As soon as I got the car for a quick spin, I made myself comfortable by setting and adjusting the seat and the steering position and now we are off for a ride. I will be sharing my first drive experience with you guys.
1. The engine is silent at low speeds. So silent that even with the A/C off I had to see the tachometer to confirm it is running.
2. Once speed builds up you can hear it roar. I actually prefer listening to the engine note for shifting rather than relying on the tachometer so this works for me. Haven?t revved the car yet, it has been only under 2000 rpm.
3. With 5 on board, the car had to be downshifted to 1st to climb a steep hill. It was struggling in 2nd. (Miss that power.)
4. The car is wide and the sides bulge out hence judgement while driving or parking will be an issue for the initial days.
5. The rear camera works well even in the dark, a must have feature for the Baleno.
6.Lights are good and well build with good visibility.
7. Sound quality from speakers is acceptable and I won?t be doing any upgrade.
8. Sold Exclusively via Nexa retail chains having a long waiting period to acquire this beast.
9. MID shows lots of information and settings, will again have to refer the manual to know them all. Apple carplay works great but was not able to use it as I was carrying my android cell phone along.
Overall I was happy with the car. It ticks all of the right boxes for me. Hope to acquire it without changing my mind.
Now comes the most exciting part of my review Driving & Handling:
I haven't experienced long drives yet in my Baleno (planning one soon). Most of the time spent has been inside the city. The 1.2 L petrol engine is quite responsive. Since the car is still in the run-in period I keep her under 2000 rpm in all gears. So can't comment much on what it feels at higher rpms. The pickup is good and the engine feels peppy to drive in the city traffic. On highways, the car can easily cruise at 80kmph in the top gear and doesn't feel strained.
Gear shifting is good, sometimes it does feel a bit notchy but nothing worth complaining. The Clutch is light and is easy to use. Haven't felt any jerks or so while engaging/disengaging it.
As far as the handling goes, I think it performs well but I noticed while driving on certain points that the car was slowly moving off track without any steering input.
Also, I felt the suspension is a bit stiff and one can feel the undulations on the road. Both these things will be looked into once I spend a bit more time driving the car.
The EPAS makes using it a breeze in the city and during parking. On highways, the steering does get some weight. Since I had been experiencing Fiesta's hydraulic power steering all this time, the electrically assisted steering feels a bit disconnected initially. I felt the steering unit on the Baleno had better feedback than that on the Elite i20.
Brakes are performing well. I have been driving very carefully and have not yet faced any emergency braking situations but whenever I do, I hope the Baleno performs well here. At times, I hear a noise when the car is braked from speed. It churns out a good fuel efficiency of around 20.2kmpl in any driving conditions as far as i have experienced. Ground clearance hasn't been an issue it is good enough.
What's significant in the entire Baleno line-up, though, is that every variant comes standard with dual airbags, ABS and EBD as standard. I feel that Baleno isn't bad at anything, but not brilliant either. But overall it's a great package when compared to its rivals and is pocket-friendly deal too.
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