The ‘new-age’ Baleno arrives on SA shores, aiming to further bolster Suzuki SA’s record-breaking sales figures. It’s worth a look…

Suzuki Auto South Africa has been going from strength to strength, with the local arm of the Japanese manufacturer breaking its own sales records month on month. In May 2022, the automaker again achieved a record-breaking sales figure. In addition, the Swift was the best-selling passenger vehicle in SA in the fifth month of this year. 


There are several reasons for these accomplishments. The first is the firm’s approach to producing value-based motor vehicles that are generously equipped as standard, seemingly fun to drive and have low fuel usage.

Although having all of these attributes, the previous Baleno wasn’t one of the automaker’s best sellers locally. However, the “new-age” model has taken a step up. With the box-fresh Baleno, Suzuki SA aims to bolster its impressive month-to-month sales figure further. And it may well do so with the updated model.

Priced from R225 900, the local Baleno line-up comprises four derivatives, available with the option of two trim lines (entry-level GL and top-tier GLX) and transmissions (a five-speed manual and four-speed automatic). One engine option is employed across the range. We got acquainted with the thoroughly refreshed GLX-spec model in manual guise on the local launch. This variant will set you back R275 900. 


The Baleno now boasts Suzuki’s K15B engine, the same unit that powers the recently launched revised Starlet (read our launch review here). The 1.5-litre four-cylinder produces 77 kW and 138 Nm of torque. Although equipped with a new powertrain with the welcome addition of increased outputs, the Baleno felt mechanically familiar. 

The five-speed cog-swapper is as slick as before. Equipped with this transmission, the Baleno sips a claimed 5.4 L/100 km. We managed an average figure of 6.0 L/100 km on the launch route. However, we achieved a mere 4.4 L/100 km en route to the airport. However, we have to mention that the route comprises primarily national roads.

Still, it’s a commendable figure, resulting in nearly 20 km/litre. And we would argue that, with measured throttle inputs, matching Suzuki’s claimed figure is entirely possible. From experience, the company does seem to be conservative in their claimed fuel consumption figures. 


The steering feel is light, allowing for easy manoeuvrability in town. However, a tad more feedback would have been appreciated. Thanks to the supple suspension set-up, low NVH levels, and redesigned well-bolstered seats, the drive was comfortable. Dialling in the preferred driving position was a cinch, thanks to the GLX’s rake and reach-adjustable steering wheel.

The GLX is generously equipped as standard. Further included is a crisp 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, replete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and automatic climate control. Exclusive to the Suzuki is a configurable head-up display and 360-degree surround-view camera set-up. In terms of safety, the GLX ships with six airbags (as opposed to the two items found in the GL) and Isofix child-seat anchorages.

The most notable exterior enhancements are the redesigned LED headlamps, housing Baleno-specific daytime-running lights, and sharper taillamps. The GLX rides on 16-inch alloy wheels.

With the box-fresh Baleno, Suzuki SA aims to bolster its impressive month-to-month sales figure further. How many will the company sell? That remains to be seen.

However, it’s a fair bet that Suzuki will move more units off the showroom floors than before. In the market for a sub-R300k car with various convenience and safety features as standard, sufficiently spacious and low on fuel? The Baleno is worth a look.