The closely priced Maruti Baleno and Swift give the former a significant advantage especially around the mid variants, making it a more value for money offering over its younger sibling.
With Maruti updating all variants of the Swift with ABS and dual front airbags recently, the hatchback received the basic safety equipment which was a highly appreciative move by the company. However, this also escalated prices for the Swift by a small margin bringing it closer to the Baleno’s territory. So, you have two Maruti hatchbacks with similar performance and now similar pricing, but which one is worth your money? Does the tried and tested good ol’ Swift make the cut or has the premium hatchback worked its charm? We do a quick price comparison to find out.
Base Variants – Maruti is known to price its products at smaller intervals offering more options to customers and this has happened with the Swift and Baleno as well. While the entry-level pricing is north of Rs. 5 lakhs on both models, the Baleno petrol charges a Rs. 28,000/- premium over the Swift LXi (O) for a similar amount of features. Both cars miss out on the audio system but do get ABS and airbags along with a manual HVAC unit and central locking.
Come to the diesel version and the price difference reduces dramatically. The Baleno 1.3 Sigma charges a meagre Rs. 12,000/- premium over the Swift 1.3 LDi (O). Power also comes from the same 1.3-litre DDiS motor producing 75 PS and 190 Nm of torque, paired to a 5-speed gearbox. That said, the Baleno being lighter by 100 kgs turns out to be slightly quick off the line while the Swift handles much better in comparison. You also get 14-inch steel rims on the Swift while the Baleno comes with 15-inch wheels.
Mid Variants – The real price war ensues in the mid variants of both petrol and diesel versions. Case in point being the VXi (O) and Delta trims that have a price difference of just Rs. 9000/-. The contrast is more substantial on the diesel trims as the 1.3 Delta is priced at a Rs. 44,000/- premium. Nevertheless, the Baleno offers more tricks up its sleeve with features including auto climate control, keyless entry, reverse parking sensors and a larger boot. The Baleno also gets more storage spaces inside the cabin while the overall quality is a tad bit better over its younger sibling.
Top Variants – The Zeta trim on the Baleno closely matches with the Z trims of the Swift with respect to the goodies on offer including auto headlamps with follow-me-home function, MID unit, push start button, height adjustable driver’s seat, multi-function steering wheel among other equipment. When pitched against the other, the Baleno 1.2 Zeta petrol is priced at a premium of just Rs. 6000/- over the ZXi variant. The same goes for the ZDi and 1.3 Zeta diesel version that has a price difference of Rs. 17,000/-. Not to forget the Zeta comes with 16-inch alloys and only misses out comfort features like reverse parking camera, SmartPlay unit, projector lamps and LED DRLs.
Verdict – Now, the Maruti Swift is undoubtedly one of the best hatchbacks on sale in India at present. It is fast, responsive, fun to drive and frugal, making it quite the package. Having said that, the Baleno offers most of those attributes and goes a notch up by offering better cabin space, boot capacity and improved quality. Sure, it isn’t as dynamic as the Swift but for those looking at a better package, the Baleno just does not disappoint. With the price difference almost negligible on some variants, the Baleno makes for an excellent upgrade over the Swift, unless you opt for the Alpha trim.