The Suzuki Baleno offers plenty of practicality either to a single-person user or as a small family car. And even better, the latest model arrives with a solution to a few shortcomings of the previous generation, especially the stability control which has been fixed.

The new facelifted Baleno comes with a new infotainment system incorporating Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The hatchback now look sharper with  new styling additions, such as LED lights a new front bumper design and a revised grille.

The impressive body design continues to the rear end, whose new tailgate-mounted spoiler gives the Baleno a sportier appearance back to front. Even better, electronic stability control (ESP) has been added across the range as standard fitment. ESP goes a long way to stablise  traction control which bolsters the Baleno’s safety equipment levels. Previous absence of ESP had put the Baleno in a corner of suspicion over its reliability as a safe car.

Safety meaures are now impressive so much that entry-level GL Baleno comes fitted with two airbags, ABS, EBD and brake assist as well as the new ESP suite. There so much more with the GLX models, including a total of six airbags.

The 1.4 engine remains a fuel saver, which is ideal in these tough economic times. The engine gives out 68 kW power and 130 Nm of torque. Suzuki says the 5-speed manual transmission consumes 5.1L/100 km, while GLX’s 4-speed auto is claimed at 5.4L/100 km.

GLX specs include diode illumination and foul-weather lights. GLX models also boast  polished alloy wheel rims and chromed door releases and a rear spoiler. The cabin is treated to a two-tone colour job. Also new is brushed aluminium detailing across the facia, including the aircon vents, steering-wheel and instrument cluster.

More reasons buyers will pay more for the GLX are the cruise control feature, auto aircon, keyless entry, push-button start, leather wrapping on the steering-wheel, and rear parking radar.

However, the entry GL still offers great motoring experience with its standard specs, not to mention the great looks.

Pricing

Baleno 1.4 GL M/T           R221, 900

Baleno 1.4 GLX MT          R259, 900

Baleno 1.4 GLX AT            R274, 900

The Baleno is sold with a 5-year/200 000 km mechanical warranty and a 4-year/60 000 km service plan.

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