Published On: 16 Jun 2022Categories: Videos

Brace yerselves… William’s turn – is this the new Conquest for the 2020’s?

The new legend?

Are we sitting on the cusp? Is this one of those moments that comes about rarely, but with unassumed expectations of greatness?

We could be.

But why? I mean it is just a Baleno, right?

Well you see the problem here is that no, it isn’t.

If we’re to put some dirt on the shovel and call it what it REALLY is, in my mind anyway, this Baleno spade is the replacement to the legend that is the Conquest. Its an affordable 4 door hatchback sharing a ton of its DNA with the Toyota Starlet. This is no coincidence, this marriage of convenience between the two brands.

The Baleno comes with a 1.5l normally aspirated engine (77kW, 138Nm in 920kg of car) mated to either a 4 speed auto or, in my opinion, a more palatable 5 speed manual. You get two trim specs – either GL or GLX.

Pricing starts at R225k for the 5 speed manual GL, R245k for the GL auto, R275k for the GLX manual and finally R295k for the GLX auto. The one to have is the R275k GLX manual because for the extra cash you get a heads up display, 360 degree camera, 9” infotainment as opposed to the 7” but the 9” is just so much better(!).

Additionally the GLX has extra vehicle alerts, additional airbags and creature features of additional lighting and an 4.2” customisable digital display detail on the dash. Keyless entry and an auto dimmable rear view mirror finish it off neatly.

Both have AAACP (Android/Apple) and rear view cameras. The boot is human sized at 314 litres and it will take 4 adults in surprising comfort which is more than perhaps the Conquest might have been able to claim without blushing a little. Of course 60/40 split folding seats take load space to over 1,000 litres should you need it.

And there you have it. It may be a little soon to claim victory for the hatchback in surviving the onslaught of the entry level cross over SUVs in the SA market but the Baleno is not trying to be anything other than what it is. There are still patently excellent reasons to own a hatchback in SA and the Baleno ticks every single box on the list.

All that is missing is a two litre twin turbo version kitted with the biggest dump valve known to man. If Suzuki sell enough of these, and there is no reason to suspect that they won’t, we might even just get one of those too.

The King is dead. Long live the King!

William Kelly


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