A compact new generation Suzuki Baleno five-door hatchback powered by small, highly efficient engines, has been unveiled in Europe.
Arriving as a bigger brother to the popular Swift, the Baleno was launched at the recent Frankfurt motor show and will soon go on sale in Europe before its New Zealand introduction in the second half of next year.
With bold styling and generous interior dimensions, the 3,995 mm long Baleno is based on a fresh platform and is 145 mm longer and 50 mm wider than the Swift.
A production iteration of the Suzuki iK-2 concept car displayed at the Geneva show in March, the Baleno forms part of Suzuki’s ambitious plans to present 20 new models during the next five years.
In Europe, two completely new engines are being offered in the Baleno, both with impressively low exhaust emissions and thrifty fuel economy credentials.
The four-cylinder, 16-valve K12C multi-point fuel injected, Dualjet 1,242 cc engine produces 66 kW of power and 120 Nm of torque, feeding through a five-speed manual gearbox or optional CVT transmission.
A powerful small displacement alternative is the three-cylinder, 12-valve K10C direct injection Boosterjet motor. Although this has a capacity of just 998 cc, it turns out a class-leading 82 kW of power and 170 Nm of torque, with output boosted by a high torque turbocharger. The K10C is to be available with either a five speed manual gearbox or six-speed automatic transmission.
Baleno will also be offered with a new “mild” hybrid system known as SHVS (for Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki). This has a belt-driven starter-generator assisting the petrol engine during acceleration, and also generates electricity through regenerative braking. SHVS employs a compact, high-charging lithium ion battery, and the engine produces commendably low CO2 emissions of 93 grams/km.
The new model offers increased body rigidity while weight has been reduced by 15 per cent, and is claimed to be Suzuki’s most aerodynamic hatchback design yet.
Baleno has seating for five adults, excellent rear seat legroom and roomy boot space of 355 litres which puts the car among the largest of models in the B-segment hatchback class. McPherson strut and coil springs comprise the front suspension, with a torsion beam and coil spring arrangement at the rear.
Much of the car’s testing was carried out in Europe and reduced rolling resistance 185/55R 16-inch tyres are part of the specification. Equipment also includes high intensity discharge projector headlamps, day time running lights, LED rear combination lamps, seven inch touch screen and Smartphone linkage display audio system.
Engine and specification levels for the New Zealand market will not be known until shortly before the car’s arrival in 2016.
Baleno is a key element in Suzuki’s growing popularity which has seen European sales up 5 per cent in the current year. Suzuki predicts its global sales will expand 18 per cent from 2.87 million vehicles in 2014 to 3.4 million in 2019.