Baleno RS is the obvious choice for those looking for performance.
There’s no better time than now to buy the Baleno diesel if your average running is over 50km per day.
Baleno petrol is and will continue to be a sensible pick.
Baleno petrol-mild hybrid can possibly be a good compromise between performance and fuel efficiency, but only in the future.
Maruti Suzuki has updated the petrol Baleno to meet BS 6 emission norms almost a year in advance. Apart from updating the existing 1.2-litre petrol engine, Maruti Suzuki has introduced a new 1.2-litre BS 6 petrol engine coupled to its Smart Hybrid mild-hybrid technology with the Baleno in India. This engine is more powerful and fuel efficient than the existing petrol engine, and it is certainly being offered to woo Baleno diesel buyers.
Insider tip: Maruti Suzuki might discontinue the Baleno diesel altogether. Upgrading the diesel engine to meet BS 6 emission norms will make the Baleno expensive by a couple of lakh rupees. A more fuel-efficient and relatively more affordable petrol-mild hybrid powertrain is Maruti’s solution for buyers who want a diesel engine for its frugal nature.
Apart from the two powertrains mentioned above, the Baleno can, for now, be had with the existing 1.3-litre diesel engine and 1.0-litre turbo-petrol unit in RS guise. With four engine options to choose from, we try to find out which version of the Baleno makes the most sense for you.
The Baleno’s existing 1.2-litre K12B petrol engine has been updated to meet upcoming BS 6 emission norms. As a result, it’s become more expensive by up to Rs 19,000. Despite the price increase, it’s still the most affordable engine option in the Baleno range. Apart from a manual transmission, this is the only engine that can also be had with an automatic transmission (CVT). The Baleno automatic is available in Delta, Zeta and Alpha variants. The top-spec Baleno Alpha petrol-CVT is the most expensive variant of the Baleno on offer in India, with a price tag of Rs 8.9 lakh ex-showroom.
The new petrol-mild hybrid powertrain, which also meets BS 6 emission norms, is available in two variants only -- Delta and Zeta. It’s priced very close to the diesel-manual Baleno (in the same variants), with the Delta variant being more affordable by just Rs 7,000 and Zeta variant being more affordable by Rs 15,000.
Note: Since this petrol engine is over 1200cc in displacement, the Baleno petrol-mild hybrid doesn’t enjoy the tax break that sub-4m cars with petrol engines under 1200cc do.
The Baleno RS, which gets the most powerful 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine, is the most expensive Baleno that you can buy with a manual transmission. It is Rs 16,000 more expensive than the range-topping diesel-manual Baleno Alpha. The Baleno RS is based on the top Alpha variant, but it gets rear disc brakes too, apart from RS specific cosmetic enhancements.
The Baleno RS continues to be the most powerful Baleno on offer in India and should be on your buying list if a peppy hatchback is what you want. Between the other three engine options, only the Baleno petrol is available with a CVT automatic, so making a choice isn’t difficult in this case too.
If you plan to buy the Baleno with a manual transmission only, and don’t intend to spend extra for the Baleno RS and care about the running cost as well, have a look at the fuel expenses on the basis of claimed fuel efficiency.
For calculations, we’ve fixed the price per litre of petrol at Rs 73 and price of diesel at Rs 66 per litre.
Baleno diesel: BUY NOW if your average running is over 50km per day
The Baleno diesel will most likely go out of production by next year. Even if it doesn’t, it will become more expensive than its petrol counterpart by about Rs 2 lakh - Rs 2.5 lakh (as per Maruti). In such a scenario, it’s best to buy the diesel Baleno NOW if you have cover over 50km per day to justify the ~Rs 1 lakh premium that Maruti Suzuki charges for it over the petrol-powered Baleno.
Baleno petrol: BUY if your average running is less than 50km per day
The Baleno petrol turns out to be the most economical option for those with an average running of under 50km per day. In fact, even if your average running is somewhat higher, the petrol Baleno would still make sense given that you’re likely to save some money on maintenance costs as well.
Baleno petrol-mild hybrid: BUY it for more power but do not want to compromise on fuel efficiency
Baleno petrol-mild hybrid, which is almost Rs 1 lakh more expensive than the Baleno petrol, doesn’t offer enough savings in running costs to justify the incremental price. In its BS 6 avatar, it is priced almost at par with the BS 4 Baleno diesel. In order to make a case for it, Maruti Suzuki will have to put an end to the diesel Baleno, which looks inevitable. In that case too, you will have to have a daily average running of over 100km to justify its extra price over the Baleno petrol!
On a positive note, the Baleno petrol-mild hybrid is more powerful than the Baleno petrol, so the extra performance on offer might just make you want it. But it’s still available in the middle variants only. So, maybe it’s better to wait if you’re planning to buy it, as prices are not expected to go up much in the future given that it’s already compliant with BS 6 norms.
Baleno RS: BUY it for its performance
What goes in favour of the Baleno RS is nothing but the extra performance, rear disc brakes and cosmetic changes if offers. It does come at a price though, given that it’s over a lakh rupees more expensive than the Baleno petrol-MT. Since the Baleno petrol-mild hybrid is also more expensive than Baleno petrol by almost Rs 1 lakh, we can take that as one new reason to justify the Baleno RS’ price tag?