Maruti Suzuki's first hot hatch, the Baleno RS will be launched in the Indian market on March 3, 2017. It was showcased at the 2016 Auto Expo and will primarily compete with cars like the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI and the Fiat Abarth Punto. However, the Baleno RS is likely to be priced around the Rs 8 lakh mark, which will make it almost a lakh cheaper than the Polo GT TSI (Rs 9.1 lakh) and two lakh cheaper than the Abarth Punto (Rs 10.33 lakh). Another hatchback which is priced in the same range as the Baleno RS is the Ford Figo 1.5D Titanium Plus (Rs 7.26 lakh). Although it's a diesel hatchback, its performance is quite impressive and is a fun-to-drive car. We compare the specifications of the upcoming hatchback with its primary rivals. Let's see how it fares against them.
In terms of dimensions, the Balneo RS is the longest (3995mm) and widest (1745mm) car here. While the Abarth Punto stands second in terms of length, the Polo GT TSI and Figo stand third and fourth, respectively. The Baleno RS also has the longest wheelbase (2520mm) and maximum boot space (339 litres) among the four cars. The Abarth Punto has the second-longest wheelbase (2510mm) while the Figo stands third with 2491mm. However, the Figo is the tallest car here with 1525mm height, followed by the Baleno RS (1510mm), Abarth Punto (1505mm) and the Polo GT TSI (1469mm). In terms of ground clearance, while the Figo has the highest (174mm) and the Abarth Punto the lowest (155mm), the Baleno RS and the Polo GT TSI have 170mm and 165mm ground clearance, respectively. Although on paper the Baleno is the most spacious car, it has less kerb weight compared to the Abarth Punto and the Polo GT TSI.
Among the four cars, the Abarth Punto – with a 1.4-litre T-Jet petrol engine which churns out 145PS of power and 212Nm of torque – has the most powerful engine. However, since the Figo is powered by a diesel engine, it has the highest torque of 215Nm among the four. The Polo GT TSI has a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine with power figures of 105PS/175Nm. The Baleno RS will be powered by the 1.0-Litre three-cylinder Boosterjet petrol engine which produces 100PS of power and 150Nm of torque – the lowest torque and power figure among the four. Although the Punto is the most expensive car here, it has a considerable amount of extra power than its rivals. Fiat claims that the Punto can reach from a standstill to 100kmph in 8.8 seconds.
All four cars have some distinguishing features. The Baleno RS is likely to be offered in the Alpha variant. It will have a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with support from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and will also be equipped with disc brakes on all wheels (also offered on Abarth Punto). While the Polo offers cruise controls and a cooled glove box, the Figo has six airbags, including side and curtain airbags. In terms of looks, the Punto does stand apart with the 16-inch alloy wheels and Abarth decals all over it, and it is also the only car to offer rear AC vents.
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