Maruti Baleno RS Review
Car Tested: Maruti Baleno RS; Road Test No. 800; Test Location: BIC
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 10.43 lakhs
Maruti now has a turbocharged petrol hot hatch in their line-up with the Baleno RS
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.
Motor Quest: The Maruti Baleno was launched in India in 2015 and it is one of the top 10 selling cars in India. The Baleno RS was first shown as a concept at the 2016 Auto Expo and it generated a lot of enthusiasm and we all were eagerly waiting for it.
Exteriors – There are significant changes on the exterior to differentiate it with the regular Baleno. The front profile now gets a new mesh grille along with a more edgy looking bumper having a pronounced chin. On the side you will immediately notice the black alloys which look quite racy but have the same design. The A and B pillars are blacked out too while it also comes with side under body spoilers. The rear is dominated by a sporty new bumper with black inserts and the shiny new RS badge finished in blue. Yes, the Baleno RS does stand out compared to the regular model and it looks really nice in the Fire Red shade.
Interiors – You won’t notice many changes on the inside as the interiors are identical. The all black theme of the dashboard and upholstery continues. The instrument cluster is carried over having a TFT display that comes with torque and power graphics, fuel economy details, time, outside temperature, driving time, etc. The Smartplay touchscreen infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay connectivity and features such as navigation system, rear parking camera display, etc. Some of the key features include keyless entry and go with push button start, follow me home headlamps, auto AC, front centre armrest and more.
The Baleno RS is based on the Alpha variant of the regular Baleno
The fit and finish feels long lasting and the cabin offers good ergonomics. The seats are comfortable and there is more than enough space both at the front and for the rear passengers. All in all, from the inside, the Baleno RS feels pretty much the same. Maruti could have offered some sporty elements to differentiate such as red accents, redesigned steering wheel, sporty gear knob, aluminium pedals, etc. to differentiate the interior layout from the regular Baleno.