With tightening emission norms in India and around the world, we will be seeing a lot of electric and electrified cars making their way into the market in the next few years. However, in India, we only have a handful of mainstream carmakers offering hybrid or full-electric vehicles in the market. Maruti Suzuki - India's largest carmaker - will also be looking at capitalizing on the electrification trend, and to that effect, a test mule of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno has been spotted doing rounds on our roads.
These new spy images suggest that a hybrid electric variant of the Maruti Baleno could be in the making. Details of the project are scarce at the moment but this isn't the first time a test mule of the speculated Baleno hybrid has been spotted testing on our roads. In fact, rumors about a Baleno hybrid have been doing rounds on the internet for quite some while, and such frequent sightings definitely hint at an imminent launch.
In these spy images, the test mule can be seen wearing testing equipment on each wheel, which are likely vehicle dynamics testing gear. What's more interesting to note is that this Baleno has a 'DDiS' badge on the sides, which means this is a BS4 diesel model, powered by the Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre Multijet unit. Or Maruti Suzuki's R&D team could just be using an older model for testing purposes. That said, the production-spec Baleno hybrid will be a petrol-powered model.
The Maruti Suzuki Baleno hybrid is expected to be powered by the same powertrain that's offered with the Swift hybrid sold overseas. In fact, the Swift hybrid was even showcased here in India at the 2020 Auto Expo. The powertrain consists of a 1.2L Dualjet petrol engine which comes paired with a 10 kW electric motor. The internal combustion engine produces 91hp and 118Nm of torque. Meanwhile, the electric motor further adds 13.5hp and 30Nm of torque. The power unit will likely come mated to a 5-speed AMT gearbox.
The Maruti Suzuki Baleno hybrid is even expected to feature a regenerative braking system that will help you recover some energy on the go. The Swift hybrid offers a claimed fuel economy of 32 kmpl. In a market like India, where buyers are obsessed with fuel economy figures, such numbers will be hugely appreciated. Moreover, with rising fuel prices and the need to switch to greener mobility options, the Baleno hybrid could very well pave the way for more mainstream hybrid vehicles from other carmakers.
[Image Source - IndianAuto.com]