2022 Maruti Baleno First Drive Review – New Body, More Features

2022 Maruti Baleno drive review

The “new age” Maruti Suzuki Baleno has been thoroughly updated, and the new model feels even better to drive than before

The 2022 Maruti Baleno was launched in India recently, priced from Rs. 6.35 lakh to Rs. 9.49 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi). The new model continues to be underpinned by the Heartect platform, but it gets major changes in terms of exterior and interior design. Other than that, the vehicle gets plenty of additional features as well.

We recently got our hands on the new Maruti Baleno, and here, we present our first-drive review of the car. You can also check out our all trim-levels comparison and exterior colour showcase of Maruti’s updated premium hatchback. The first thing that catches our attention is the updated exterior design, which looks sharper and more upmarket than before.

The interior is completely new, featuring a black and blue theme, with a silver-finished insert on the dash. The top-spec trim now gets a SmartPlay Pro Plus infotainment system with a free-standing 9-inch touchscreen, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Auto-dimming IRVM and up to six airbags are offered now. It also gets a few segment-first features, like a Head-Up Display and 360-degree camera.

The space on offer is better, especially in the rear seats, although the boot space has been decreased from 339 litres to 318 litres. While the front row gets a sliding centre armrest, the rear row doesn’t get an armrest. The front seats get better bolstering, and overall, the comfort on offer is even better than before.

The 2022 Maruti Baleno is now available with only a 1.2-litre Dualjet petrol engine, with 90 PS and 113 Nm on tap. The mild-hybrid system has been ditched, but an idle start-stop system is offered as standard. The 5-speed gearbox has been carried forward, but the CVT has been dropped in favour of AMT. The official fuel efficiency figures are as follows: 22.35 kmpl for manual variants and 22.94kmpl for AMT variants). Our real-life fuel economy test of the hatchback will follow soon.

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Although the CVT was way smoother, this AMT (or AGS, as Maruti calls it) is great too. Of course, the biggest benefit is affordability; the new Baleno AGS is less expensive than the old Baleno CVT! We found the automatic version to be quite good, offering relatively quick and smooth shifts.

The steering now gets a self-centring feature, and the feedback is a little better too. The front disc brakes and rear drum brakes are larger, providing better braking performance. The suspension has been tuned for more comfort, while the handling seems the same as before. Overall, the new Maruti Baleno is more fun and comfortable to drive.