Maruti Swift vs Maruti Baleno comparison: Sibling rivalry

    We pit Maruti’s new Swift against the hugely popular Baleno in a head-to-head comparison to find out which is better.

    Published on Jul 09, 2024 01:40:00 PM

    15,179 Views

    Model : Baleno
    Maruti introduced the fourth-generation Swift in May 2024 and in just two months, it secured the podium position (in terms of sales) twice — top and second spots. However, the updated model with added safety and premium features, has become pricier, ranging from Rs 6.49 to 9.44 lakh ex-showroom. This places it very close to its Nexa sibling, the Maruti Baleno, which is priced between Rs 6.66 lakh and Rs 9.83 lakh. The difference is just Rs 39,000 when comparing their top variants. For this reason, we decided to compare these two in their top-spec automatic variants to find out which one offers better value for your money.

    Maruti Swift vs Maruti Baleno: design and engineering

    The Swift’s unmistakable silhouette, clamshell-like bonnet and a distinctive body line which runs through its length, shape this new-generation’s character, as do the L-shaped LED headlamps and an oval front grille. In this company, the Swift certainly looks more youthful and in line with its exuberance. Maruti offers it with bright body colour options like the ‘Sizzling Red’ (worn by our test car). The Baleno, on the other hand, is available with more mature paint options.

    Both are based on the Heartect platform but the Baleno is wider and longer.

    Both cars are based on Maruti’s Heartect platform. However, the Baleno is shorter in height, but is longer and wider. Its horizontally-oriented head and tail lamps accentuate its width, while the larger 16-inch wheels complement its stance. Chrome garnishing on the grille and boot adds a touch of premiumness. 

    Specifications
    Swift ZXI+ AMTBaleno Alpha AMT
    Engine3 cyl, 1197cc, petrol4 cyl, 1197cc, petrol
    Power82hp at 5700rpm90hp at 6000rpm
    Torque112Nm at 4300rpm113Nm at 4400rpm
    Gearbox5-speed AMT5-speed AMT
    Length/Width/Height3860/1735/1520mm3990/1745/1500mm
    Wheelbase2450mm2520mm
    Boot space265 litres318 litres
    Tyre size185/65 R15195/55 R16
    Kerb weight925kg960kg
    Price (ex-showroom)Rs 9.44 lakhRs 9.83 lakh

    Maruti Swift vs Maruti Baleno: interiors

    The Swift's layered dashboard with a free-standing screen follows a design philosophy similar to the Baleno's. However, its dark-themed cabin lacks vibrancy that could have enhanced its perceived quality and youthful vibe. Both cars share several interior components, which are mostly hard plastic, which don’t feel very premium. Notably, the Swift’s flat-bottomed steering and superbly sculpted front seats feel very sporty. 

    Maruti Swift interior

    Swift's dark theme lacks vibrancy and some colour would have added to its youthful vibe.

    With the Baleno, the designers have been more adventurous by opting for a blue and black colour scheme. In comparison, it comes with ample padded components, including a front armrest which adds to the comfort. Additionally, the driver gets steering reach and rake adjustment, unlike the Swift which only offers rake adjustment, to fine tune the driving position.

    Headroom and seat comfort are similar in both cars. However, the Baleno's longer wheelbase and wider rear bench translate to more rear knee room and better shoulder room, accommodating a third passenger. Additionally, while both cars have three-point seatbelts for all rear passengers, only the Baleno offers three adjustable rear head restraints, whereas the Swift gets just two.

    Maruti Swift interior

    Baleno's interior feels more upmarket thanks to padded bits.

    The Baleno features a more voluminous 318-litre boot versus the Swift's 265 litres. Both cars come with 60:40 split rear seats for added flexibility. While their boot lips are high, the Swift's is lower, making it slightly easier to load and unload heavier cargo.

    Maruti Swift vs Maruti Baleno: equipment and safety

    A fully loaded Swift ZXI+ AMT costs Rs 9.44 lakh ex-showroom, while the top-spec Baleno Alpha AMT is priced just Rs 39,000 higher. But, the Baleno’s additional cost brings significant enhancements. It comes with a wider 195/55 tyres with 16-inch alloys, compared to the Swift’s 185/65 R15 tyres. The Baleno also includes tinted windows, a head-up display, front armrest, telescopic steering adjustment and a 360-degree camera — features absent in the Swift. Both models share common features such as auto LED headlamps, cruise control, climate control, a 9-inch touchscreen, wireless Android Auto and Apple Carplay, wireless charging, rear AC vents, six airbags, ESP and hill-start assist. The only feature that the Swift gets over the Baleno is the option of a dual paint colour scheme.

    Features
    Swift ZXI+ AMTBaleno Alpha AMT
    LED headlampsAutoAuto
    Alloy wheels15-inch16-inch
    Infotainment9-inch9-inch
    Apple CarPlay/ Android AutoWirelessWireless
    Wireless phone chargerYesYes
    Auto climate controlYesYes
    Cruise controlYesYes
    Rear wiper/washerYesYes
    Head-up displayNoYes
    Airbags66
    CameraRear360-degree
    Hill-hold assistYesYes
    ESPYesYes
    Security alarmYesYes

    Maruti Swift vs Maruti Baleno: performance

    The Swift's new 82hp three-cylinder petrol engine is less powerful than the Baleno's 90hp four-cylinder petrol engine. But we’re happy to report that the Swift's drivability doesn’t feel compromised. It feels adequately peppy in urban environment, and its 5-speed automated manual transmission (AMT) is well-tuned. In fact, the AMT in the Swift feels smoother and more intuitive compared to the Baleno's AMT unit.

    Maruti Swift interior

    Swift new Z-series engine is down by 1 cylinder and 8hp, compared to the Baleno's.

    However, if you demand more from this 1.2-litre engine, you're likely to be disappointed. Acceleration feels slow when driven with a heavy foot, and quick overtakes on the highway aren't as effortless as in the Baleno. To put it into perspective, Swift AMT takes 2.08 seconds and 1.73 seconds more than a Baleno AMT to accelerate from 20-80kph and 40-100kph respectively.

    Performance
    AccelerationSwift AMTBaleno AMT
    0-20kph1.54s1.85s
    0-40kph3.59s3.55s
    0-60kph7.38s6.95s
    0-80kph11.89s9.69s
    0-100kph17.28s15.38
    20-80kph (kickdown)9.50s7.42s
    40-100kph (kickdown)12.61s10.88s

    * Figures are not as per Autocar India test standards

    Despite its three-cylinder engine, vibrations in the Swift are well in check, and the engine is quite muted. Even at higher revs, the added sound insulation keeps the three cylinder thrum at bay. However, the Baleno’s four-cylinder engine provides an edge — not only does it sound more pleasing, but the cabin is also free from vibrations, which can be felt (at idle) in the Swift, especially if you're attentive.

    Both the Swift and the Baleno are equipped with an automatic engine stop-start system to keep fuel consumption in check, while idling. In our real-world range test, the Baleno AMT achieved 11.86kpl in the city and 17.21kpl on the highway. Although we haven't tested the Swift AMT yet, we anticipate it to be more fuel-efficient. The new generation engine’s claimed fuel efficiency is 25.75kpl in the Swift, higher than Baleno AMT’s 22.94kpl.

    Maruti Swift vs Maruti Baleno: ride and handling

    Maruti Swift interior

    Swift is more fun-to-drive thanks to its sharper handling and a better tuned AMT.

    Small tweaks to the fourth-gen Swift have enhanced its driving dynamics. The Swift feels chuckable and agile when you’re navigating through traffic or attacking corners on a winding road. And beside feeling sharper and pointier, its steering’s returnability (return to its original position after making a turn) feels more natural than the Baleno’s. What’s nice is that sporty handling doesn’t come at the cost of ride comfort; bump absorption as well as high speed stability are equally impressive. 

    That said, the Baleno’s softer suspension shines when it comes to low speed ride comfort. It is one of the nicest in its class, absorbing potholes and road imperfections in a very mature manner. But when you increase the pace, road shocks come through rather sharply and at high speeds, its ride feels relatively busier. 

    Maruti Swift vs Maruti Baleno: verdict

    In line with its youthful character, the Swift is more fun to drive with sharper handling and a better-tuned AMT. For some buyers, its taller fuel efficiency claim will be a big draw too. However, in all other aspects, the Baleno emerges as the superior choice. It offers better outright performance, a larger cabin and boot, more equipment, and an upmarket interior—all for just a Rs 39,000 premium over the top-spec Swift. Additionally, Nexa's premium sales and service outlets are likely to enhance the ownership experience. With these advantages, the Baleno clearly stands out as the better sibling.

    Also see:

    Maruti Swift vs Baleno comparison video

    2024 Maruti Suzuki Swift review

    Maruti Suzuki Baleno review

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