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Suzuki confirms Baleno for Aus

Small wonder: The Suzuki Baleno will compete against the likes of the Toyota Corolla when it arrives in the third quarter of 2016.

Baleno to act as step up from Swift in Suzuki's Australian line-up


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2 Feb 2016

SUZUKI has officially announced that it will introduce its Toyota Corolla-fighting Baleno hatch to Australia in the third quarter of the year.

The announcement confirms earlier reports by GoAuto that the Japanese car-maker would expand its line-up in Australia with the reborn Baleno, as well as the tiny Ignis crossover that is expected by the year's end.

Exact specifications and pricing are being kept under wraps for now, but the car-maker has confirmed that it will be offered with one of Suzuki's new-generation Boosterjet turbo-petrol engines.

Suzuki is yet to confirm whether it will use the 82kW/170Nm 1.0-litre unit or the 103kW/220Nm 1.4-litre version that will pop up in the Vitara crossover in the second quarter, but given the Baleno's light weight, it is possible that it will use the smaller-capacity unit.

Infotainment will be a key selling point for the Baleno, and Suzuki has announced that it will be offered with a 7.0-inch touchscreen display that includes satellite navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

The Baleno has a 355 litre boot, which is larger than the Corolla's (280L) and the Mazda3 hatch (308L) and significantly more spacious than the segment-smaller Swift (210L).

Suzuki says it utilised similar weight-saving techniques employed in the development of the Vitara for the Baleno, resulting in what it calls an “ultra-light small hatch”.

As reported, the Baleno is slightly larger in most dimensions compared with the Swift, measuring 3995mm long (+145mm over Swift), 1745mm (+50mm), with a 2520mm wheelbase (+90mm), while the Baleno is lower at 1470mm (-40mm).

Suzuki Australia general manager of automobiles Andrew Moore said the Baleno will give buyers an option to step up from the smaller Swift.

“The new Baleno gives Suzuki a great offering for the many customers looking for a stylish and spacious small hatch,” he said. “It will be sure to offer outstanding value that will see it as a great step up from Swift in our line-up.”

The Baleno is the latest Suzuki to resurrect an old nameplate and follows the Vitara compact SUV that launched in September last year, while the Ignis crossover takes its name from the short-lived high-rider that sold in Australia from 2000 to 2005.

The Baleno was offered from 1995 in hatch and sedan guise before disappearing in 2001.

Suzuki's sales increased in Australia last year, growing 9.6 per cent to 19,086 units, with the Swift making up more than half of that figure with a whopping 10,921 sold. It was the third best-selling light car in Australia behind the segment-leading Mazda2 (14,511) and the Toyota Yaris (14,457).

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