Cars - Suzuki

Road tests and reviews of the latest Suzuki models available in South Africa

2016 Suzuki Baleno

By Franky Johnson

Suzuki is well known globally for its expertise in small cars and the new Baleno hatchback is its latest example. Since launching its first car in 1955, the Suzulight, Suzuki has produced a vast range of significant models each tailored to the needs of its time.

A larger car than Swift at 3.99 metres long, Baleno offers a more rational choice for buyers looking for extra interior space and larger boot capacity but may not be looking to move up in size to a Vitara or S-Cross. Baleno offers the best tandem distance in its class which is the measurement taken between the front and rear seats.

The Baleno is produced in India where Suzuki has a long established reputation and a major presence for more than 30 years. In 2015, 1.3 million cars were manufactured in Suzuki’s two Indian plants and the current share for the passenger vehicle market is a very impressive 48 per cent (April 2016).

Standard equipment for all Baleno models in the range is comprehensive and the SZ-T model (Available with 1.0-litre Boosterjet) includes six airbags, 16-inch alloy wheels, HID headlights, air conditioning, satellite navigation, DAB Radio with USB and Bluetooth connectivity, rear privacy glass, cruise control with speed limiter and front electric windows.

SZ5 (Boosterjet and SHVS model) adds automatic climate control, rear electric windows, 4.2 inch central colour trip display, LED rear lights, Adaptive Cruise Control and Radar Brake Support.

The Baleno’s active safety equipment includes a Radar Brake Support (RBS) system on SZ5 models. When travelling above approximately 5kph and the system detects a risk of collision with the vehicle in front, it warns the driver to apply the brakes. At higher speeds and if it senses the possibility of a collision, it warns the driver with a buzzer and also via a notification on the multi information display.

The RBS system fitted as standard on the SZ5 model monitors the road ahead by means of milliwave radar. The radar technology enables it to work even at high speeds, in darkness, and in rain or other bad weather. The system prevents or mitigates a collision by means of three functions which are Warning, Brake Assist and Automatic Braking.

The audio system for both SZ-T and SZ5 models has a Smartphone Linkage Display Audio (SLDA) with a large seven inch touch panel display that enables intuitive operation and can also be used when wearing gloves. A three dimensional navigation map makes landmarks easy to distinguish and the system also allows the driver to use certain smartphone applications with MirrorLink and Apple CarPlay connection.

Apple CarPlay is the smarter and safer way to use iPhone in the Baleno. Apart from making calls it also facilitates receiving directions for optimised traffic conditions, listening to music, accessing email, text messages and more.

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