Launched in late 2015 through carmaker’s NEXA showrooms, the Baleno was Maruti’s first offering in the premium hatchback segment. Even though it faces competition from newer rivals like the third-generation Hyundai i20 and the Tata Altroz, the Baleno remains a popular buy. In fact, it was the second-highest selling vehicle in India in 2020, and even the best-selling premium hatchback. The Baleno’s blend of feature-packed trims, great reliability, a spacious interior, and a worry-free after-sales experience makes it a no-brainer for many. Over time, Maruti’s premium hatchback has also become quite popular in the car modification circuit with aftermarket parts being easily available. Today, we have a modified Maruti Baleno that gets some performance upgrades that make this car a proper sleeper.
The modified Maruti Baleno you can see in the video above belongs to our video editor, Karan Mathur. It is a 2015 model in Delta trim. At first glance, it can be easy for one to not notice the raft of modifications this car has got. The exterior remains fairly stock, except for the lowered ride height and new 17-inch black multi-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in 215/45 low-profile rubber. The interior is a similar story as well, remaining entirely stock. However, it is this Baleno’s mechanical modifications that make it unique.
As mentioned above, this Maruti Baleno has a lowered ride height courtesy of new springs from Cobra. The front of the hatchback has been lowered by 35 mm while the rear is lowered by 30 mm. As a result, this Baleno rides much lower than the stock model, which, coupled with the low-profile tyres, gives it a much better stance. Of course, the stiffer springs also aid handling in a big way. The engine gets an ECU remap, a performance air filter, and a new 2.5-inch diameter free-flow exhaust with headers. Combined, the engine now makes 90 PS and 120 Nm of peak power and torque figures. To make sure this Baleno stops as well as it goes, the stock brakes have been replaced with a set of bigger ventilated discs paired with race-spec brake pads. The overall cost of the modifications done to this Baleno is around Rs 1.90 lakh. Though it may not look too different from the stock model, this Baleno will surprise you once the lights go green.
However, the modifications done to this Maruti Baleno have had some adverse effects as well. Firstly, the stiffer suspension means that ride quality is noticeably less comfortable than the stock model. While it does handle much better, it also means that you will feel all the bumps and imperfections of the road. The lowered ride height also means that this Baleno can easily scrape its belly if it comes across a large speed bump or pothole. Also, one of the biggest con of a performance-oriented modification like this is fuel efficiency. With all the changes to the engine, along with the itch to enjoy the aural pleasure from the free-flow exhaust, the economy has taken a hit with this Baleno now delivering around 12-13 kmpl. The loud exhaust also means that this car has become a cop magnet.
Summing it up, this modified Maruti Baleno makes incredible sense to those looking to inject some oomph into their otherwise just-about-sufficiently-powerful B2-hatchback. It also comes across as the perfect choice for those who couldn't buy the RS version while it was still available. However, as a daily runner, especially one that has to ferry around your kids or elderly parents, this car makes little sense. That said, these easy modifications are surely for you in case you want a decidedly quick (and loud) B2-segment hatchback while still benefitting from traits like those of easy maintenance, decent looks and decent fuel efficiency.