Suzuki Baleno GLX b

It costs: $22,990.

It has: An 82 kilowatt 1.0-litre with a six-speed auto.

We got: 7.0 litres per 100 km in the city, 5.4 in the country. The official combined figure is 5.2.

Consensus: Hey, it doesn’t cost a lot.

He says:

There are two ways to figure value for money with the GLX Turbo. The first is to put it against the GL. Six grand more for an additional 20 per cent, or 14 kilowatts, of power, an automatic gearbox, better headlights, brakes and tyres, keyless entry and a few bits and bobs. Hmmm. Or put it against other small, sporty hatches. For example it’s three grand down on a Mazda2 Genki S that offers about the same power. Now it starts making sense. So this is clearly a car aimed at sporty drivers on a budget. For them it’s a bargain.

Suzuki Baleno GLX cBut no sporty driver will like the auto. It’s so doggedly calibrated for economy that you must use the paddle shifts all the time or you find yourself chugging along at 1400 rpm with no responsiveness at all. And the auto is slow to respond. There’s a manual mode and it’s easy to overshoot D and lock it in to manual, to find you’re screaming along at 5000 rpm.

Otherwise this is a proposition, with good handling and a motor that’s extremely willing for its size, and it’s very economical. The GLX also feels much more solid than the GL at 110 kmh although the noise level is enough to drown out the audio. The ride is firm but tolerable.

Rod’s verdict:
Hard to love.

She says:
Getting navigation, Bluetooth, auto headlights, a back-up camera and cruise as standard looks great until you discover the GL, at $16,990, has all those things anyway. And the GLX Turbo gets the same audio with the same finicky touch controls. There is a different trip computer which is certainly the most user un-friendly I’ve used, and a slightly different instrument cluster with a couple of sporty data panels to dial up.

Suzuki Baleno GLX aThe interior finish and the upholstery are both much the same as the much cheaper GL. Rear seat space is good for something of this size although the seat is very flat. The boot is deep and takes a week’s groceries at a squeeze.

The difference I did appreciate was driving at freeway speeds. Although the GLX is certainly noisy, especially over coarse bitumen and rough roads, it feels much more solid and assured then the GL. The little turbocharged motor is very willing and noticeably faster off the mark than the GL’s 1.4, and there’s little evidence of turbo lag. I enjoyed the punch away from the lights. And I didn’t find the auto anywhere near as annoying as Rod did, it does the job okay and you can’t argue the economy.

Sure there are frustrations, but the value here is unarguable.

Sheryl’s verdict:
I love a bargain and this is one.

Published July 2017

 

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