Toyota Glanza hybrid review: Is the disguised Baleno better or not?

The Toyota Glanza hybrid is one car which is hard to find faults with; perhaps just a bit more of creature comforts will have made it the go-to vehicle.

By:Published: March 5, 2020 3:36:07 PM

It was Auto Expo time. Desperation had crept in. I was away in Mumbai while the team back in Delhi had made arrangements for “their” transport to and fro from the expo. Various calls to manufacturers yielded no result and it was Toyota who came to the rescue. They had a Glanza to offer. Perfect for me. I hadn’t driven the vehicle and in fact, the BS6 Baleno too had eluded me. So, this was the right time. In between the expo chaos, I also managed to find out a bit more about the Glanza.

Design and interior

The Toyota Glanza looks exactly the same as the facelifted Maruti Suzuki Baleno. Yes, the Baleno has been around since ages but then the facelift gave it a shot in the arm. For sure. I quite like the white colour of the test Glanza. One common thing to Glanza variants is the 16-inch diamond-cut alloys. The projector headlights have a remarkably appreciative throw in the dark. There wasn’t a reverse camera available on this particular variant – G with ISG. I will explain about the ISG moniker later. The car’s cabin too had the same upholstery as the Baleno. In fact, the cabin begins to show its age pretty soon. The Baleno’s instrument console was quite the novelty on launch. However, precious little has been done to update it over the years. The instrument binnacle is clear and legible; so is the new infotainment system. The SmartPlay Studio system boasts Android Auto as well as Apple CarPlay connectivity. Mention must be made of the audio system as it is quite crisp. Space is similar to what you get in the Baleno and that isn’t a bad thing either.

Engine, transmission and efficiency

The star of the entire package though has to be that Maruti Suzuki engine. Strangely enough, you wouldn’t find any Suzuki or Toyota badging under the hood. This 4-cylinder engine is equipped with a mild hybrid system. There is an Integrated Starter Motor (explains the moniker) that sits on the floor, with the battery pack placed at the back. This ensures proper weight distribution as well. If you’ve just started the engine and driven for less than a kilometre, at a traffic signal, choosing neutral ensures that the vehicle shuts down. The moment you want to restart the car, just press the clutch and the engine comes back to life. This operation is so smooth that there are no shudders or vibrations every time the petrol motor switches on-off. Given that the engine is utter silent, more often than not, one will not realise that the vehicle has shut down.

This BS6 powertrain also makes more power but the same torque; 7hp over the standard 1.2 engine (83hp/113Nm). The Dualjet tech ensures supreme refinement on start-up and it is only after 100kmph that you hear the engine a bit. Speaking of which, progress is quite linear and there are no spikes or surges. What’s appreciable is that in addition to being smooth, the engine also is quite tractable. Doing fourth gear at 35kmph is a breeze for this motor and it picks pace from there. Additional torque stored in the battery while the engine is in motion is available at city speeds. This is partly the reason for the engine to be tractable. The engine doesn’t seem much rev-happy though and progress beyond 140kmph is slow. What’s noteworthy is that irritating Maruti 80kmph warning chime has been dubbed down here. The same applies to the continuous chime post 120kmph. This makes for a far less tiring experience overall if you plan on doing extended highway trips.

For the four days, I had the car with me, she returned well over 17kmpl. Even instant fuel efficiency never went below 15kmpl. This is downright due to the mild hybrid as well as start-stop function. The 5-speed gearbox is what someone will describe as “makkhan”. For the uninitiated, that’s butter smooth for you.

Ride quality and handling

The Toyota Glanza also has very good road manners including a pliant suspension and decent handling characteristics. The steering is typical Maruti – heavy. Visibility all around is good too though I missed a rearview camera on this particular test car. The test Glanza came with rear parking sensors that did their job well. While the ground clearance was sufficient, with a full complement of five passengers, the Glanza may hit a big speed breaker right in the middle. Twin airbags and ABS with EBD are part of the safety kit that comes with the Glanza.

Verdict

Now, the icing on the cake is the fact that the Toyota Glanza comes with three years or one lakh kilometre warranty. Compared with the Baleno, that’s one year and 60,000km more. One can also choose to extend this warranty by two more years or up to a total of 2.2 lakh kilometres. While I could have easily said about the Toyota service part here (a legend in itself), I won’t. This is because the Nexa service is nearly there, if not at par. Baleno buyers get a premium experience, something which the Glanza customers may not.

Did I mention that the Glanza is a whopping Rs 65,000 more affordable than the Maruti Suzuki Baleno in a similar spec? With this pricing, it is a no-brainer that the Toyota Glanza has an upmanship over the Baleno. I like the Glanza and do not see any reason why someone who needs petrol (efficient) hatchback shouldn’t consider this Toyota. There is also a CVT to suit your taste if a manual isn’t your thing.

Images by Ayush Arya

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