Maruti Baleno RS review, road test

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Price in India


        Maruti is stepping up their game in the Indian market and of

late they have been pushing the envelope in various new dimensions.

The carmaker introduced their premium NEXA brand having niche products

to taste the higher end of the mass market segment. Maruti recently

experimented a different design direction with the launch of the Ignis

targeting millennials and now they are finally entering the

performance oriented segment. Yes, we are talking about the new Baleno

RS that comes with a brand new BoosterJet engine. We just drove the

hot hatch at the Buddh International Circuit, testing the limits of

the 1.0-litre turbo petrol motor. The RS moniker here stands for ‘Road

Sport’ and we see if the first performance-centric hatch from Maruti

justifies the RS badge.




         The Baleno Rs. (Road Sport, not rally sport, according to

Maruti) is the car market leader’s first attempt at creating what is

closest to a hot hatch. In the Indian context, this belongs to the

performance category, while elsewhere in the world, this is just one

more engine variant of the Baleno; and in most cases meant to help

meet more stringent emission norms. But, what is in a name… or should

we say an appendage. The numbers should still excite petrol-heads. How

does 102 hp of power and 150 Nm of torque sound to you? Not bad for a

sub-one-litre engine in a sub-tonne hatch, right?


         But, before we get carried away by the new Boosterjet engine

and its prowess, let us get past the Baleno RS’s design identity. From

a distance, the new sportier version of the Baleno could pass off as

the existing model, except maybe from the rear and if you had a keen

eye. Maruti Suzuki has chosen to keep the unique features on the RS’s

exterior to a fair minimum. It has got a new bonnet grille with a grey

metallic chrome surround and a new bumper at the front with what looks

like a large airdam and aggressive profile. Faux skirts in the same

grey metallic chrome finish run along the sides and under the front

fender. The rear features a considerably altered fender compared to

the regular Baleno’s. There is also the rear spoiler at the roof and

the mid-tail gate chrome half spoiler with the reversing camera in the

middle. The only place where the Rs. appendage is visible is at the

rear with the badge in blue. The most unique and good looking feature

of the new Rs. variant are the black alloy wheels.


         The changes to the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS’s cabin are similarly minimal.

The interior is offered in an all-black avatar, in keeping with a very

sophisticated, European flavour. The touchscreen infotainment screen

and the coloured multi-information display in the instrument cluster

with the helpful power and torque delivery identified in a real-time

circular chart format have both been carried forward from the current

Baleno’s cabin. The RS’s cabin is otherwise identical and doesn’t

sport any Rs. identifiers. But the Baleno’s cabin was already a good

jump in fit and finish quality




       It doesn’t take much time to realise what this car is capable

  1. Shift into first gear, release the clutch and press the

accelerator in under a second you might start to feel that everything

around you is being fast-forwarded. The car touches a speed of 100kph

in a little over 10 seconds, and has a top speed of 180kph. The

Boosterjet pulls strongly from 2000rpm onwards, and keeps pulling

beyond 5000rpm, so you never feel the car is running out of power,

except when the rev limiter kicks in at above 6000rpm.


          Now it’s a powerful engine, yet it is frugal. The claimed

fuel-efficiency is a high 21.1kpl. The car has a fuel tank of 37

litres and an ideal range of over 700km on a full tank.

(Part of the reason the Baleno RS is so quick is that it’s built on a

lightweight platform – its weight is just 950kg.)




           Maruti is offering the Baleno RS in a single variant and

hence the car is loaded with top spec safety features as standard such

as dual front airbags, ABS, EBD and ISOFIX child seat provision.

Additionally, the Baleno RS comes with all-four discs for better

stopping power. In terms of after sales, we all know that Maruti has a

very renowned and wide network across the country. The NEXA channel is

growing with each passing day and the ownership cost of the Baleno RS

will definitely be the lowest compared to the other performance

hatchbacks in this segment.




             On the track, the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS. feels much quicker than the

regular Baleno. There is no turbolag and power is delivered quick…

well, for a hatch in the mass market segment. The comparison can’t be

with real performance cars and that is also the reason why Maruti

isn’t offering a 0 to 100 kmph time for the Baleno Rs. But, getting to

three-digit speeds is quick and on the long back straight in the

circuit, I could reach 160 kmph or thereabouts before having to brake

hard to take the fourth turn. Speaking of braking, the Rs. gets discs

on all four wheels, and the brakes offer decent bite and consistent

stopping force. The steering is typical hatchback style with not much

feedback, though, putting the Rs. on the desired spot on tarmac isn’t

so much a problem. However, the stock tyres we drove on weren’t that

helpful at high speed cornering; they squealed and slipped quite a bit

after a few lap




           If you are looking for a quicker family hatchback, the

Baleno RS won’t disappoint. With better acceleration, steering and

brakes, the performance is an improvement over the standard petrol

version. But this comes at a price. The Baleno RS commands a Rs 1.4

lakh premium over the standard petrol car and does not have any

additional kit. Yes, along with the more powerful engine and rear disc

brakes, you also get a stiffer chassis, improved steering and

suspension. However, our sources tell us that all Balenos will get the

stiffer chassis soon, anyway. That being the case, the Rs 1.4 lakh

premium does seem like a lot. But performance has never come cheap.

So, does the car do justice to its RS badge? Yes it’s quick, but out

here on the F1 track it didn’t seem a quick hot hatch. Then again,

this circuit has made many a sportscar look slow. Guess it’s time to

put the Baleno back to back with the Abarth Punto and the Polo GT to

find out.


Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Ex Showroom Price in New Delhi ranges 8,69,000/- (Baleno RS 1.0L) .Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS has 1 Variants of Petrol are available in India. Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS comes in 7 colours, namely Fire Red,Premium Silver,Autumn Orange,Urban Blue,Grey,Pearl Arctic White,Ray Blue.

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