Suzuki Australia today confirmed the all-new turbocharged Baleno hatch will join its range around August this year, giving it a viable offering to sit between the Swift and Vitara.
The news confirms what we exclusively reported yesterday, when we revealed that Suzuki had begun the requisite regulatory registration process.
The all-new Baleno — which marks the return of another 1990’s nameplate to Suzuki Australia’s range alongside the recent return of the Vitara and (Jimny) Sierra — made its world premiere last year in Frankfurt.
At an expected 3995mm in length, 1745mm in width and 1500mm in height, with a 2520mm wheelbase, the Baleno is scarcely bigger than the Swift. But it shines with a 355-litre boot that rivals cars a class above. It exceeds a Ford Focus, for example.
The same equation applies to the Baleno’s cabin space, as Suzuki Australia Automobiles general manager Andrew Moore said.
“Although it’s a light car and you might be focused on the exterior dimensions, the Baleno is very much designed for interior space,” he said.
“We see it as slotting into the space that ‘small’ cars occupied a couple of generations ago, satisfying buyers that feel small cars have gotten too big. We have customers that love the Swift but say its boot is too small.”
Suzuki Australia is keeping full tech specs on the down low, but has revealed that the Baleno will be at least available with the company’s new Boosterjet turbo engine, probably the 1.0-litre three-cylinder version with outputs of 82kW/170Nm matched to five-speed manual and six-speed auto transmissions.
This engine comes from the same family as the 1.4-litre four-pot turbo in the Vitara S, due in Australia in April, which makes 103kW/220Nm. A base 66kW/120Nm 1.2-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated version may also make the cut as a price leader.
Impressively, the Baleno range will also include a 7.0-inch touchscreen display audio system with satellite-navigation, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
One element we may have overcalled is the price. We predicted a starting price earlier this week of about $18,000, but expect the this figure to kick off a little lower than this.
For context, the edgier but smaller Swift kicks off at $15,990 plus on-roads, while the Vitara is a bargain-basement $21,990.
Suzuki Australia says further information on the new Baleno, including specifications and pricing, will be supplied closer to launch in Q3.