs about 60kg more than the Baleno 1.2 petrol. Still, at 950kg, the RS is light and that can only be good for performance. To reign in the extra speed, it comes with rear disc brakes in place of the standard car’s drums. But leave aside everything else because the single ingredient that makes the RS the RS is its engine. It’s a 998cc, three-cylinder unit from Suzuki’s new Boosterjet range of direct injection, turbocharged petrol engines. It’s imported into India and is far removed from the K10 engines on the Alto, Celerio and WagonR.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Look
The excitement that a performance car can create starts well before you turn on the key. A lot of that is down to the visual drama the car creates. Yes, the Baleno RS does look different, but the differences are more apparent when the two Balenos (the RS and the standard) stand next to each other. The front and rear bumpers have been resculpted for a bit more aggression. Also, the front grille is new. Maruti Suzuki has replaced the cascading grille of the Baleno with a mesh structure to complement the Baleno RS’ exteriors. While the alloy wheels are the same as the standard Baleno, they are painted black on the RS and give it some much needed attitude.Check for Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS price in New Delhi at Tryaldrive.
The Baleno with the 111PS Boosterjet engine that is exported abroad stands only 120mm above the ground, and that’s a full 50mm lower than the RS! And, just to make it clear, the Baleno RS stands 170mm above the ground, which is the same as the standard Baleno. While 50mm might have been a bit too much, lowering the RS by 10-20mm would have given it a more confident stance and helped with dynamics too. Along with the underbody spoilers, it would have looked fantastic, with multiplied aerodynamic advantage.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Comfort
The cabin is exactly the same as well. So you get the same black interior, which looks sporty thanks to generous dose of silver all across. The front seats are phenomenal for comfort and even the longest of journeys won’t be too tiring inside this car. Support for the lower back and thighs is excellent as well.
You get a nice big touchscreen, which has Apple CarPlay. The screen is intuitive to operate and legibility is good as well. The rear has loads of space for both head and leg room all across. The flat floor means you can actually have three sitting abreast here. The 339-litre boot is huge in terms of space as well and more than enough to carry the luggage for a weekend getaway.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Transmission
Coming to the figures of real interest. The 1.0 engine produces 102hp at 5,500rpm and 150Nm at 1,700-4,500rpm. While more powerful than the standard Baleno petrol, the RS’ engine can’t match up to Ford’s 1.0 turbocharged, direct injection EcoBoost engine (125hp and 170Nm) on the EcoSport. What stings even more is that the Suzuki engine makes 111hp and 170Nm on the European Baleno. Maruti had to recalibrate the engine for our lower grade of fuel (it’s been tuned on 91 octane) and that’s why it makes the power it does.To know more details on Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS check Ogequipment
It does 0-100kph in a respectable 10.25sec, which betters the Baleno 1.2’s time of 12.6sec, but is down on the Abarth Punto (9.32sec) that is more of a hot hatch if you look purely at the power figures. But get this; the Baleno RS is quicker than the Abarth through the gears. That’s partly due to the Baleno’s weight and also down to how much earlier the boost comes in. There is reasonable progress until the turbo kicks in at about 1,600rpm, and from there on you get a steady supply of power, until the limiter cuts in abruptly at 6,000rpm. You won’t get the same shove in the back as you do in an Abarth but it’s enough to keep you more than content. The RS’ engine does sound thrummy when extended but most of us agree, it’s a nice noise. What also makes the RS likeable is the drivability. You can often get by driving in a higher gear than warranted by the speed. Third gear, especially, is really flexible. The RS’ five-speed gearbox is slick in its own right, while the clutch is light.
What could pinch buyers is fuel economy. We got 9.7kpl in town and 17kpl on the highway. For reference, the Baleno 1.2 delivers 13.4kpl and 18.1kpl, respectively. On a hard charge up our favourite driving roads, economy dipped to 7.5kpl. You have to remember that this is not your average ‘fuel efficiency first’ Maruti.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Driving
On to the drive experience then. The motor builds up speed rapidly and is a high-revving unit. We like the way it has minimal turbo lag even with an FGT. For the sake of photographs, we had to drive the car at 40kmph and it was happy doing it at third gear. There is no sudden spike in the power delivery, and the linear approach adopted by Maruti will align with the family car appeal of the Baleno.On the straight at BIC, we saw 160kmph in fourth gear, with the tachometer needle nudging the 6,200rpm redline, before we had to brake for the corner. However, we wish the motor sounded a tad more sporty at those speeds. Maruti also haven’t quoted any claimed 0-100kmph numbers, but the company did stress on the claimed fuel efficiency of 21.1kmpl.
Maruti says that they have stiffened the shocks at the front to accommodate the extra weight of the engine. This shows in the way the car handles. It has a bit more nose dive than its naturally aspirated cousin. However, the car still handles predictably. The steering wheel also lets you know how much effort has to be put to make that corner, and the effort doesn’t vary every time you take the same corner at the same speed.That being said, the steering, like all Maruti units, feels a bit heavy at low speeds. While we didn’t have a chance to check the ride quality of the RS, expect it to retain the slightly firm ride quality that the car is known for. Given the extra boost in power, the car comes with disc brakes on all four wheels. The brakes are nice to modulate and offer lots of feedback. In short, they will stop the car where you want it to.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Safety
Safety wise, twin airbags, ABS with EBD are standard. The Baleno RS is also compliant with front offset, side impact and pedestrian safety crash tests. Maruti officials confirmed that the bonnet absorbs much of the crash impact, instead of passing it on to the pedestrian it has collided with.Maruti distinguishes the RS from its stablemate by using new sporty bumpers at the front and rear, chrome grille, side skirts, black alloys and an integrated spoiler. Of course, there is an RS badge at the back too. Unlike the GT TSI, the RS can be easily recognised as the more premium variant.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Price in New Delhi
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS On Road Price is 9,91,984/- and Ex-showroom Price is 8,76,000/- in New Delhi. Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS comes in 7 colours, namely Fire Red,Premium Silver,Autumn Orange,Urban Blue,Grey,Pearl Arctic White,Ray Blue. Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS comes with FWD with 998 CC Displacement and 3 Cylinders with Maximum Power 101 bhp@5500 rpm and Peak Torque 150 Nm@1700-4500 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS comes with Manual Transmission with FWD .
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Final Word
The Baleno RS is not a car meant only for the track, and it was never intended to be, and that’s the reason why I had apprehensions before taking it out on the track. However, contrary to my presumptions, it did entice me to push it hard and considering it’s just a 102PS engine under its hood, it never really felt as breathless as I expected it would. And, with a wide torque band, we were always making progress. Maruti Suzuki also needs to be lauded for the braking setup of the Baleno RS, which should inspire great confidence on the highways, because you never know when the cattle comes out for a stroll.
But, is the Baleno RS really the hot hatch that we wanted? I’d not call the Baleno RS a hot hatch, but it’s rather an entry-level performance car that won’t disappoint you. Importantly, it has in it to be your everyday car, no matter where you are in India (Maruti’s network). So yes, the Baleno RS is a bit expensive at Rs 8.69 lakh, over the standard Baleno that costs Rs 7.3 lakh for the similarly equipped Alpha variant, and a bit too close to the Polo GT TSI on the price list, but for now, the Baleno RS is one car that can give you a joy ride every day without taking a toll on your wallet.Tags: Maruti Suzuki