Maruti’s take on the premium hatchback segment with the Baleno may have taken off decently well thanks to the attractive price tag at which the car was launched, but in the longer run, the larger population of buyers will be upgraders from the one who are considering Swift and a minor percentage will comprise of i20 and Polo buyers, which will not result in a big net gain!
We have been saying this ever since its launch, Maruti should have properly demarcated Baleno against Swift. And the first step would have been to offer the 90PS version of the 1.3 liter diesel mill. Currently, Baleno makes do with the regular 75PS version ONLY (apart from the petrol motor).
Just to give you a perspective, the DDiS 190 mill churns out 75 PS of power at 4,000 rpm and 190 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. Pit it against the 1.4 litre U2 CRDi mill of the elite i20, which produces 90 PS of maximum power at 4,000 rpm and 219.67 Nm of peak torque in the range of 1,500-2,750 rpm and the gap gets highlighted!
Sense, it seems, has prevailed and a new report at Autocar India has reported that Maruti is considering the option of introducing the 90 PS variant of the same engine on the Baleno to widen its appeal. This motor is already plonked in the Ciaz and Ertiga.
Club this motor with a competitive price tag and Maruti can surely translate Baleno into a real threat against i20. However, no timeline for the same has been given so a more powerful diesel Maruti Baleno may or may not be waiting for us at the Auto Expo!