The first official pictures of the all-new Suzuki Baleno SUV Crossover have been released ahead of the public unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. The five-door hatchback is set to be slightly larger and more practical than the Suzuki Swift.
The Baleno, which will be sold alongside the Swift is the production version of the Suzuki iK-2 Concept vehicle, which was shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
Suzuki says the Baleno “harmoniously combines stylish design, a spacious interior and new technologies”.
Among the Suzuki Baleno’s engines will be an all-new 1.0-litre petrol engine dubbed BOOSTERJET. This turbocharged engine will “save fuel while delivering driving pleasure”.
Suzuki says its engineers have worked to reduce the Baleno’s weight, which raises hopes of an even more efficient model in the future.
The Baleno is likely to share the dimensions of the iK-2 Concept, making it slightly larger than the Swift. That means the Baleno is likely to provide more legroom than the Swift and a boot larger than that model’s 211 litres.
While the Baleno is a production model, Mazda, which already has a growing crossover range, will be debuting a new concept car called the Koeru, which will be based on a similar chassis and engine.
‘Koeru’ means to exceed or to go beyond in Japanese and the car’s aim is to push expectations in terms of what’s possible in terms of styling and emotion in what is, let’s face it, a highly competitive segment.
Mazda promises that the concept will “raise the bar” for performance, efficiency and value and that it will follow the design principles of its current production cars and make use of the same weight-saving technologies and powerplant efficiencies.
All of which suggests that the Koeru is almost certainly heading for production.
SUVs and crossovers are currently dominating new vehicle sales and, according to Oliver Mitchell, whose company, Wildcat Automotive, specializes in building bespoke off-roaders and customizing Land Rovers, it’s simply a question of practicality: “These vehicles are ideal for families as they provide the space required as well as the relative compactness and fuel economy for everyday usage, so they tick many boxes for the end user.”
However, the reason why it feels like the cars are part of an invasion is simply down to time.
“SUVs and Crossovers are a fairly new phenomenon. SUVs’ popularity have grown increasingly year-on-year and show steeper growth curve due to them being introduced relatively late in automotive terms,” he says.
The All-new Suzuki Baleno will go on sale in the UK early next summer, with prices likely starting at around £9,000. The Frankfurt Motor Show opens its doors to the public on September 17.