MAKING YOUR way to the airport for an early morning flight ain’t funny at all.
Not being an early riser- I had to honour the invitation to attend the launch of the Suzuki 2022 Baleno in KwaZulu-Natal.
Upon arrival at the King Shaka, we jumped onto the compact hatchback that is 3,990mm long, as we negotiated our way through traffic and trucks synonymous- on the busy Durban routes, towards Willow Way Manor in Hillcrest, Pietermaritzburg for lunch.
The Baleno has two derivatives- GL and GLX flagship, respectively.
Both models are powered by a 1.5l four-cylinder petrol engine making 77kW and 138Nm of torque. We tested the five-speed manual. It also boast a four-speed automatic transmission.
Yes, it might seem compact but it does the work on the road as we tested its toughness on hills, potholes and at times getting lost, only to ask the locals who were smitten by this ‘beau’ for convenient directions as our GPS played tricks on us.
It claimed 5.4l/100km on the combined cycle.
Baleno for a ‘budget-conscious buyer’ is packed with standard features including a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a reverse camera and rear parking sensors, a trio of USB ports (two up front and one at the rear), cruise control, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel as well as automatic climate control with rear air vents.
The GLX builds on that specification with a digital head-up display, a full 360-degree external view camera and a larger nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
Halogen headlamps are replaced by a set of automatic LED Projector headlights with LED daytime running lights, a two-inch colour vehicle information display in the instrument cluster, keyless entry with a start/stop button, a chromatic rear-view mirror, and a set of 16-inch alloy wheels (the GL gets 15-inch steel wheels with stylish plastic hubcaps).
On the safety front both Suzuki Baleno models sport ABS brakes, dual front airbags, stability control and Isofix child seat anchors.
The GLX benefits from the addition of curtain and side airbags.
Unfortunately, the Mandela Capture in Howick was closed but that alone, did not deter us to enjoy this spacious Baleno.
During presentation Chelsy Pinto- Suzuki product development manager, said this is part of ‘futurism’ that will be appreciated in the future by all.
‘Others will follow’ as its tag-line is “affordable and reliable” she said.
It comes in five colours.
Our final rest for a day was at ANEW hotel in Howick, what a chilly evening it was -but Toni and team made sure we deal with that at dinner.
Baleno retail pricing:
1.5 GL manual: R225,900
1.5 GL automatic: R245,900
1.5 GLX manual: R275,900
1.5 GLX automatic: R295,900
Pricing includes a five-year/200,000km warranty and a four-year/60,000km service plan.
Image SLM (‘Staring at the hills’. Suzuki Baleno launch was at Howick, KZN).