2017 has been one of the busiest years for Maruti Suzuki so far. The much awaited performance oriented version of the Baleno, the Baleno RS, has hit the roads just a month back, and is creating a lot of buzz among the potential buyers. This RS badged hot hatch is a significant product from the house of the Indo-Japanese company for its own special reasons.
Prior to this launch, the year started off with the mega launch of the fresh and unique Ignis, which has already garnered a lot of fan following owing to its designing cues. Among the world of conventionally designed hatchbacks, the Ignis manages to stand out. Taking the segment seriously, Maruti Suzuki has gone a notch higher and designed a small car which looks absolutely funky.
The RS badged performance Baleno and the Ignis are both retailed from the Nexa outlets, Maruti Suzuki’s premium chain of dealerships for selective hot cars. Hence, it goes without saying, both of them stand head and shoulders at par with each other, which means a selection between the two is tougher than one could anticipate.
So, to help you get through this dilemma, and make your choice more accurate and precise, a comparison chart between the two siblings is here.
The Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS, by no means, looks like a rebellious or aggressive like we expect a performance oriented car to be. Instead, it carries the same premium crave-for design as the standard Baleno. Probably, you wouldn’t be able to spot the difference the Baleno and the Baleno RS in the first instance. A careful inspection will tell you that indeed, they are different, even if the margin is less is way too less.
The Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS is much more upright in the front section, with a curvier front bumper and slightly curved front lip spoilers. The rear section too, gets blacked out spoilers and look like a chunk of raw power.
The Maruti Suzuki Ignis is the latest tall boy from the Indo-Japanese car maker. It looks like a freshly accumulated car with bold exterior designing. The front portfolio makes it look like a big car with a muscular stance. The LED projector headlamps are surrounded by U-shaped LED DRLs. Get to the side section and you will see bulged wheel arches and a never-seen-before C-pillar design. The rear bumper gets a black plastic treatment and adds to the imposing aesthetic cues.
The interior dashboard structure of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS looks smart and urban. There is a semi-digital instrument cluster with a touchscreen infotainment system and centre AC vents, which are positioned like wings to the display. The buttons mounted on the steering and other bits here and there are of good quality. The rear row is quite spacious with ample legroom for taller passengers as well.
However, you might not like the interior settings in the Maruti Suzuki Ignis, even though it is as spacious as the Baleno RS. The interiors design is boxy and you might not consider it on the nicer part. The front section of the interiors is where we feel a slight letdown. The semi-digital instrument system is very detailed, but we don’t like how the things are set. The touchscreen display is not integrated on the dashboard and looks like a pop-out screen. However, it is not placed vertically on the centre and is moved a little to the left side. The squarish centre AC vent on the drive side appears to be placed in an improper place and tends to keeps blowing on the driver’s left hand on the steering.
Engine and transmission
The Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS has a new distinction to its credit. It debuts the company’s BoosterJet (turbocharged) petrol engine in India and is presently the most powerful car for Maruti Suzuki in India. The Baleno RS is fitted with a new 1.0-litre BoosterJet petrol engine which is enough to make a maxim power of 101 bhp at 5,500 revs per minute and a peak torque of 150 Nm at 1,700 – 4,500 revs per minute. However, keeping in interest of the purist car enthusiasts alive, the company had added a 5-speed manual transmission gearbox.
The Maruti Suzuki Ignis, on the other hand, gets the same set of engine that powers the standard Baleno. The 1.2-litre VVT petrol engine makes a highest power of 81 bhp at a maximum torque of 113 Nm. The diesel trim, as usual, is more torque-friendly and is capable of making a maximum power of 73 bhp and a peak torque of 190 Nm. This itself seems to be enough to add a decent grunt in the city as well as on the highway.
Interestingly, both the petrol and diesel variants are offered in 5-speed manual as well as an AMT gearbox, which gets the petrol trim more into the limelight.
The two siblings, the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS and the Ignis, are one of their kind and you cannot ignore that. But the chances for you to choose the Baleno RS is higher than Ignis. The reason being, although Ignis is fresh, muscular and funky, Baleno has a better overall design on any given day. In a quest of making a uniquely designed hot hatch, Maruti has designed a carved, pumped up and premium version of a box.
Moreover, the interiors of the Ignis might not please you as much as the RS would do. The finishing in the Ignis is exceptionally appreciated while the RS carries the much loved Baleno’s interiors.
And then comes the powerplant, another section where Baleno RS has taken over the Ignis in a clean sweep. However, the lack of an AMT gearbox may tend to hold back the RS a little. Plus, the Ignis is almost a couple of lakhs more affordable than the RS, which would mean that average first time buyers would prefer the Ignis for a start.