When on the lookout for a reliable and economical small car, you could do a lot worse than cast an eye over the Suzuki line-up. For young families on a tight budget or those in the market for an inner-city commute-buster, the compact and good value Swift fits the bill nicely and has even acquired somewhat of a modest cult following since it first hit showrooms in 2004. Last year, the Japanese marque dipped its toes into the city car pool with the pint-sized Celerio and following swiftly (no pun intended) in its tracks comes a new mid-size hatchback with a familiar old name.
Based on the iK-2 concept first glimpsed at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, the Suzuki Baleno is set to slot in above the Swift as the bigger, more practically-minded of the of the hatchback siblings. First impressions suggest that little or nothing has been tinkered with in the design department since the ik-2 first surfaced. Styling inspiration mixes the rugged and chunky stance of the Vitara SUV with the slimmer, trimmer proportions of the Swift. The result is a more spacious, less vivacious and slightly more grown up version of the Swift, capable of offering a cheaper alternative to other Japanese mid-size hatches such as the Toyota Auris and the Nissan Pulsar.
Little in the way of spec has been confirmed at this stage but we do know that the Baleno will be available from launch with Suzuki’s newly developed 1.0 litre BOOSTERJET engine, a turbocharged super-efficient petrol powertrain in the same mould as Ford’s much vaunted 1.0 litre EcoBoost.
The Baleno title has lain dormant since the early 2000s when production of Suzuki’s largely forgotten compact saloon of the same name halted. However, the 2016 vintage, which will be officially unveiled at this year’s upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show, is a different kettle of fish entirely.
The new Suzuki Baleno arrives in the UK in time for summer 2016.
Take a look at Suzuki’s brief teaser video below for a 360 degree view of the new Baleno hatchback.