Most of us would agree that there are things we’d like Suzuki to continue doing in its own particular way and other areas in which it could afford to converge a bit more with accepted European convention.
Knowing how and where it must continue to be different will be key to expanding its foothold in the European market.
We expect Suzuki superminis to be light, for example. It’s something that has contributed to the dynamism, efficiency and all-round appeal of the current Swift and could do so again with the Baleno.
Because, built on a new platform made of higher-grade steels than its sister cars and requiring fewer reinforcements, this new five-door hatchback weighed just 920kg on our scales. And it didso in spite of dimensions that make it large by class standards: longer and wider than a Skoda Fabia, Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo and beaten for outward size only by the very biggest cars in the class.
But we don’t expect Suzuki to aim for styling allure inspired by the fashionable premium supermini set.
The Baleno’s appearance is a clear attempt at European design sophistication – and, at least in places, a misguided one.