Suzuki Baleno ~ Cars and Bikes
Cars and Bikes

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Suzuki Baleno

The Suzuki Baleno, is an automobile produced by the Suzuki Motor Corporation. It is the export version of the Suzuki Cultus Crescent. In India, it was manufactured by Maruti Udyog and sold as the Maruti Baleno.

The Baleno was introduced in the global market in 1995 as Suzuki's first attempt in the C-segment, at the time dominated by European cars such as the VW Golf and Opel Astra, and Japanese models such as the Nissan Sunny and Toyota Corolla. As a North American replacement for the Suzuki Swift sedan (the 3-door hatchback remained after it was redesigned in 1995), it was built in the same platform as the Suzuki Swift, with stretched wheelbase and improved cabin room, but shared most of its components with the smaller model, although it was marketed as an all-new and separate automobile.

The Baleno was initially available as a 3-door hatchback and 4-door sedan, with 1.3 L (hatch only) and 1.6 L engines, with power ranging between 85 PS (63 kW) and 99 PS (73 kW/97 hp). In 1996, the lineup was extended with the Esteem Wagon (Baleno Break in most European markets and Baleno Altutra in India), Suzuki's first station wagon, also with the same 1.6 L, which also received optional 4WD in the two larger body variants.

Suzuki restyled the Baleno in 1999. The car was given a new frontend, with a rounder grille and new headlights, and the engine lineup was expanded. Mazda supplied the 1.8 L BP engine, that was fitted to the sedan and wagon. In North America, the Esteem 1.8 Station Wagon completely replaced the Esteem 1.6, but in most markets the 1.8 sedan became the sports model. In some European markets, the 1.8 L was installed in the hatchback and sold as the limited edition Baleno GTi. Europe also gained a Diesel version, with a 75 PS (55 kW) XUD engine supplied by Peugeot.

The Esteem/Baleno was replaced in most markets by the new Aerio/Liana. It was pulled from the market in Europe and North American in 2002, after one year of overlapping. The car remained available in many developing countries, including India and Southeast Asia, where it was sold until 2007, when production stopped at the Maruti factory, with the assembly line giving way to the SX4 Sedan.

Test Drive
No doubts here, as Suzuki mechanicals have always been reliable, and the Baleno is well made, too. The long warranty should take care of most worries, anyway. The standard power steering makes even the estate easy to manoeuvre and park. Thoroughly user-friendly and safe - as long as you can stay awake.

A fuel consumption of about 11-12 km to a liter of Petrol within the city with AC and 15-16 km to a liter on the highways while cruising between 100-140 km/h with about 5 people in the car. Not many cars in the segment can boast of a mileage that can match this. The gear ratio is very good. It goes at low speeds on the higher gears. The 1.6-litre engine is willing enough, but lacks any real punch. Acceleration isn't a strong point, although it copes all right on the motorway.

There's plenty of room, and good air-conditioning. The ride is hard and on the jarring side, and it's a bit noisy, but there's lots of load space. All three variants score well, with big boots and plenty of room front and rear. The cabin feels airy, and there's loads of carrying capacity in the estate. A radio/cassette is standard, and it's OK.

Potential Problems
As 6 to 8 years old car, Baleno engine usually is very durable, however some potential problems can occur and need to be maintain:

  • Air Conditioning Evaporator; some costumer said the evaporator leaking after 5-6 years. The symptoms are: water drops in front passenger side (for RHD) wetting the floor carpet. Warm wind from the blower at the beginning of A/C operation (about 1-2 minutes), and loosing of refrigerant. All those problem can be fixed by professional A/C workshop.

  • Front wheel axle. If you hear a knocking noise while turning, it suspected come from the wheel axle. Check the rubber boots, if torn, replace with the new one. Check the grease inside the boot, add if necessary. If the knocking sound still recognize, check the bearing, they call it a birfield bearing. You don't need to change the whole axle, just change the bearing, it cost around US$ 30 to US$ 60 each, its much cheaper than replace the whole axle (approx US$ 400).

  • Shock Absorber; in normal driving use the shock can reach 50.000 to 60.000 km of use (approx 3 years). However, in poor condition road, the shock should be replace every year.

  • Motor Starter Relay; After 5 years, some Baleno has a problem with the motor starter, it would not crank. This problem arise due to a weak electric supply to the motor starter, the wiring cable is not good as a new car. Instead of changing the wiring, it can be solved by add and relay before the starter motor.

  • Electric fan; keep an eyes on it. For more than 5 years old car, the electric fan can failed any time. Always check the engine temperature. For better solution, change the electric fan motor (only, no needs to change the whole fan), it is only cost around US$ 50 to 60.

1 comment:

isaigooni said...

Good article very much. Useful for people who did not know.
Thank you for sharing knowledge.
Webblog and would like to introduce air conditioning(Thai).
Recommend that your first forum.