Maruti Suzuki will add yet another new model to its ever growing portfolio, with the new coupe-style cross-hatch based on the Baleno being the latest entrant. This new model, (internally known as Maruti YTB), has been spotted testing multiple times and a global debut is expected in January, most likely at the Auto Expo 2023 in New Delhi, ahead of a market launch in February 2023. However, we can confirm now that the new Baleno Cross will be powered by Maruti's 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine.
- Turbo petrol engine to make a comeback in Maruti's line-up
- Baleno Cross will go on sale in February 2023
- Was first previewed at Auto Expo 2020 as Futuro-e
Maruti Baleno Cross: Boosterjet makes a comeback
Maruti Suzuki’s first and only turbo-petrol engine, the 1.0-litre Boosterjet, made its debut in the first-gen Baleno in India in 2017. The engine was a sportier alternative to the standard engine line-up and was available only on the top-spec Baleno RS. Due to low sales and stricter BS6 emission norms, Maruti Suzuki decided to discontinue this engine option; being a volume player, upgrading the engine to meet BS6 norms just for the Baleno RS was not viable.
The 1.0-liter BoosterJet engine was available on the now discontinued Baleno RS in India.
Fast forward to 2023, the 1.0-litre BoosterJet engine will make a comeback in the new Baleno Cross. This engine will essentially be the same 998cc unit, but compliant with BS6 norms. In its BS4 avatar, it churned out 102 hp and 150Nm and was mated to only a five-speed manual gearbox. We expect a similar power output on the upcoming 1.0 Boosterjet that will see duty on the upcoming Maruti Baleno Cross, and the engine could get mild-hybrid tech. Automatic gearbox duties will most likely be performed by a six-speed torque convertor unit, which is also used in other Maruti products here.
Additionally, Maruti Suzuki will most likely offer a naturally aspirated petrol engine as well, which could either be the 1.2-litre DualJet seen on the Baleno, Swift, Dzire and the Wagon R or the bigger 1.5-litre DualJet with mild-hybrid tech seen on the Ertiga and XL6, and on the upcoming Grand Vitara. However, unlike the Grand Vitara and Jimny, Maruti will not offer the AllGrip AWD tech on the Baleno Cross.
Maruti Baleno Cross: design and features
If you think you’ve seen something similar in concept before, it's because the YTB was previewed two and a half years ago in concept form. The Baleno Cross will essentially be the production version of the Futuro-e concept shown at the 2020 Auto Expo in Delhi, and while it’s still under heavy camouflage, certain design elements are visible.
The crossover silhouette is the main commonality that remains, while many other details have evolved to match Suzuki’s newer SUV design language. At the front, you’ll see a lot that’s common with the new Grand Vitara, such as the split-headlamp set-up with slim LED daytime running lamps with the ‘three-block’ Nexa signature at the top of the bonnet, and LED headlamp elements lower down. Then there’s the grille, which appears to be of a similar inset mesh design, albeit with a more angular frame. This gives the nose a taller and more upright look, making it feel more overtly SUV-like than, say, the S-Cross.
The Baleno Cross will be smaller in size than the new Brezza, and it also appears to borrow a lot from the Baleno itself. Things like the rising waistline that has a prominent haunch over the rear wheels, the alloy wheel design itself, and the roof line that dips naturally towards the tailgate. In fact, the new Baleno’s curved rear glass area would make the perfect donor for a crossover. What has changed from the Baleno base, however, is a raised suspension and chunky wheel arches, which once again tie things back to the Futuro-e concept.
Maruti Baleno Cross: first cross hatch for the brand
The Baleno Cross will be a premium compact SUV for Maruti Suzuki and will be retailed via its Nexa outlets, similar to the standard Baleno. It will be the latest addition to the Nexa dealership after the market introduction of the Grand Vitara SUV sometime in September. While the Baleno Cross (YTB) compact SUV will go on sale by February next year, another interesting offering from Maruti's Nexa outlet will be the much awaited Jimny, which is also expected to launch next year.
Maruti Baleno Cross: rivals in India
The Baleno Cross will take on high riding hatchbacks as well as compact SUVs in the market, including the Honda WR-V, the Nissan Magnite, the Renault Kiger and also the Citroen C3 and the Tata Punch to some extent.
This news was published in the August 2022 issue of the Autocar India magazine. Click here to get your copy.
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