Suzuki Baleno (2016-present)

The Suzuki Baleno is a roomy, practical and economical car that's good to drive but looks dull

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Roomy and practical
Economical and well-equipped
Nimble in corners

Weaknesses 

Bland and anonymous styling
Uninspiring interior with lots of hard plastics
Poor safety rating in standard form
Best New Discount

Suzuki Baleno Hatchback 1.2 dualjet sz3 5dr

Total RRP £12,994

Your quote £10,154

You Save £2,840

Suzuki Baleno prices from £6,995   Finance from £120 per month

The Suzuki Baleno is unlikely to be the first car that you thought of buying but thanks to its keen pricing, good equipment levels, choice of efficient engines, and roomy and practical cabin, it deserves to be on your list.

The Baleno is a larger car than Suzuki's popular Swift, with more rear legroom and a bigger boot: 320 litres with the rear seats upright and 756 litres folded down, compared with the Swift’s 265 litres and 579 litres. The Baleno’s rear seats split as well as fold, giving you a couple of loading and seating permutations, too. If space and practicality are important to you, the Baleno wins hands down.

Fortunately, you won’t sacrifice much in the way of driving pleasure since both models share a lot of the same engineering. With the exception of the Swift Sport, even their choice of 1.0 Boosterjet and 1.2 Dualjet petrol engines is the same, although the Swift’s has been tuned to be a little quicker. That said, the Baleno’s Boosterjet engine in particular revs easily and smoothly, so it’s fun to press on a little when the mood takes you.

In addition to its space another Baleno strong point is just how light it is, at around 950kg. Naturally, this benefits economy with the 1.2 Dualjet engine returning 67.3mpg and the more powerful but smaller 1.0 Boosterjet, 64.2mpg in manual form and 60.1mpg in automatic. The Boosterjet is more powerful because it’s turbocharged. This boosts the engine’s mid-range performance, which is good for overtaking and relaxed cruising.

Despite being so light and compact, the Baleno has a comfortable ride. It absorbs most lumps and bumps very well. The seats are firm but supportive so at the end of a long day’s drive, you emerge still feeling quite fresh. Only ‘quite fresh’ because part of the car’s low weight has been achieved at the expense of noise insulation. Motorway journeys can be quite wearing. However, if you’re driving is generally around town or on country roads, you’re unlikely to experience the problem.

On such roads, the lightweight Baleno is fun to drive. It darts around corners and would be as sporty as the Swift if it didn't lean quite so much.

Anonymous on the outside and on the inside, too. The Baleno’s interior may feel well screwed together and built to withstand family use but drab design and lots of hard plastic spoil it. It’s well equipped, though, with even the basic SZ3 having a digital radio, electric windows and air conditioning. Push the boat out with the SZ5 and you get a host of useful safety kit including radar brake support. It’s worth doing because in standard trim, the Baleno was awarded just three out of five stars for safety by Euro NCAP. Adding the safety kit gained it an extra star.

Last Updated 

Friday, August 31, 2018 - 21:15

Best Suzuki Baleno for... 

Suzuki Baleno 1.2 Dualjet SZ3
What this version lacks in performance it makes up for with a best in-range economy of 67.3mpg. Its emissions are the lowest too, at just 98g/km CO2, making it the cheapest to tax in the first year.
Suzuki Baleno 1.0 Boosterjet SZ5
The best-equipped Baleno is also the best for families since in addition to the model’s roomy boot and interior it has a good level of safety and convenience features.The 1.0-litre engine provides good performance and economy.
Suzuki Baleno 1.0 Boosterjet SZ-T
The SZ-T is no quicker than the comfort-oriented SZ5 but looks sportier with its 16in alloy wheels, bright high-intensity discharge lights (HID) and privacy glass.
Suzuki Baleno 1.0 Boosterjet SZ-5 AT
Unless you must have an automatic, then avoid the SZ5 auto. Not only does the gearbox add £1,350 to the price of the manual version, making it the most expensive Baleno in the range, but performance and economy both suffer.

Suzuki Baleno History 

  • 2015 Suzuki Baleno goes on sale with a range of petrol engines and an HSVS mild hybrid version (which recovers energy during braking and uses it to boost acceleration).
  • 2018 Baleno 1.2 SHVS withdrawn from sale due to low demand. The 1.2-litre engine also loses its automatic option

    Suzuki Baleno Engines 

    1.0 Boosterjet, 1.2 Dualjet

    Suzuki follows the path of other manufacturers including Volkswagen and Ford in offering a small turbocharged petrol engine with the Baleno that it calls the 1.0 Boosterjet. Such engines are very popular with car buyers because they produce strong performance and good economy with low emissions. The downside is that they tend to be available only on higher and more expensive trim levels. Such is the case with the 1.0 Boosterjet which is available only on SZ-T and SZ5 trims.

    The third and most basic trim is SZ3. This is only available with the less advanced 1.2 Dualjet petrol engine. This largest engine in the Baleno range has no turbocharger so is less powerful than the 1.0 Boosterjet. However, it is more economical and cleaner, and because it’s only available with SZ3 trim, £2,000 cheaper than the next trim, SZ-T with its 1.0 Boosterjet engine. If price rather than performance is important to you, it’s the engine to choose.

    Fuel

    Fuel economy

    Power

    Acceleration

    Top speed

    1.0 Boosterjet

    Petrol

    60.1 - 64.2mpg

    110bhp

    0-62mph: 11.0 – 11.4s

    118mph

    1.2 Dualjet

    Petrol

    67.3mpg

    89bhp

    0-62mph: 12.3s

    111mph

    Suzuki Baleno Trims 

    SZ3, SZ-T, SZ5

    There may be just three trim levels ranging from basic SZ3 to top-spec SZ5 but as much as £2,000 separates SZ3 from only the next trim, SZ-T. Not only that but £4,350 separates the most basic from the most expensive, the SZ5 automatic. The point is, choosing the wrong trim could be an expensive mistake.

    At least there’s little danger of slipping up with SZ3 trim. We’ve described it as basic but in fact it comes with more equipment than many entry-level cars. OK, it has steel wheels but on the plus side it has air conditioning, front electric windows a digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity. For many people these few features should be all they need.

    SZ-T, which partly because it has more kit but mainly because it has the more advanced 1.0 Boosterjet engine, costs a sizeable £2,000 more. The increase buys foglights, larger alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, brighter headlights and dark privacy glass. It’s all very nice but hardly essential.

    SZ5 trim, the most expensive, adds smart extras including automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control that ‘sees’ the traffic ahead and adjusts your speed to suit, and radar brake support that senses obstacles and brakes the car to avoid a collision. It’s only £1000 more expensive than SZ-T and, we think, worth the extra.

    Used Suzuki Baleno 

    The Suzuki Baleno fails to stand out in any particular area. Coupled with its anonymous styling, low image and heavy discounting from new, it loses value at least as quickly as most small cars, and faster than more sought-after models such as the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo.

    On the flipside, the fact that it’s a rare sight on UK roads (Suzuki sells around 3,000 Balenos a year compared with 10,000 Swifts) means used prices will never be dented by oversupply.

    As an ownership proposition, a used Baleno should be trouble-free and easy on the pocket.

    Suzuki Baleno Prices

    Suzuki Baleno SZ-T

    1.0 boosterjet sz-t 5dr

    • Doors 5
    • Fuel petrol
    • Economy 64.2mpg
    • Gears manual

    Starting at: £12,654

    You could save up to: £2340

    Suzuki Baleno SZ3

    1.2 dualjet sz3 5dr

    • Doors 5
    • Fuel petrol
    • Economy 67.3mpg
    • Gears manual

    Starting at: £10,154

    You could save up to: £2840

    Suzuki Baleno SZ5

    1.0 boosterjet sz5 5dr

    • Doors 5
    • Fuel petrol
    • Economy 64.2mpg
    • Gears manual

    Starting at: £13,654

    You could save up to: £2340

    1.0 boosterjet sz5 5dr auto

    • Doors 5
    • Fuel petrol
    • Economy 60.1mpg
    • Gears automatic

    Starting at: £15,004

    You could save up to: £2340