The Baleno top end version comes with keyless entry and start-stop which means you can enter the car by pressing the black button on the door handle while the key is in your pocket. The Swift suffered from lack of space on the inside but the Baleno has surprised everyone. It offers more space than the Elite i20 and its easy to seat five adults in comfort. It also offers 339 litres of boot space which is way more than that of the Swift but more on that later. However, due to the a low roof (the Baleno is the lowest car in the segment) headroom is limited especially at the rear.
The Baleno has an all-black theme on the inside, broken well by clever usage of silver and chrome inserts. That said, quality of materails isnt a match for the Elite i20 which feels 'richer' on the inside. From the driver's seat, what catches your fancy is the speedometer console - definately the most funkiest of all the premium hatchbacks. But it is functional as well - it shows the power and torque curves, average and instantenous fuel economies, tank range, driving time and outside temperature. The steering wheel looks good and feels great to hold and gets controls for audio system and voice commands. The wheel does not get thumb contours but we like the little detailing in the form of chrome inserts at 3,6 and 9pm slots. Neat. And the steering has both tilt and telescopic adjustment.
On the right of the steering is the start/stop button and a small place to keep your wallet. You also notice the provision for accessory buttons under the start/stop button - we guess the international version has this area very busy.
The top end model gets your attention thanks to the segment first Apple CarPlay system which is similar to the one seen in other cars like the S-Cross. This is a 7" touchscreen system that lets the user pair his iPhone with the system - the screen also doubles up as a rear camera and has navigation as well.
The climate control sits below the infotainment system and has a sharp sloping desing with controls finished in silver. The Aux-in and USB ports are located in front of the gear lever and so is the charging outlet. There are two compartments under this for knick knacks and your cups or mobiles.
In terms of storage places, you can place one litre bottles in the doors, there is a front arm-rest with storage space and a glovebox that is not cooled like the one found in the i20.
The Baleno has impressive rear seat space, so much so that it is easy to seat five adults. There are no rear ac vents or an arm-rest but the car impresses us with its massive boot. Rear passengers also get a charging outlet which is located at the back side of the front arm-rest console. There is also a place to keep your mobile phone while its been charged. The rear windows also roll dowm completely which will be a hit with Indian families. Now while the rear bench gets a 60:40 split, it does not fold flat complately.