EXPECTATIONS are essential when you consider buying a 2020 Suzuki Baleno GL. It retails for $17,585 drive away as an automatic and $1000 less as a manual, and that’s when you choose the optional Stargaze Blue Metallic colour.
At a price like that, you’d be expecting four wheels and capability to move from point A to point B, but the Baleno is so much more than that. It offers the best bang for buck at this end of the market, and it’s even backed by a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
On the outside, the Suzuki is well designed, with nice contours, and some styling chrome both front and rear. There is some matte black plastic on the front end, but it’s less than $18,000 so you can’t expect gold plating.
The bitter pill, if there is one, is the 15-inch steel wheels and plastic hub caps, but again, it’s a cheap car. You can always opt for the range topping GLX if you want alloy wheels and some additional features.
Inside, it’s nice and spacious, with room for five people. The cabin feels a little minimalist, but it does have power windows and mirrors, cruise control, dusk sensing headlights and a touchscreen infotainment system.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard too. There’s also Bluetooth to connect your hands-free calls, and built-in satellite navigation and voice command as well – a surprise in a car at this price.
There’s just a single USB port up front, but a 12V power outlet gives you the option of plugging your own charger in. The reversing camera offers great picture quality, even in the dark, which is super impressive.
The boot offers a spacious 355-litres with the seats up, or 756-litres with them down, but they don’t lay flat, so you might have to play Ikea jigsaw to get everything in after your flat pack furniture binge.
A 6-speaker sound system delivers a good quality audio experience, and the steering wheel is leather wrapped. Cloth seats are the norm at this price point too, and it’s the same for the 2020 Suzuki Baleno GL. They’re pretty damn comfortable though.
It delivers a decent amount of gusto on the road too. The 1.4-litre petrol 4-cylinder is pleasantly surprising in terms of power deliver, with a spritely 68kW of power on tap, along with 130Nm of torque. Fuel economy is an impressive 5.4-litres/100km.
Nevertheless, load up the car with passengers and cargo and be prepared to snail trail to your destination. There is only so much optimisation you can draw from the small power plant, which can be mated to a 4-speed auto or 5-speed manual.
That aside, it out guns its competitors for performance, and wins the value for money award, without question. It exceeds expectations in terms of inclusions, and it won’t leave your pocket empty either.
Safety hasn’t been forgotten either, with multiple airbags, brake assist, ABS, stability and traction control, and automatic hill hold control. And if Stargaze Blue Metallic is not for you, there’s also Arctic White, Granite Gray Metallic, Premium Silver Metallic and Fire Red.
Our test vehicle was provided by Suzuki Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Suzuki Baleno GL, contact your local Suzuki dealer.