Back in 2011, Volkswagen caused quite a stir-up in the market when they launched their most affordable car for India, the infamous Polo. 7 years down the line, the Polo has made quite a lot of enemies. The most recent competitor challenging its claim is the Maruti Suzuki Baleno. We all know the classic Baleno sedan which was a plain and humble family sedan. However, in its latest reincarnation, it has taken birth as a striking-looking hatchback which looks very eye-catchy. It also boasts of some generous kit on the inside which has been the Polo’s forte for a long time. In this article, we will be pitching both these cars head to head and comparing their intricate qualities. So let’s commence with our Polo vs Baleno hatchback face-off.
|Trendline 1.0 Petrol
|Comfortline 1.0 Petrol
|Highline Plus 1.0 Petrol
|GT TSI 1.2 Petrol
|Trendline 1.5 Diesel
|Comfortline 1.5 Diesel
|Highline Plus 1.5 Diesel
|GT TDI 1.5 Diesel
|Sigma 1.2 Petrol
|Delta 1.2 Petrol
|Zeta 1.2 Petrol
|Delta 1.2 Petrol Automatic
|Alpha 1.2 Petrol
|Zeta 1.2 Petrol Automatic
|Alpha 1.2 Petrol Automatic
|Sigma 1.3 Diesel
|Delta 1.3 Diesel
|Zeta 1.3 Diesel
|Alpha 1.3 Diesel
|Maruti Suzuki Baleno
|5-Speed Manual/ 7-Speed DSG Auto
|5-Speed Manual/CVT Auto
|18.78 kmpl/ 17.21 kmpl
|Maruti Suzuki Baleno
|20.14 kmpl/21.4 kmpl
The Maruti Suzuki Baleno comes with two different engines, a 1.2-litre petrol, and a 1.3-litre diesel. The diesel engine is their signature DDiS 190 engine which is used in several other Maruti Suzuki cars as well. The Volkswagen Polo, on the other hand, comes with a total of 4 engine options. It gets a standard 1.0-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel. Apart from that, there are also two high-performance GT model engines. The Polo GT comes with a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel both of which pack a lot of punch. As for the gearbox variants, both cars come with a conventional 5-speed manual. The Baleno gets a CVT type automatic while the Polo comes with a top-notch DSG automatic.
Following the industry’s trend of downsizing engines, the Volkswagen Polo lost both of its original 1.2 and 1.6 engines. It now comes with a much smaller 1.0-litre engine that prioritizes on fuel economy. The previous 1.2-litre Polo was already pretty lacklustre in terms of performance. With the downgrade to 1.0-litre , it’s become even more lacklustre. In comparison, the Baleno’s peppy 1.2-litre with its lighter kerb weight feels much more agile and punchy. The Polo GT, however, is in a totally different league of performance. The Baleno can’t even dream of coming close to the outright performance of the GT.
Moving to the Diesel variants, the Baleno is sufficiently equipped to handle city driving duties. On the highways, it’s only so-so. The Volkswagen Polo’s 1.5 diesel feels like a much more wholesome package in comparison. It packs more bhp than the Baleno but what really counts is the 40Nm torque advantage. Again the Polo GT Diesel shines even more with its 108bhp and stonking 250 Nm of torque. The acceleration simply plants a smile on your face once you get into the sweet spot.
Both the Baleno and the Polo come with a 5-speed manual transmission. The automatic mechanisms are however vastly different on both. The Polo gets Volkswagen’s sublime DSG gearbox while the Baleno comes with a more conventional CVT. Be it manual or automatic, the Polo’s gearbox is just supreme. The Baleno actually has a very decent manual mated to a lightweight clutch. However, the Volkswagen Polo is equipped with practically the best gearbox in the segment. German engineering is very difficult to match and it is very apparent in this case. As for the automatics, the Polo’s 7-Speed DSG is practically good enough to rival D-segment sedans. It is superior to the Baleno’s CVT by a really huge margin.
|Maruti Suzuki Baleno
|175/70 R14, 185/60 R15 195/55 R16
|185/65 R15, 195/55 R16
|1015 to 1273 kg
|865 to 985 Kg
In the dimensions round, this is going to be another case of one car dominating the other completely. Here, in this comparison, the Baleno is the dominant vehicle. In terms of outright space it is significantly ahead of the Polo with significantly more length, width and height. As for tyre size, both offer 185 and 195 section rubber as options. The base variants of the Polo sadly get thinner 175 section while the Baleno gets 185mm as the smallest size. The Polo is better on the wheelbase front where it is lesser than the Baleno by 50mm giving it more manoeuvrability. The Baleno wins in every other aspect with more ground clearance, a bigger boot and kerb weight. Even the heaviest Baleno is a good 50kg lighter than the lightest Polo.
The Volkswagen Polo was launched way back in 2011 but got a very recent facelift earlier this year. It boasts of the following equipment in its top trim:
The Polo has been in the market for quite a while now. 7 years ago it was indeed a revelation as it was a true German quality product which was affordably priced to suit a large audience. The current Polo retains most of the aesthetics as the original. The silhouette and the exterior detailing is almost entirely the same. Despite being 7 years old, the Polo still looks quite elegant on the road. The rock solid German build is still quite appreciable even after lacking the outright funky appeal of a lot of its competitors. Volkswagen has given the Polo a very thorough overall from the inside to keep pace with the competition. The interiors are absolutely top-notch balancing the right amount of sophistication with modern equipment. The interior quality is so good you will have a really hard time believing you’re sitting in a B-segment hatchback.
The brand new Baleno was launched on October 2015. It packs the following features in its top trim:
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The Baleno returns from its grave in a brand new reincarnation. The new Baleno is a hatchback unlike the original and quite a good looking one too! It boasts of some really contemporary styling with inspiration from the previous generation Swift in certain areas. Maruti has worked quite smartly with the design and has imparted the Baleno with some neat detailing. The Baleno oozes character when viewed from any angle. Cabin materials are of good quality and are all in all there is really nothing to complain about here. The interior layout is inspired by the Ciaz and looks quite good. It’s nothing out of the box but fits well with the other cars of today. Quality of materials used is also up to the mark.
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