Maruti Suzuki has an uncanny knack of popularising concepts which we though would never work in India. The AMT gearbox’s popularity can be attributed to the fact that you can almost fifty percent of Maruti’s product range with a AMT gearbox option. Similarly, a hot hatchback, usually the realms of the European manufacturers (Volkswagen with the Polo GT TSI/GT TDI and Fiat with the Abarth Punto, Abarth Avventura and the original Palio 1.6 GTX) or the Americans (Ford Figo and the Chevrolet SR-V with the optional Supercharger) and the Japanese despite their expertise have always managed to shy away from it. Here is a specifications comparison between the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS and its primary rivals: VW Polo GT, Ford Figo and Fiat Abarth Punto.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno
That said, Maruti Suzuki is known for making some of the best handling hatchbacks in India, from the original Zen to the current Swift and now is finally launching a hot (or lukewarm) hatchback for India. In fact, the car is already available for bookings and commands a waiting period of up to six weeks. Now we have already told you all you need to know in terms of the specifications but let us take you through how the standard Baleno and the Baleno RS differ in terms of external appearances.
Lets start from the front end. This is where the differences in the two cars is at its most obvious. While the Baleno in its standard form gets a set of very curvy and quite understated bumpers, the RS gets a visually more aggressive bumper with a bigger air intake. The actual grille in terms of basic form stays the same but the design is different. Where the standard car has a black grille with a chrome accent piece, the RS gets a sportier mesh grille with the same chrome bezel.
In our opinion though, Maruti should have ditched the chrome on the grille altogether for a gloss all-black grille option. The other big difference of course is the new bumper lip spoiler. This styling feature in our opinion is the coolest thing on the Baleno RS and in its satin black finish looks superb! Perfect for a car with a sporty appeal.
Around the side the similar lip spoiler treatment continues with the new side skirts that have also been painted in a shade of satin black to match the front bumper lip. As compared to the normal Baleno, these side skirts make the car look a little lower and give the RS a better stance. The Baleno RS also comes standard with a tailgate spoiler, which the higher spec Balenos also get. The wheels on both cars are identical but where the standard Baleno gets silver or gunmetal grey wheels, the new Baleno RS gets a set of gloss black wheels. Now, this to be honest is something we are slightly disappointed with. Maruti Suzuki could have easily offered a different set of wheels on the Baleno RS (black painted of not), which would have helped differentiate the standard car from the ₹ In face, the wheels offered on the international spec car and also the ones spied on the test mule in India could have been ideal as they look a lot better than the standard wheels.
Around the rear, just like the front bumpers, the rear bumper on the standard car is completely body colored and there is no separate diffuser type construction whereas the Baleno RS has a much larger and chunkier rear bumper. The lower half of the bumper features unpainted plastics and although they are mainly for looks, the larger and squarish bumper design reminds us of some of the insane tuned sports cars and sports hatchbacks from the mid-2000s! In fact, although it might look appealing at first glance, the rear bumper of the Baleno RS does compete the look quite well. Of course, the bumper spoiler treatment that you get on the front (and continues on the side skirts) also continues on the rear bumpers.
So, to sum up, here is what we like and what we dislike when it comes to exterior design:
- - New front bumper with lip spoiler / splitter
- - Larger rear bumper
- - Side skirts that match the front and rear bumper
- - Sporty colours like the bright red, orange and two shades of blue
- - Wheel design the same as standard car, even though painted black
- - No slightly larger spoiler option
- - No exposed exhaust tips to add to sporting pretentions
- - Too much chrome on grille, the rear boot lid and door handles