Living with a Suzuki Baleno – Report 28 of 42
Due to a range of different circumstances (excuses, mainly), Iain Robertson piled the miles onto his long-term test Suzuki Baleno during the month of January, which only served to support his contention that a 1.0-litre car provides more than merely adequate mobility.
Considering that my average monthly mileage has seldom exceeded 625 miles, knocking-on a tad more than 1,000 of them in a four weeks’ period could be described as ‘heavy usage’. I know it reads boringly but 28 months into the programme, Baleno remains a fascinating compact hatch that never fails to enthuse me with every outing.
However, I am sorely dismayed. Suzuki GB, in its wisdom (of which it probably has a few centilitres more than I possess), has determined that Baleno will not form part of its UK model line-up from around October this year. While such a marketing move may be expedient to SGB, it does make me wonder why on earth have I been extolling the month-by-month virtues of Baleno ownership so succinctly.
For sure, it cannot be a shortage of positive values that the Baleno has in abundance. It cannot be that its technology is ‘old skool’, because, apart from ‘lane discipline’ (which I loathe anyway) and ‘blind sport recognition’ (which is now part of Vitara’s armoury), it has everything else, from ‘distance cruise’ to ABS and stability control. Truly, it needs no more!
A more complete motoring package does not exist. Five doors. Huge occupant space. Punch a-plenty. Top-drawer frugality. Ace chassis dynamics. Consummate affordability. For what it’s worth, my suggestion to potential owners, whom have been reading my guff for the past couple of years, is buy, buy, buy! Of course, Baleno is not a ‘classic’ and I doubt that it would ever hold such hallowed status but as a measure of organically-styled automotive perfection, it has a heap of stuff going for it.
Baleno will not be replaced (well, not in the next few years anyway). Its annual sales of around 2,400 units, most of which seem to be in my locale, will be absorbed by different versions of both Ignis and Swift, which is not such a tedious penalty. In the meantime and for the next 15 months, my reportage will continue to extoll the virtues of Baleno…unless I can affect a Swift exit beforehand.
In the meantime, I continue to seek snowfall, in the hopes of proving the slippery road potential of the Bridgestone T005 tyres adorning my Suzuki. We have had some frosts but zero snow, or slush, which is sad, despite the fact that several parts of the country were seriously hampered. The car’s grip levels, even in minus-five degrees, remain strong. The covers continue to show minimal wear, although I shall take some measurements next month to see what the characteristics are. The car’s fuel economy remains on a peak, with 58.7mpg recorded overall thus far.
More on life with a Suzuki Baleno in a month’s time.
£193 month twenty-seven finance payment
16,864 miles on odometer
£21.60 in-car tidy
£112.60 door rubbing strips
£206.01 first service charge (£65 hourly labour rate); £196.10 for second service.
£200 for front bumper replacement
(£316 for four x Kumho WP51 Winter tyres, now stored in readiness for a third winter but replaced by a set of Bridgestone Turanza T005s – £288.96 + £33.98 fitting – for the current year)