Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) is planning to introduce the Grand Vitara in the domestic market next month and it will help the brand enter a highly competitive segment led by Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, MG Astor, Nissan Kicks, and others. It will likely be followed by a crossover derived from Baleno known as the Baleno Cross (codenamed YTB).
The Baleno Cross has already been spotted testing quite a few times on public roads and is said to make its world premiere at the 2023 Auto Expo in January before going on sale. It will derive power from a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. The BoosterJet unit was previously found in the Baleno RS and it was discontinued ahead of the arrival of the BSVI norms.
The powertrain was only available in the Baleno RS in the brand’s domestic portfolio. It used to generate around 102 hp and 150 Nm and was linked with only a five-speed manual transmission. However, the engine could gain a mild-hybrid technology in the upcoming Baleno Cross while a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission.
In the low spec variants, the chances of the largest car producer in the country utilising a 1.2-litre DualJet Dual VVT mill found in the Baleno, Swift, Dzire and Wagon R or the 1.5-litre four-cylinder K15C mild-hybrid petrol engine already employed in the Ertiga, XL6 and Brezza are high. This will aid in the brand offering an expansive range with the Baleno Cross.
The Futuro-e concept will influence the design of the production Baleno Cross including the SUV coupe like roofline. The spy shots show the presence of a front fascia similar to the Baleno facelift and Grand Vitara as a split headlamp cluster with sharp LED DRLs and headlamps positioned below, an angular grille, wide air intake, etc can be clearly seen.
The Baleno Cross could be sold via the premium Nexa dealerships and it could take on Nissan Magnite, Renault Kiger and others in the sub-four-metre SUV space. The interior is expected to have several commonalities with the Baleno and Brezza as features such as a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system, HUD, a 360-degree camera, six airbags, and so on could be made available.