LONG-TERM UPDATE 5 | How much it costs to run a Suzuki Baleno

23 May 2024 - 16:58
By Brenwin Naidu
Our Baleno is covered in a fine layer of autumn dust.
Image: Brenwin Naidu Our Baleno is covered in a fine layer of autumn dust.

Our three-month extended test with the Suzuki Baleno is drawing to an end.

During our time with the humble Japanese hatchback it has made a positive impression as a sensible, affordable daily commuter.

In previous missives we addressed its balloon-hauling abilities, bounty of features including some items usually expected in high-end cars and fuel-sipping nature.

This month we thought it prudent to take stock of the running costs of the model.

Let us start with the basic instalment. After a May price increase the new list price on the 1.5 GLX manual model we are testing is R307,900 — R8,000 more than before.

Seasons change but a thrifty hatchback never goes out of fashion.
Image: Brenwin Naidu Seasons change but a thrifty hatchback never goes out of fashion.

A bit less than the average vehicle finance amount taken by car shoppers in the country: R396,000 according to the TransUnion Vehicle Price Index for Q4 of 2023. The least expensive Baleno is still the 1.5 GL for R255,900.

Say you financed the GLX over 54 months with a 10% deposit (R30,790); secured an interest rate of prime +1 (12.75%) and decided against a balloon payment. You would be looking at a monthly instalment of R6,770.

A full tank of fuel? At the inland price for 95 unleaded (now R25.15) you would pay R930.55 to replenish the 37l tank. Expect a driving range of about 685km, going by the claimed consumption of 5.4l/100km, and as we have learnt, you can match or even best this figure in reality.

Now for insurance. This is going to differ between individuals. I opted for quotations on Hippo using my own parameters — being 31 years of age, having had a driver’s licence since 2011, an insurance history over seven years and no claims in the past three years. Based on the vehicle being parked in an access-controlled complex, in my area, west of Johannesburg, the least expensive premium quoted was R998 per month (R6,500 excess — King Price) and the most expensive was R2,794 (R6,000 excess — Absa).

Interior has become a place of familiarity and comfort.
Image: Brenwin Naidu Interior has become a place of familiarity and comfort.

With the repayment, insurance premium and one tank of fuel a month you could pay R8,698.55 to have a Baleno 1.5 GLX manual in your life.

Time to talk about basic upkeep. The Baleno rolls on 195/55/16 tyres; our unit came fitted from the factory with Goodyear Triplemax 2 tyres.

Using the Tyremart online quotation generator, there were no units of the Goodyear Triplemax 2 in stock. However, we received a quote of R7,954 for a set of Bridgestone Turanza 005 tyres. On the medium end, a set of Firestone F100 tyres came in at R6,558.28, while the cheapest was a set of Royal Black Royal Mile tyres for R4,245.24 — all prices exclude fitment. On the servicing front, the Baleno is sold with a four-year/60,000km plan. The first service out of plan is an oil and filter change. We called a Suzuki dealership who quoted us R2,200 for that.

The next service at 90,000km (15,000km intervals) would be a major one, with oil, filters, coolant, gearbox oil, spark plugs and a cambelt change — you could pay about R5,500. A set of front pads, discs and shoes for the rear drums might set you back R8,556.47.

The activity was a good reminder that you should do your sums and research when it comes to decisions about car ownership.

LONG-TERM UPDATE 5 | 2024 Suzuki Baleno 1.5 GLX manual



PRAISES: One of the most cost-effective new cars available.

GRIPES: Small sun visors revealed to be ineffective at shielding from afternoon freeway rays.