What is it?
Basically, the Baleno is a Swift-plus supermini. The supermini market is booming and Suzuki wants more than one challenger, hence the bigger Baleno and we try the Suzuki Baleno 1.0 Boosterjet SZ3 .
This model might be all-new, but the name dates back 15 years.
Also available is a mild-hybrid petrol version, but we’ve got the Baleno in range-topping SZ3 trim with the 1.0-litre Boosterjet petrol engine to see what it’s like.
- The Baleno might only have a 1.0-litre turbo engine, but it’s a gem and boasts 109bhp and 170Nm of torque. Performance is best described as strong and flexible, yet still impressively refined. Happy to rev, to be honest it does its best work lower down the rev-range. It accelerates to 60mph in 11.4 secs and has a top speed of 124mph. Capable of 62.7mpg on the Combined Cycle, but emits just 105g/km emissions, all equalling a 18% tax band.
- The zingy 1.0-litre engine is one of the main reasons why the Baleno is fun to drive. The steering is reasonably precise if a little light in terms of feel. With this Suzuki’s soft suspension and some body roll, the Baleno doesn’t feel as sporty to drive as the smaller Swift . The upshot of the soft suspension is the refined ride over long distances.
- The driving position is comfy and because the Baleno is built on a new longer chassis that will also underpin the recently announced new Swift, the interior feels spacious too. Rear space is more compromised, but there’s still enough room for adults to sit comfortably, plus a practically-shaped 267-litre boot.
- Like every other Suzuki, the Baleno is a high-value package and in the top SZ3 trim we have here, standard equipment is pleasingly comprehensive and includes six-airbags, air-conditioning, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, sat-nav, 16-inch alloy wheels and electric windows.
- The Baleno looks modern enough on the outside, but it’s an unremarkable, forgettable design when compared to supermini rivals which is a shame.
- The Suzuki’s interior design is sadly similarly unremarkable. The fit and finish isn’t up to the standard of European rivals either.
- Sat-nav and the Baleno’s standard touch-screen infotainment system are welcome, but we have issues with the way this system works – it looks cheap, is slow to operate and is complicated to use!
- Whilst the Baleno might be generally fun-to-drive, we wish there was less body lean in corners, the steering had more feel and that the out-of-town ride wasn’t quite so bouncy.
- The 1.0 Boosterjet engine goes well enough, but can get quite buzzy when worked hard.
- The front seats are a bit flat and lack support.
Verdict on the Suzuki Baleno 1.0 Boosterjet SZ3
If you can get past the Suzuki Baleno’s unremarkable exterior and interior styling, plus the cheaper feel to the interior, then we reckon if you’re after a spacious supermini this car is worthy of serious consideration.
But, how does the £15,349 Suzuki compare to the best-selling Fiesta? Closest spec to our range-topping Baleno SZ3 is the more expensive 1.0-litre Titanium five-door at £15,645.
The Ford is also the sportier drive, although for an SME the emissions and tax band are going to be key and this is where the Ford is still on top, with 99g/km and a 16% charge versus this Suzuki’s slightly higher 18% charge with 105g/km emissions.
The lowdown on: Suzuki Baleno 1.0 Boosterjet SZ3:
|Doors and body style||Five-door supermini|
|Engine/gearbox||1.0 3cyl petrol turbo/5 speed manual|
|CO2 Emissions:||105 g/km|
…..and what it costs
|Monthly business rental (ex VAT)||From £212.81|
|Road tax (VED)||£0 first year, £20 thereafter|
|Company Car Tax Bands 2015/16 to 2016/18||20%|
|Benefit in kind 2015/16 to 2017/18||£2,889|
|Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (20%)||£799/£66|
|Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (40%)||£1,510/£133|
|Annual/monthly company car tax (20%)||£520/£43|
|Annual/monthly company car tax (40%)||£1,040/£86|
|Figures correct at time of posting||January 2016|
|For latest figures||Use our company car tax calculator|