India’s leading car maker Maruti Suzuki has given two of its popular hatchbacks mid-life facelifts. The very popular Baleno and the not so successful Ignis have gone in for a refresh and both get more features than before. Many of these changes are about looks and design but these cars have been made much safer as well.
The Baleno has been one of the largest selling cars in the Maruti Suzuki portfolio for some time now. In fact it is the fastest car to record the 5 lacs sales milestone. LED projector lamps with DRLs were always there but what this facelift gets is a front fascia with wider stance that makes it sporty and elegant. The car also gets a new grille with dynamic 3D detailing along with new precision cut smoked two tone 16” alloy wheels. 2 new colour options include Phoenix Red and Magma Grey. The hatchback also gets new seat fabric—black and navy blue dual-tone interiors. The new Baleno also comes with next generation “Smartplay Studio” connected infotainment system. The new 7-inch touch system combines smartphone, vehicle and cloud-based services which means apart from listening to music you can also surf news, get the latest weather updates and also locate eateries around you. One of the most practical features is the addition of a rear parking camera, navigation with live traffic and vehicle information, and alerts on the screen which add to the convenience.
Engine options remain the same on the Baleno. The hatch will be continue to be powered by a 1.2 litre 83 bhp petrol engine and a 1.3 litre 74 bhp diesel engine. The former is also offered with CVT options. Baleno is the first vehicle from Maruti Suzuki to be offered with the “HEARTECT” platform which according to the company promises enhanced safety for its occupants. This is due to the use of high tensile steel that makes the body more rigid and stronger. Safety features on the new Baleno include dual airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, pre-tensioner and force limiter seat belts with reminder, ISOFIX child restraint system, speed alert system and rear parking sensors all of which are standard across variants.
The prices for the updated Baleno start at Rs 5.45 lakh for the petrol variants and Rs 6.60 lakh for the diesel options. The added features have made the car more premium even in terms of prices. It may help the fortunes of the Hyundai i20 and Honda Jazz but not to an extent to take away the tag of best selling premium hatch from the Baleno.
The emphasis on the 2019 Ignis has been largely on making the car safer than before. New safety features on the cars include Reverse Parking Assist System, Co-Driver Seat Belt Reminder and High Speed Alert System that come as standard features across all the variants. The Ignis already comes equipped with dual front airbags, ABS and EBD, seat belt pre-tensioners with force limiters and ISOFIX—child seat restraint system as standard fitments. IGNIS is compliant for frontal offset, side impact and yet to be introduced pedestrian safety crash regulations.
In a minor design upgrade the 2019 Ignis also gets roof rails that have been added in the Zeta and Alpha variants. And inside just like the Baleno the car gets 7-inch smart play studio infotainment system. Prices for the new Ignis start at Rs 4.79 lakh for the base manual and Rs 5.87 lakh for the AGS variants. It is only available in a 1.2 litre 83 bhp 113 Nm petrol engine option as the diesel variants have now been discontinued.
The Ignis hasn’t really been a best seller like the Baleno and Maruti will be hoping this 2019 model makes it more popular in the market.
Apart from introducing 3 new cars already this year including the WagonR, Maruti Suzuki has also come up with a practical initiative of servicing cars in the night. The servicing at night caters to the needs of the customers who are busy in their hectic schedules during the day and are not able to give their vehicles for servicing because they need it in their daily routine. The company is also offering vehicle pick up at night and drop off in the morning.
According to Maruti there will be no additional cost in servicing for customer owing to night operations. In most cases, cars will be ready as per the committed timeline. However, in case of an unexpected delay, the customer will not be disturbed at night and will be offered a loaner car. As of now the night service is offered in the cities of Gurgaon, Sahibabad, Bangalore, Mangalore and Bhubaneswar. It will be expanded to other cities based on feedback and demand.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars