Suzuki has just launched the new Baleno in Ireland, with pricing starting at €17,995. The Baleno will join the Celerio and Swift in Suzuki’s small car range, but fills the gap for a compact car with more interior space and a larger boot, while retaining attractive low pricing.

The Baleno sits on a new platform that’s been developed with a focus on lightness, but also rigidity. The new car debuts a very on trend 1.0-litre three cylinder petrol engine with a healthy 110bhp output. Suzuki claims that the new 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine has the same level of power and torque as a much larger capacity naturally aspirated engine (1.8-litre). A 1.2-litre petrol ‘mild hybrid’ version with 89bhp is also available.

The new Baleno looks good in the metal and delivers on its ‘big’ small car promise – inside two adults can sit comfortably up front without feeling like they’re sitting on top of one another and the rear legroom is very generous too. The boot is 320 litres, which is on the larger side of what’s normal for this class.

On the road, the Suzuki Baleno quickly shows what a fun small car it is to drive, with a lot of that character coming from the new 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine. At the Irish launch, the Baleno floated around corners with a bit of zest.  It feels agile but planted to the road surface, and light, precise steering made easy work of the twists and turns of the Co. Down test route.

The 1.0-litre engine is lively with plenty of power for overtaking, and the refinement appears very good. Emissions of 105g CO2/km put the car in this configuration in tax band A3 (€190 per year), while the claimed economy is 63mpg. On a shorter test drive, the mild hybrid was not as lively to drive, though running costs are marginally cheaper.

suzuki baleno ireland
Interior of the new Suzuki Baleno

Equipment and engines for the 2016 Suzuki Baleno

Equipment levels are very good from base. The entry model (1.0-litre Boosterjet SZ-T) at €17,995 is definitely a car you might want to buy. Standard equipment includes 16” alloy wheels, air con, electric mirrors and front windows, remote central locking, touchscreen with navigation, Bluetooth, MirrorLink and Apple CarPlay access, auto lights, front fog lights and rear privacy glass.

The 1.0-litre Boosterjet in the top SZ-5 trim comes in at €19,495 and adds more including Radar Brake Control, keyless entry and go, electric rear windows,  and even adaptive cruise control. The mild hybrid (SHVS 1.2 Dualjet SZ5) has a list price of €18,995, while the 1.0-litre Boosterjet SZ5 with an automatic comes in at €22,495.

The new Suzuki Baleno will go on sale in Ireland next month.

Check out our latest Suzuki review, the Suzuki Vitara.

Caroline Kidd