When Suzuki introduced the third-generation S-Cross in Europe late last year, many were disappointed to see it was basically an updated version of the previous crossover. It's a similar story in India where the Baleno hatchback was unveiled this week as a mild refresh of its predecessor. The small hatchback was originally launched in 2015 and made the headlines in November 2021 after "scoring" zero stars in the Latin NCAP crash test.
Suzuki calls it a "full-model change," but it's easy to see it still rides on the old bones. It's billed as a "premium hatchback" with a bigger front grille (of course!) flanked by redesigned headlights with three-point DRLs also found in the taillights. Bigger fog lights and wider C-shaped taillights separate it from the previous Baleno, but the general appearance has remained similar.
Gallery: 2022 Suzuki Baleno
As for the interior, the 2022 Suzuki Baleno has a nine-inch infotainment placed atop the dashboard after moving the air vents lower on the center console. Even though it's a budget-friendly car, it still has some niceties like a 360-degree camera and even a color head-up display. It should be more comfortable than before courtesy of better seat cushioning, lower NVH levels, plus air vents and USB ports for the rear passengers have been added.
Power is provided exclusively by a naturally aspirated 1.2-liter gasoline engine with 90 hp and 113 Nm (83 lb-ft) of torque. The four-cylinder mill works with a five-speed manual or a CVT-replacing five-speed automated manual transmission, with both delivering better fuel economy than before. The suspension has also been tweaked while the larger disc brakes now measure 14 inches.
Suzuki has sold more than one million Baleno units in India where it's also available as a rebadged Toyota Glanza. In several African countries, it's known as the Toyota Starlet. We wouldn't bet our money on the car's return in Europe where it was phased out in late 2020 due to poor sales.
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