So you walk into an exclusive NEXA showroom by Maruti Suzuki with a plan and a budget to buy a hatchback. But as soon as you enter your confusion starts. You are offered two lovely cars, the Maruti Suzuki Baleno and the Maruti Suzuki Ignis (There is also the Baleno RS but I’ll leave that out for this discussion). What will you choose?
Both these cars started their journey together at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show as the iK-2 and the iM-4 concept. Later the concepts took the production form as the Baleno and the Ignis respectively.
While one looks bigger, the other one has a lower price. In terms of features, both come quite close. So which one should you buy, the Maruti Suzuki Baleno or the Maruti Suzuki Ignis? Should you follow your mind and buy the Ignis and save some money or should you listen to your heart and buy the more expensive Baleno which looks elegant.
So, some days back a friend got a Maruti Suzuki Ignis along and I thought it would be a great opportunity to compare it with my Maruti Suzuki Baleno 1.2 Alpha. The one I drove was a top-spec Alpha model but had the 1.3L DDiS diesel motor, so I’ll leave comparing the performance for some other day.
Maruti Baleno vs Ignis: Looks – Which is better?
The first thing that you come across both these cars is their looks. Both the Baleno and Ignis have a very distinct style. While the Baleno has the typical proportions of a sporty hatchback, the Ignis, on the other hand, is a cross between a tall-body hatchback and a mini SUV.
Now design is a subjective matter, while some may like the elegant and low slung look of the Baleno others might prefer the funky and eye catching exterior of the Ignis. Both cars look great in their own way. I feel Baleno gels with the rest of the traffic, especially the lower end models without those projector lamps sometimes gets lost in the crowd of so many Maruti Swifts running on our streets.
On the other hand, the Ignis stands out especially in its bright colours or with the two tone look. I think it would have looked much better if a little more thought was given to its rear end design.
Customers of the Maruti Suzuki Ignis also have options to personalise their car right out of the factory. Ignis owners can opt for different coloured outside rear view mirrors and roof graphics to make their car look unique.
Walk over to the inside and you will find that here also both cars have a distinctive look. While the Baleno has a very curvy looking and all-black interior, the Ignis, on the other hand, gets a dual tone treatment in shade of black and off-white. Additionally, the Ignis also gets some of the trims in the same shade as that of the body colour which enhances the look of the interior.
The dashboard of the Baleno looks clean and symmetrical while that of the Ignis is dominated by rectangular shapes. The integration of the infotainment system with the dashboard feels better in the Baleno. Adding a dose of freshness to the interiors of the Ignis are the new steering wheel design and toggle switches to control the automatic climate control system.
If we talk about numbers than the Baleno is longer and wider than the Ignis by 295 mm and 55 mm respectively. It also has an 85 mm longer wheelbase. However, the Ignis is around 85 mm higher than the Baleno and has 10 mm more ground clearance. But how do all these numbers affect in the real world? Let’s look at it in the next section.
Maruti Baleno vs Ignis: Comfort and Practicality:
Comfort in both cars is almost on par with each other. Yes, the Maruti Baleno is bigger and does feel so but 4 adults can sit quite comfortably in both the cars. It is when a 5th person is included you can feel the advantage of the width of the Baleno but that too is marginal.
In terms of driver’s seat both provide utmost comfort. While the Baleno has a lower sporty seating, the Ignis has a bit commanding position. This will be beneficial to first-time car buyers. Both cars do have height adjustable driver seats in the top Alpha model but raising the seat in the Baleno brings the inside rear view mirror (IRVM) in your field of vision and hence I prefer to keep the seat a bit lower while driving. In city driving, I would prefer the driving position of the Ignis as it gives you a nice view of the road ahead.
The front passenger seats on both the cars are almost similar. Coming to rear, you do feel the Baleno is bigger but the Ignis isn’t short on space as well. As said earlier 2 adults at the back seat will sit comfortably in both the cars. The longer wheelbase and the length help the Maruti Baleno to offer more legroom space. The extra width also provides a bit more shoulder room and hence the third person will be more comfortable seating in the Baleno than the Ignis.
The Maruti Suzuki Ignis on the other hand provides a better headroom. The Baleno has a sloping roof which reduces in height towards the rear. While this shouldn’t be much of a problem for many buyers, a taller person say above 6 feet in height might have his head brush against the roof inside the Baleno.
The Maruti Suzuki Ignis has an almost flat roof till the edge. This coupled with its tall-body design opens up the headroom at the rear. Taller guys will be much more comfortable in the rear seats of the Ignis for sure.
Talking about practicality, both cars have enough storage spaces inside the cabin. In terms of boot space, the Ignis offers 260 litres while the Baleno provides 339 litres which can gobble up enough baggage for a weekend vacation. Both cars get 60:40 split rear seats in case you want to carry more luggage. The boot space opening is a bit bigger and wider on the Ignis as compared to the Baleno and this should help while loading the luggage inside.
Maruti Baleno vs Maruti Ignis: Which has better features?
In terms of features the top-spec Alpha variant of both the Ignis and Baleno are almost similar. Some of the key features include Push Start/Stop system with Smart key, Automatic Climate control unit, Electronically Adjustable and Retractable Outside Rear View Mirrors (ORVM).
The Ignis comes with a Tilt steering which can be adjusted for height but the Baleno gets a tilt plus telescopic steering which allows adjusting the height as well as the reach.
The Smartplay on the Ignis and Baleno is similar but the unit on the Ignis is equipped with Android Auto which is really great as many customers (like me) use an Android based smartphone. Maruti Suzuki is said to be working on an update for the system on the Baleno and it will soon be provided with Android Auto connectivity as well.
Other features that are unique to the Baleno include a coloured Multi-Information Display (MID), UV-cut glass and Auto-Dimming Rear view mirror. Both cars also get projector headlamps with integrated day time running lights (DRL). While the unit on Baleno is powered by HID bulbs, the one on Ignis is fitted with LED bulbs which is a newer technology.
When it comes to safety features both hatchbacks have similar systems on board. They are equipped with Dual front airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Seat Belt Pre-Tensioners with Force Safe Limiters and ISOFIX child seat anchorages.
Maruti Baleno vs Maruti Ignis: Which one drives better?
Driving both cars back to back I feel the Ignis is a better city car compared to Baleno. The shorter wheelbase and the higher driving position make driving the Ignis more fun, especially in the bumper to bumper traffic. On highways, I would prefer the Baleno. It feels more planted and since it is lower in height the effect of cross winds would be less than that on the Maruti Ignis.
As I had mentioned earlier since both cars had different engines I wouldn’t be able to put up a proper performance review right now.
The Baleno comes with a 1.2L petrol or the 1.3L diesel engine. It is offered with a 5-speed manual for all engines and also comes with an option of a CVT system for the 1.2L petrol motor.
The Maruti Suzuki Ignis also gets the same engine options, the 1.2L petrol and 1.3L diesel. Both engines come with a choice of a 5-speed manual or Maruti’s Auto Gear Shift technology (AMT).
Maruti Baleno vs Ignis: Which one to buy?
Well, this one is more like a war between the mind and the heart. Also, each person will have a different requirement and theory of his/her own. You could get the Baleno and feel good about buying a bigger car with more features or you could get the Ignis and save some money.
If you are on a strict budget but still want all the bells and whistles then go for the Maruti Ignis. Also if you plan to get an automatic car with a diesel engine then the only option is to go for the Ignis as the Maruti Baleno doesn’t come in this configuration yet.
If you are looking out for a fully featured car and have the budget, then Maruti Suzuki Baleno has to be your pick. It is a great city as well as highway performer. It does look and feel big and has a bit more extra features compared to the Ignis but then it is expensive as well.
Finally, the choice is between satisfying your mind or the heart. If you are still confused just contact your nearest NEXA showroom and take a back to back test drive of both these cars. Have someone come along with you or take your entire family and spend some time with the cars. After all, it is your hard earned money that you are spending. You do not want regret later with your choice.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno vs Maruti Suzuki Ignis – Image Gallery:
Hope this comparison helped you in some way to arrive at a decision. Feel free to share your thoughts and in case you think I have missed out something, do point it out and I will try and update it.
Maruti Suzuki Ignis Brochure:
Maruti Suzuki Baleno Brochure: