Hatchback cars in India are immensely popular. Their popularity can be attributed primarily to their practicality, simplicity and value for money. But of late, feature-laden and powerful premium hatchbacks are getting a lot of slack in the market. One of the oldest contenders in this segment is Korean-marquee, Hyundai’s i20. In its latest generation, it is christened as the Elite i20 and comes with a boast-worthy equipment list and a modern European-inspired design. In an attempt to give its chief rival a fitting response, Maruti Suzuki resurrected their classic Baleno and gave it a brand-new life. This time it took birth as a contemporary premium hatchback and was all set to lock horns with the successful performing Elite i20. In this article, we’ll pitch both these highly sought-after cars against each other and find out which one reigns superior. So let’s commence with our Baleno vs i20 premium hatchback face-off.
|Sigma 1.2 Petrol||Rs.5.38 Lakhs|
|Delta 1.2 Petrol||Rs.6.00 Lakhs|
|Zeta 1.2 Petrol||Rs.6.68 Lakhs|
|Delta 1.2 Petrol Automatic||Rs.7.12 Lakhs|
|Alpha 1.2 Petrol||Rs.7.38 Lakhs|
|Zeta 1.2 Petrol Automatic||Rs.7.73 Lakhs|
|Alpha 1.2 Petrol Automatic||Rs.8.43 Lakhs|
|Sigma 1.3 Diesel||Rs.6.51 Lakhs|
|Delta 1.3 Diesel||Rs.7.17 Lakhs|
|Zeta 1.3 Diesel||Rs.7.78 Lakhs|
|Alpha 1.3 Diesel||Rs.8.50 Lakhs|
|Era 1.2 Petrol||Rs.5.41 Lakhs|
|Magna Executive 1.2 Petrol||Rs.6.00 Lakhs|
|Sportz 1.2 Petrol||Rs.6.65 Lakhs|
|Magna Executive 1.2 Petrol Automatic||Rs.7.05 Lakhs|
|Asta 1.2 Petrol||Rs.7.17 Lakhs|
|Asta 1.2 Petrol Dual Tone||Rs.7.42 Lakhs|
|Asta 1.2 Petrol Option||Rs.7.96 Lakhs|
|Asta 1.2 Petrol CVT||Rs.8.22 Lakhs|
|Era 1.4 Diesel||Rs.6.79 Lakhs|
|Magna Executive 1.4 Diesel||Rs.7.37 Lakhs|
|Sportz 1.4 Diesel||Rs.7.89 Lakhs|
|Asta 1.4 Diesel||Rs.8.42 Lakhs|
|Asta 1.4 Diesel Dual Tone||Rs.8.67 Lakhs|
|Asta 1.4 Diesel Option||Rs.9.21 Lakhs|
|Parameters||Maruti Suzuki Baleno||Hyundai Elite i20|
|Transmission||5-Speed Manual/CVT Auto||5-Speed Manual/ CVT|
|Fuel Tank||37 Litres||45 Litre|
|Mileage||21.4 Km/l||18.6 Km/l|
|Parameters||Maruti Suzuki Baleno||Hyundai Elite i20|
|Transmission||5-Speed Manual||6-Speed Manual|
|Fuel Tank||37 Litres||45 Litre|
|Mileage||27.39 kmpl||22.54 Km/l|
Both cars come with one primary engine variant each for petrol and diesel models respectively. The Maruti Suzuki Baleno gets a 1.2-litre petrol engine and their diesel models get the signature 1.3-litre DDiS 190 powerplant. The Hyundai Elite i20 also comes with a 1.2-litre petrol which measures up to an exact 1197cc as the Baleno. The diesel model, however, comes with a 1.4-litre engine which is bigger than the Baleno’s. Both cars get a 5-speed manual transmission mated to the petrol variants along with an automatic option as well. If the coincidences weren’t already enough, both cars use the same CVT mechanism on their automatic variants. Diesel variants are devoid of an automatic on both but the i20 gets a 6-speed manual, unlike the Baleno’s 5-speed.
On the petrol variants, both the i20 and Baleno are very evenly matched putting out almost identical power and torque figures. However, the Baleno is a good 200 kilos lighter than the Elite i20 across every variant. So, in terms of outright pep and punch, the Baleno is far ahead of the Elite i20 be it the city or the highway. But even here, the i20 takes the cake in terms of refinement. While the Baleno isn’t very bad in that department, it’s certainly not as good as the i20. As for the diesel variants, the roles are reversed. Here the i20’s 1.4-litre mill with its higher output emerges dominant by a good margin.
The Baleno’s diesel packs enough zest to get the job done in the City but lacks the outright overtaking power on the highways. The i20, on the other hand, has sufficient levels of torque to breezily perform overtaking manoeuvres on the highways. You won’t even have to downshift in most cases. Turbo lag is also very nicely controlled and is much less apparent than what the Baleno displays. A special mention has to be made to the absolutely superior levels of NVH and refinement on the diesel i20. It’s so smooth and silent you’ll have a very hard time concluding that you are sitting in a diesel-powered car. The Baleno with its significant lack of firewall and noise insulation is simply miles away in that department.
Both cars come with identical gearbox variations, manual and automatic for the petrol and only manual for the diesel. The Baleno has a very easy to use gearbox unit for both the petrol and diesel variants. Clutch effort is quite light and the gears have sure-slotted shifts which barely ever feel jerky. The i20’s clutch isn’t as light as the Baleno but isn’t unacceptably heavy either. The gears also shift with a similar response. In the diesel variants, the i20’s 6-speed unit performs much better which also has a major contribution towards the refinement.
Moving to the automatic versions, both cars use a similar CVT mechanism. As expected both cars are prone to the dreadful rubber band effect and lack the overtaking punch. Although in the city, both cars are really convenient to use. Again the Elite i20’s automatic gets an upper hand as it comes with a 6-slot manual mode as well. It works much better whenever you wish to make any overtaking manoeuvres. In fact, if you get used to the i20’s CVT, you will realize that it’s actually adequate enough despite the lack of power.
Also Read: Swift vs i20 Comparison
The latest generation Maruti Suzuki Baleno was launched on October 2015. In its top trim, the Baleno packs the following features:
We all know the classic 2000’s Baleno which wasn’t exactly the best looking car in the market. However, this resurrected Baleno looks nothing like the old one. For starters, the new Baleno is a hatchback and quite a gorgeous one too! The front of the car has a very contemporary design reminiscent of the previous generation Swift. Maruti has played a very smart game with the design and it is visible in certain areas like the chrome strip on the front grille which cohesively flows into the headlamp cluster.
From the sides, the Baleno has a lot of curves and creases going on with very prominent flared wheel arches. The best-looking section of the Baleno has to be the rear. Its designed in a very unique manner with bulge-out LED tail lamps and a nicely positioned chrome strip in the centre. The interiors aren’t anything out of the ordinary but fit with the current times. Cabin materials are of good quality and are all in all there is really nothing to complain about here.
The Elite i20 was launched in September 2013 and received a comprehensive facelift earlier this year. In its top trim, it boasts of the following features:
With its facelift, the Elite i20 is quite a stunning looking car as well. The LED DRLs and the projector headlamps give it a generous amount of flair. The KIA inspired front grille works effectively and is flanked by a network of character lines around the bumper. From the sides, the Elite i20 has definitive sharp creases with blacked-out pads on the bottom of the door. Just like the Baleno, the i20 also looks the best from the rear. A majority of this is courtesy the BMW X1 inspired LED wraparound tail lamps. The i20 also gets a dual tone paint scheme variant with a blacked out top section which makes the car look even better. Jump into the cabin and you are treated to typical top-quality Hyundai interiors. It’s highly plush and elegant and does make you feel quite special when you step in.
|Measurements||Maruti Suzuki Baleno||Hyundai Elite i20|
|Length||3995 mm||3985 mm|
|Width||1745 mm||1734 mm|
|Height||1510 mm||1505 mm|
|Wheelbase||2520 mm||2570 mm|
|Tyre Size||185/65 R15, 195/55 R16||195/55 R16|
|Ground Clearance||170 mm||170 mm|
|Boot Space||339 Litres||400 Litres|
|Weight||865 to 985 Kg||1066-1213 Kg|
In the dimensions round of our Baleno vs i20 comparison, the battle is pretty close. However, the Baleno emerges dominant overall. In terms of length, width and height, the Baleno is just marginally ahead than the i20 by a few millimetres. This translates to slightly higher interior room available for occupants in the Baleno. The i20 is significantly ahead on wheelbase compared to the Baleno which gives it better straight-line stability.
But this same attribute also gives it a larger turning radius which isn’t exactly an advantage for small cars. Hence this quality can’t exactly be classified as an advantage for the i20. After these aspects, the i20 wins in tyre size with the fatter 195 section rubber. Ground clearance is a draw since they are both precisely equal. The i20 again wins with the boot space with quite a big advantage. Lastly, the Baleno wins by a huge margin in terms of kerb weight being at least 200 kilos lighter than the i20 across trims.