Thoughts on driving the Suzuki Baleno in Johannesburg

Run Ride Dive Can You Drive It
Suzuki Baleno 1.4 GLX

Review: Suzuki Baleno

We were quite impressed with the Baleno when we attended the launch in the Eastern Cape in early November last year and as a result we were looking forward to the test car when it became available in the rarefied atmosphere of Johannesburg.

One of the things we liked was the styling, a fresh design and nice interior layout without being over the top or excessively kitted in shiny plastic. The Baleno might not win any design awards for beauty but it is different from just about everything else in the B segment.

More on the launch in Patensie

Things we liked:

The design. It stands out among it’s peers. Not in a radical way but in a pleasant way. The Baleno is easy on the eye. She’s attractive with sculpted flanks and short overhangs. Just the right amount of chrome accents to highlight the glass lines and door handles.

The interior offers a surprising amount of usable space for driver, passengers and luggage. The dashboard layout is functionally sound but could still benefit from some extra bells and whistles like reversing camera, at least as an option. The infotainment screen is large and clear. The bluetooth unit is very good. Audio was superb over the speaker system.

The Build quality. The Baleno is well manufactured with no obvious sharp edges or unfinished trimmings. The plastics are of a high quality and feel good too. The silver plastic trim is tastefully distributed on the dashboard and is not overdone.

The 1.4 naturally aspirated engine offers good fuel consumption. The 1.4 is rated at 68 kW at 6000 r.p.m. while delivering a max torque value of 130 Nm at 4200 r.p.m.

The size. At only 4m overall length, parking is a breeze in the city and a nice tight turning circle does wonders.

We don’t like:

On one particularly windy winter morning the Baleno felt very light on the highway. On subsequent drives with less wind it improved but still feels light at highway speeds.

The infotainment unit is a little clumsy to use when driving.

The Baleno would benefit from a little more zip at altitude.

Our conclusion

Good value for money. Good fuel efficiency. Good boot space. The Baleno is an affordable all-rounder, be sure to use the link below to book a Test Drive.

Important numbers


ABS with EBD function

turning radius

Piston displacement (cm3)

Maximum speed

0-100 km/h

From 199 000



1 373



Book a test drive or view the full list of specs.

Other Suzuki products we have reviewed:

Suzuki Ciaz GL Review

Suzuki Celerio


Run Ride Dive Can You Drive It


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