When Maruti Suzuki first introduced the 1.0L 3-cylinder Turbocharged engine entitled Boosterjet with the Baleno RS back in 2017 beside the Polo GT TSI and the Abarth Punto, we got the perfect budget hot hatch trio. Still, due to its more Baleno looking design and less marketing, it didn’t capture much attention of the customers, but in 2019 Maruti Suzuki also launched a face-lifted Baleno RS with a more flashy aggressive front bumper and some changes from the Baleno facelift, still, it didn’t come under the customer’s radar, and in 2020 Maruti Suzuki completely pulled the plug on one of the most underrated Indian hot hatch the Baleno RS.
But at the 2023 Auto Expo Maruti Suzuki brought the 1.0L Boosterjet engine back with a crossoverish SUV looking version of the Baleno called the Fronx, based on the same Baleno’s Hard Tech platform and the 1.0L 3-cylinder Boosterjet under the hood engine produces 100hp @5500rpm and 150Nm of peak torque between 2000-4500rpm, when it used to come with the Baleno RS it was only mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, but now you get an option of a 6-speed torque convertor automatic transmission as well with that engine in Fronx, borrowed from the Brezza, Fronx will also get the Baleno’s 1.2L naturally aspirated 4 cylinder engine, that puts out 88hp @6000rpm and 113Nm of peak torque @4400rpm mated to a 5-speed manual or a 5-speed AMT transmission.
From the side, it has the same silhouette as the Baleno with a sloping roofline at the C-pillar, but when seen from the front it looks like a mini Grans Vitara, because of the split headlamp setup almost similar to the Grand Vitara and that big front grill with an extended front rugged bumper to give the Fronx a proper SUV look from the front, from the side it also gets new 16” diamond cut alloys, which looks proportionate, claddings on the skirts to make it look muscular, from the rear you get connected LED headlamps, which looks more appealing than the traditional ones on the Baleno, rugged rear bumper and overall rear facia also looks more macho to give the Fronx more SUV like stance from the rear.
The only main changes are the new dual-tone theme of the interior and newly designed dashboard, as compared to the Baleno’s interior, rest is all similar to what Maruti Suzuki offers with Baleno, like 2 analog dials with MID in between as an instrument cluster for the driver and a 9” touch screen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple Car Play, wireless charging, leatherette steering wheel with media controls and cruise control buttons and with tilt and telescopic adjust, automatic climate control and rear AC vents.
In terms of safety, Maruti Suzuki offers 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, a heads-up display that shows speed, navigation, music volume and more and a 360-degree parking camera.
Maruti is going to officially launch the Fronx between May and June, the expected price will be around ₹4.5 – ₹10 Lakh and the main rivals of the Fronx will be the Tata Punch, Renault Kiger and the Nissan Magnite.