I am quite fond of our long-term Baleno. We took it to Goa for Vaishaliâ€™s wedding, and thereafter the Baleno has been a constant companion for all our shoots. This month, I got to keep her for a few days when Halley was away in Germany.
For starters, Baleno is very spacious â€” something which I am sure the others have already told you in various comparisons and long-term reports. Reiterating the fact were four of my friends who joined me on a 200km picnic trip. Their 3-year old girl slept peacefully at the rear, a testament of the nicely damped suspension. While on the ghats, the Baleno kept me happy with its light yet decently weighted steering wheel. In the same vein, she doesnâ€™t offer the best steering in terms of feel, and there is a slight judder at high speeds.
The engine is a gem here while not being the most efficient on the road. She will on most occasions do 16kmpl. Maybe I am just finicky about the economy numbers considering that my last long termer, the Celerio ZDi was the most fuel-efficient diesel car we ever had with us. That aside, the Baleno delights with its slick gearbox and a rev happy 75PS engine. You require minimal shifts in the city, but overtaking on highways takes one to drop a gear or two.
There, however, are a few small issues that though need to be looked into. For example, the auto headlamps think 4.30-5.00pm light isnâ€™t enough and they turn the full beam on. Maybe itâ€™s got to do with an oversensitive sensor. Also, similar to other Maruti cars that are equipped with a push-button start, the doors donâ€™t auto unlock once you switch off the ignition. Anis also pointed out that the audio system doesnâ€™t let you forward a particular song through the touchscreen unit unlike the S-Cross or the Brezza. These will be hopefully rectified in the next service.
The Nexa service experience, so far has been good. When you buy a car from Nexa, you get a free pickup and drop for the service. Our Baleno was always picked up and dropped off on time. Service costs are similar to what you have for other Maruti cars, around RsÂ 4,000 for change of fluids, greasing, interior cleaning, body wash and the other requisites. This reminds me that the brake pads are on their last legs and will shortly have to be replaced. Since Halley will spend the next two weeks out of the office, again me and the Baleno get to bond some more!