Launched just last year, the new Suzuki Baleno has been a big hit with those looking for performance and reliability combined with incredible value for money. Following in the footsteps of other popular Suzuki models such as the Swift, Vitara and S-Cross, the Baleno comes packed with features and new technology as well as Suzuki's new 1.0 Boosterjet engine. But how does it fare against some of its rivals? We decided to find out.

Suzuki Baleno 1.0 Boosterjet SZ5

Price: £13,249*

When you get behind the wheel of the new Baleno, one of the first things you notice is how much pace it has. And in the SZ5 models it’s all thanks to the new, powerful 1.0 Boosterjet turbo charged engine, which ensures maximum performance whilst maintaining fuel efficiency.

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The engine returns an impressive 62.7mpg on a combined cycle. This is practically equal with the Kia Rio, and far surpasses the capability of the Honda Jazz.


The Suzuki Baleno comes in a 5 door only guise, and has plenty of room on the inside combined with a 320L boot. This is fractionally less than both the Kia Rio and Honda Jazz, but when the rear seats are lowered, expands to 1085 making it an ideal car all the family's needs.


Packed with features to make your journey even more comfortable, the SZ5 Baleno comes with satellite navigation, climate control, bluetooth, DAB radio, Adaptive Cruise Control and a host of safety features such as Radar Brake Support, reversing camera and hill hold control (on the automatic). The Kia Rio also comes with an impressive list of of equipment, with the Honda Jazz at the bottom of the pecking order lacking both Climate Control and Sat Nav as standard.


What sets both the Baleno and Jazz apart from the Rio are the servicing intervals. You'll only need to visit the garage every 12,500 miles, whereas you'll be back every 10,000 miles in the Kia.

"The Suzuki Baleno is a bit of a hidden gem in the supermini class – especially fitted with this excellent 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine.
The Suzuki could be a great choice and capable of fulfilling all of your needs. It’s fun to drive, practical, comfortable and reasonably cheap to run. This SZ5 model comes loaded with standard equipment, too, and all for less than £14,000."

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Kia Rio 1.0 T-GDI 3

Price: £16,930

The Kia Rio 3 1.0 T-GDI is a generously-equipped, cheap-to run and a relatively spacious car. It's 7 year warranty appeals to buyers who appreciate the peace of mind that comes with it. However, both Honda and Suzuki have always been lauded for the reliability of their vehicles - so we don't anticipate you'd see many problems outside of their warranty periods.

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The Kia Rio does have an impressive engine when it comes to economy, with a combined MPG of 62.8, which is 0.1 higher than the Baleno, but significantly more than the Honda Jazz that sits at 56.5.


The Rio comes with a generous amount of equipment too, including Sat Nav, DAB radio and Bluetooth - but doesn't feature xenon headlights or keyless entry and start like the Baleno. It does, however have heated seats which both the Honda Jazz and Suzuki Baleno lack.


The Kia Rio also doesn't come with an automatic gearbox option, like the Baleno and Jazz.

"The Kia Rio is a good value, practical supermini with a great seven-year warranty, but it is far from perfect. As a tool for getting from A to B, it’ll do the job nicely. Yet in class of such broad and varied talent, the Rio is overwhelmed."

Autoexpress

Honda Jazz SE 1.3 i-VTEC

Price: £15,455

The Honda Jazz is now in its third iteration, being a popular car over the years with the older generation who've found it easy-to-access with a spacious cabin.

The Honda Jazz does indeed excel when it comes to space, beating both the Baleno and Rio in terms of boot size, however it falls short when it comes to its list of equipment and engine capability.

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In terms of miles per gallon, the 1.3 engine struggles to keep up with the efficient 1.0 engines featured in both the Baleno and Rio, returning just 56.5 to the Rio's 62.8 and Baleno's 62.7. It also lacks Climate Control and Sat Nav costs extra, both which come as standard on the Baleno and Rio. The Baleno beats it further with Xenon headlights and Keyless Entry and Start as standard.


There is an optional automatic gearbox in the Jazz like in the Baleno, something not available in the Kia Rio, but it does cost significantly more and given that the engine is the least efficient of the three cars, this may not be an appealing option for prospective buyers. The automatic gearbox also slows the already leisurely car down, meaning the Honda Jazz takes 12.2s to go from 0-60mph.

"The Honda Jazz has grown over the years, and the latest version is more practical and well equipped than ever. It’s not particularly fast and it’s not particularly cheap, but it drives in a civilised manner provided you avoid the CVT automatic gearbox option."

Autoexpress
SUZUKI BALENO 1.0 BOOSTERJET SZ5KIA RIO 1.0 T-GDI 3HONDA JAZZ SE 1.3 I-VTEC
On the road price£13,249£16,930£15,455
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel37 litres/foam45 litres/foam40 litres/repair kit
Boot capacity (seats up/down)320/1,085 litres325/980 litres354/1,314 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight950/480/1,000kg1,228/372/1,000kg1,066/473/1,000kg
Turning circle9.8 metres10.2 metres10.8 metres
Basic warranty (miles)3yrs (60,000)7yrs (100,000)3yrs (60,000)
Service intervals12,500 miles10,000 miles12,500 miles
0-60mph9.5s9.2s10.4s
Combined MPG62.762.856.5
Airbags/Isofix/i-Size/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/yes/no/yesSix/yes/no/yes/yesSix/yes/yes/yes/no
Auto box/stability/cruise control/Auto Emergency Brakingoptional/yes/yes/yesNo/yes/yes/yesoptional/yes/yes/restricted
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/no/noYes/artificial/yesA/C/no/no
Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go£485/yes/yes£485/no/no£500/no/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes£610/yes/yes/yes

SO WHO WINS?

Ok, so we're a little biased here - but we can honestly say that the Suzuki Baleno and Kia Rio did come close when you look at the specifications.

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However, when it comes to affordability both in terms of initial purchase price and running costs, the Suzuki Baleno wins outright. It's £3,681 cheaper than the Kia Rio to buy, running costs are low, and servicing costs very reasonable, plus its equipped with so many features - there's very little more you could want from a compact family car.


Want to read an independent review of the Baleno?
Click here to visit the Autoexpress website.




*Current price, including Suzuki's £1,750 discount available until 30th June 2017.