Maruti Suzuki Baleno is the blue-eyed boy of Maruti Suzuki as it helped keep the “Maruti” momentum going and thriving while the Swift was overdue for its third generation. Baleno helped open up the premium hatchback segment for Maruti Suzuki and has since enjoyed huge sales success and it is still one of the top-selling vehicles in India. Baleno managed to captivate the audience it was aimed at, with charming looks and plenty of features on offer and has since also received a facelift that makes it ever so relevant. Is the interior in Baleno up to 2020 standards though? Let’s hop in and find out.
2020 Maruti Suzuki Baleno has one of the most spacious interiors on offer in a hatchback in India as even taller passengers wouldn’t complain of the headroom and legroom on offer. It manages to open up a respectable amount of space on the inside that helps make it practical enough to ferry adults in the rear seats without them feeling claustrophobic.
The front seats on the Baleno come with manual height adjustment on the driver side and are basic contoured seats that are adequately bolstered but aren’t going to hug you well enough when going through the corners with heavier throttle input. The presence of an adjustable headrest, tilt and telescopic steering wheel and height-adjustable driver’s seat does mean that finding the right driving position isn’t a chore and vertically gifted drivers would have no issues finding their ideal positions.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno
Hyundai Elite i20
The rear seats though accommodating of taller individuals feel average at best due to the lacklustre under-thigh support and a missing rear armrest which can be found on the Hyundai Elite i20. The rear of the Baleno is also a pretty bland space to be in since there aren’t any amenities for the rear passengers as they also lose out on the rear AC vent which, you guessed it, is present on the Elite i20.
On the whole, though, the cabin of the Baleno is one of the nicer places to be in and comes with a pretty potent list of features. Features such as:
The interiors on Baleno are kind of a mixed bag in our opinion. On one hand, the central console gives a fresh and bold look to the cabin as it has its individuality that helps distinguish it from other Maruti products. On the other hand, though, there is a smattering amount of unique parts used in the Baleno, as everything from the door handles to the switchgear is borrowed from its other cars in the portfolio. For a premium hatchback, it is disappointing to see Maruti using so many shared components on the interiors as it robs away the “Premium” aspect of it.
The 7-inch SmartPlay Touch Screen unit on the refreshed Baleno is one of the strong points of the interior as it is simple and easy to use. The user interface is intuitive and predictable while the graphics are acceptable and the unit is quick to respond and doesn’t feel laggy at any given moment. The presence of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also aid in the overall appeal of the unit that has a pretty decent sound stage that is delivered via a four-speaker setup. The infotainment system also has a SmartPlay Studio App available that further opens up features that may be useful to some individuals but we would still recommend CarPlay and Auto over it.
Baleno being a premium hatchback comes with a pretty decently sized cargo bay as it offers a pretty usable 339 litres of boot space. The top trims of Baleno come with Keyless entry and therefore has access buttons on the tailgate that can be used to lock and unlock the boot.
Alternatively one can also use the boot release on the key to access the boot which is an added redundancy just in case. Upon opening the hydraulically actuated tailgate of the Baleno, one realizes that the volume on offer is more than adequate for a hatchback and the presence of a parcel tray aids towards its practicality.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno
Hyundai Elite i20
Cargo Volume with rear seats up (Litres)
The boot is also equipped with a boot light that comes as standard only on the top two trims which is a little too extreme of a cost-cutting measure but it is a choice that Maruti Suzuki wants to stand by. A 60:40 split rear seat present in the Baleno is extremely beneficial during the times when added cargo space is required and dramatically increases the usability of its boot. The integrated grab handle on the liftgate is also ergonomically placed to safely close the hatch of the vehicle.
When looking at the prime competition of the Baleno, it is the Hyundai Elite i20. It comes with a much richer and plusher feeling cabin that has a better fit and finish that knocks Baleno out of the ring. The Elite i20’s more advanced climate control system with Ion Cluster technology might sound a little gimmicky but works as advertised.
The much better integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto enabled 7” Touch Screen coupled with the Arkamys Audio system is class-leading and has a sound stage that is impressive to witness in this segment. The rear of i20 loses out big time when it comes to the amount of space on offer but the presence of a rear AC vent and rear armrest does mean that Hyundai still had the rear passengers in mind, maybe albeit the shorter ones!
Yes, other offerings such as the Hyundai Elite i20 and the all-new Tata Altroz feature much better looking and feeling interiors that have even more features on offer, it is the Baleno that has the most robust cabin of the lot as the part sharing enables easy accessibility of inexpensive replacement parts, that if anything was to ever go wrong. The 2020 Maruti Suzuki Baleno, therefore, is an apt consideration for a consumer looking for low maintenance costs while not sacrificing on the comfort and features by a substantial margin.