So, is the Baleno RS any good? Yes, it is. But is it a good buy is the big question? Well, it’s got two rivals here. The first is the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI, a car that I have loved driving around West and North India. Potent engine, super quick 7-speed DSG and ofcourse a comfortable ride. The TSI is about 40,000 more expensive than the Baleno and gives you an automatic and a bigger engine. But high maintenance costs and poor re-sale value will keep you away. If Volkswagen can get in a low cost manual and price the GT TSI M/T half a lakh less than the Baleno RS, they will leave Nexa salesmen scratching their heads.
The other option is the stunningly gorgeous Fiat Punto Abarth. It looks hot and drives equally well but costs Rs 1.3 lakh over the RS. Lots of power, but heavy, down on space and low on re-sale value. And did I mention the Baleno RS is the most fuel efficient of the lot, as much as 30% more than the Punto Abarth.
At Rs 8.69 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, the Baleno RS may seem expensive over the normal Baleno. But factor in the Nexa experience, high resale value, all that space and comfort and this car makes sense. It will not sell like hot cakes but will surely create its own little niche. And if the response is good, Maruti might end up assembling the engine here in India, thereby cutting down costs substantially. Now that would be RS (Really Something!)