Need buying advice: 2022 Maruti Baleno or something else?

Assuming the Vitara Brezza is a no go, any suggestions on other car options?

BHPian Darth_vater recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

So I had decided on picking up the new Baleno Alpha MT (Celestial Blue). I even gave the booking amount but now I’m having second guesses for the following reasons:

  • Stability at higher speeds – I am concerned whether the car is planted at 120km/hr. I do a lot of trips with friends and sometimes we do push the car at 120 (max). I am concerned on its stability at this speed.
  • Wireless Android Auto / Carplay – I am surprised this is not available initially. Many have mentioned it will arrive in the OTA update though I am not sure if it ever will.
  • Drive – I have read multiple people suggesting it feels a bit sluggish. I was okay when I drove it but as I said, I do drive a lot on highways too so it shouldn’t be too sluggish while overtaking.
  • Safety – Multiple people have given assurances that is more safe than the outgoing car. Still not sure about its safety.

Now for the alternative, firstly I am looking at the new Brezza and check if there is a variant suitable for me when it launches on June 30th. I am not hopeful as there will be a premium pricing over the outgoing model. Budget is 11 but I can still push 12L (max – all inclusive).

Assuming Brezza is a no go, any suggestions on other car options? I will list down the reasons of why I have not considered the following cars. Its not final, feel free to change my view on these cars, I am open to suggestions

  • New Hyundai Venue – In my budget of 11 – 12 Lakhs, I can only pick up the 82bhp variant. My brother has the new i20 and I am not happy with the engine. Its good for i20 but not a bigger car like Venue;
  • Altroz – At my budget, I could go for XZ Plus turbo. My concerns on this car is that compared to i20 and Baleno, it feels a bit outdated and also its NVH levels, Bad Pre and post sales services, okay-ish interiors. I spoke to multiple owners and they all complained about the clutch having issues and also car having problem ascending hilly regions. Not sure if they were being honest on this.
  • i20 – Brother owns this car, not sure if I’m alright in picking up another i20 for home. Will skip this.
  • Glanza – Basically everything the same Baleno. Hated the interiors on Glanza, looked like an Etios cab interiors in my eyes. Still felt baleno looks way better than the Glanza.
  • Nexon – For the features I want, car is way out of my budget.
  • Kiger – Initially liked the manual turbo (top-end). However, I read many reports and getting very mileage, poor interiors, NVH being high.
  • Sonet – The engine trim and features I need are out of budget. Also felt the back seating cramped.
  • Nissan Magnite – A friend has it. Packed with features but I just didn’t like the car and I am also not sure about Nissan services and their future in India.
  • Tata Punch – I did not like how it looks from behind. Interiors felt okay and I didn’t like the drive of this car when I TD.
  • Citroen C3, Triber – Will be skipping all these for various reasons which I won’t get into detail.

Bottom line I need to make a decision and go with it.

Here’s what BHPian Gupts007 had to say on the matter:

You know I just bought Alpha AGS and it’s come out around 11.10 lacs onroad.

Honestly I’m regretting having spent so much on it. With the 21k price hike and zero discounts this is atleast 50k more than what it should be.

Your concerns are legit about high speed stability coz it’s a hatch and a light one.

Wireless Android auto like you said isn’t there and the hearsay is that it will come with OTA. I won’t get my hopes up for that. The wired Android auto keeps getting disconnected and I’ve used multiple cables. Even ordered some new ones. My SA says he will get it throughly checked during service.

Engine is sluggish no doubt. The manual is still a bit better but it lacks the punch.

Safety is a grey area right now as no NCAP tests have been conducted. It is likely to be better than the previous gen but how much it’s anybody’s guess.

The Brezza with a slightly higher budget would be a better vehicle overall. I’m not sure if the extended legroom of the Baleno is available in the Brezza too!

How Maruti prices it will govern but it should be distant from the Baleno or it will cannibalize the Baleno.

Here’s what BHPian mi2n had to say on the matter:

I have just had about 20 days with my Zeta AGS and all of 1400 kms on the ODO. This included a 600+ km small round-trip to a nearby tourist spot. Before i proceed to give my opinions on the car, please appreciate that I have never had any automatic cars before and neither have we had very quick/agile cars in our garage. I enjoy driving when I am not rushing.

Office commutes(city drives) – This is why the Baleno AGS has been purchased in the first place. A 60km daily commute in peak work hours amidst maddening and unruly traffic. So, ease of use, comfort and fuel economy were the only parameters considered. Infact, we upgraded our booking from an Ignis Alpha AGS. The Baleno replaces our 8 year old and 1.13L kms run Figo TDCi as our daily driver. The Figo has been designated to a more relaxed life now. During the wait from booking to delivery, my TUV300 was put to use for daily commutes. It is otherwise earmarked for our road-trips only.
Now, in a nutshell, the Baleno is sheer pleasure in city traffic. Yes, it is a bit slow to roll from a standstill compared to my torquey diesels, but for most of the commute the sheer ease and comfort it provides is nothing short of pampering. The cabin is well insulated and the car is extremely refined. With most of your work off-loaded to some electro-mechanical wizardry, which is not jerky at city speeds at all, I absolutely do not feel tired or irked at the day end now. The cabin also has this strange feel good factor to it. It is also returning in the range of 15-16 kmpl for city commutes which is as per my expectation from this bulky hatchback. The suspension is also superbly tuned. I call it the “comfortable yet not compromised” tune. My dad disagrees, he says our Etios sedan is more comfortable, the Baleno is a close second. As a fellow BHPian friend told me few months back, there is a learning curve for driving all types of automatics. I am getting a hang of it, quicker than I thought.

Highway and village roads – Honestly, I was not expecting much from the Baleno on the highways. But it has so far, far exceeded my expectations on most parameters. It is super stable in straight lines and you can actually chuck it once in a while onto the next lane. It won’t complain or make you mumble to yourself – don’t do it again. I drove mostly between 80-100 kmph on the toll roads and between 60-80 kmph on the State highways and village roads. At those speeds, you feel cocooned nicely and the brilliant suspension tune does not make you nervous for once.The only thing that would bother you would be the tyre noise seeping in the otherwise absolutely calm and quiet cabin. Braking is quick and precise. If you get bored and floor the A pedal, you are greeted with a throaty growl and 6k rpm up-shifts. In 3rd gear, 100 kmph comes up quite effortlessly. I wanted to hear the alarm buzzing for 120 kmph, so I floored it and got there in 3rd gear itself. Again, no drama getting there or stopping afterwards. I am yet to use the M mode.
But, in certain situations, like you change lanes to overtake a truck while in 5th gear at 70-80 kmph and tap the A pedal that little bit harder, the car shifts down to 4th and there is a momentary lull in delivery of power. Would get you to think, you could have completed the overtake without the downshift. This caused some discomfort for few times till I learnt to live with it or deal with it. Even at times, you are cruising at 70 kmph in 5th and going up a very slight incline the car would, for some reason which I am yet to figure out, shift a gear down.

That said, the shifts are actually smoother and quicker than many drivers I have come across. Off-course, it is noticeable for say 1st to 2nd and 5th to 4th. But unless you are keenly looking for it, you will miss most of the shifts, the passengers, even more so. Did I mention, the suspension is super silent?

Ok, next up. Ample ground clearance. Coming from the TUV, I started very apprehensively. Specially those lorry spec bumps on the village roads. No issues for the Baleno at all.

And if you want to leisurely cruise on the highways at 80-90 kmph all day, you will be greeted with magical figures of fuel consumption on the MID. BHPian Dip27in who accompanied us on the trip remarked – it is actually sucking fuel from cars around it.

Finally, yes, I do feel the Baleno is overpriced. But so are all cars these days. But it sure is a nice, comfortable and premium hatch to drive or be driven in.

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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