Sharper looks, more equipment, better safety and possibly hybrid tech expected from the Toyota re-engineered Baleno.
Earlier in 2018, Suzuki and Toyota announced an agreement that would see both the companies share certain models in India. Maruti Suzuki will supply the Baleno and the Vitara Brezza to Toyota. Toyota will, in turn, supply their global best selling Corolla to Maruti Suzuki.
This will enable Toyota to enter into entry-level segments where it has little presence and Maruti aims to go into the higher segment with the re-engineered Corolla. Both the companies have said that the partnership will not result in mere cross-badging of products but the cars will have significantly different exteriors and interiors from one another.
The new Toyota based Baleno is expected to boast of a design that looks in-line with the global Toyota line up. Gone would be the prominent ‘U’ shaped grille and will be replaced by something more conventional. The bumpers, headlights and foglights will likely be tweaked to suit the Toyota design language. The rear too will feature wide tail-lights which are typical of Toyota cars and updated design to the spoiler and the bumpers. We expect Toyota to add more chrome to give it an upmarket feel.
The interiors could also receive a makeover and it is very unlikely it will carry the exact same design from Maruti. We expect the interiors to feel more upmarket and be finished in better quality materials. The dashboard design could be similar to the current Toyotas, just like the exteriors. Toyota cars are generally well equipped and if Toyota equips its Baleno with a larger touchscreen, dual-zone climate control, leather seats and even electric adjustment to the front driver seat, it would be a nice touch. Sunroof should be added too.
Toyota’s commitment to safety is quite praiseworthy and we could see that in the Toyota based Baleno as well. Safety features are likely to rival cars of a higher segment. There is a good chance that Toyota will offer features such as ABS, ESP, all-around disc brakes and as many as 6 airbags. The Maruti Baleno is based on a Swift-based platform which hasn’t scored well on safety. Toyota will have to strengthen the car’s build quality in order to excel in the upcoming crash test norms.
Engines are likely to be the same. The peppy 1.2-litre K12 petrol will be carried over but we expect the new 1.5-litre diesel that Maruti is developing to make its way into the Toyota based Baleno. The full-fledged hybrid option will be open as Toyota is a world leader in hybrid tech. Suzuki and Toyota are also mulling on electric power.
Toyota and Suzuki are expected to launch the re-engineered cars in the second quarter of 2019. The prices of the Toyota based Baleno are likely to be on the higher side owing to better style, equipment and safety.
– Maruti will supply 25,000 Balenos to Toyota every year
– The Toyota Baleno will have more style, equipment and safety
– Engines are likely to be carried over