Station wagon, a segment that is popular worldwide but never picked up in India. Comfort? Check! Space? Check! Power? Maybe! But still, very few people in India chose station wagons. We’ll discuss this on some other day. Today, we have with us a station wagon version of a sedan with the name that is being used by a hatchback today, Maruti Suzuki Baleno Altura. A hatch, a sedan and a wagon! Baleno is a versatile name indeed.
CSE – Maruti Suzuki Baleno Altura
No, I am not talking about Computer Science Engineering here. I am talking about Comfort, Space and Elegance that this station wagon offered.
Did someone say comfort?
Yes, I did. Maruti claimed that this car had an air conditioning system more effective than the Mercedes S-Class! That’s a bold claim. I did see one of these parked on the side of a road today, will surely try to get in touch with the owner and get this fact verified. How will you know? Simple, stay tuned!
Maruti Suzuki launched Baleno Altura back in 1999 when features like power windows and central locking were not a common sight. Altura offered them along with a plush and spacious interior. For a comfortable ride, Maruti added a McPherson strut suspension system at all corners.
Excess Baggage. What’s that?
Maruti had one phrase for those who owned Altura: ‘Excess baggage should not be your problem anymore. It had 340 litres of boot space to load all your baggage. It also had a compartment under the floor of the boot to help you keep small items. Great use of space indeed. Well done Maruti!
Maruti Suzuki Claims Baleno Altura Is An Attention Grabber!
That’s not what I say. But it did grab my attention while I was walking on the road. So, I will give this one to Maruti. From the front, it’s more or less the sedan counterpart. It’s the side when you see the extra ‘station wagon’ extension. The company also claimed that Altura is a dream car to a lot of people.
What’s under the hood though?
Altura came powered by a 1.6-litre 16-valve SOHC petrol engine which produced 94hp of power and a peak torque of 132Nm. It came mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The company claimed fuel mileage of 15kmpl, which was pretty decent for a station wagon. It could clock a 175kmph on the speedometer. How terrible it would be for a car driver to see a station wagon zooming past?
With great power comes greater responsibilities!
And that is the safety I am talking about. Safety was not a prime concern of many at that time. Still, Altura had a collapsible steering column, tubular side impact beams on all four doors, rear safety belts, rear window demister (A feature many cars even now are shy of), child locks at the rear doors and much more. Damn Maruti! A well thought car indeed!
Brand: Maruti! What comes with this brand name? Success!?!
Well, not always. Maruti Suzuki Baleno Altura, even though being from a brand that 9 out 10 Indian dads recommend, failed in the Indian market. People were never pleased by the wide and different looking bodies and often chose the sedan or hatchback counterparts of these station wagons. And this is how Altura became a car of the past that is now forgotten!
I will surely try to find the owner of the Altura that I found. i will ask him about the claims that the company made and verify whether they are just the claims or a reality. Till then, what you can do is follow me on the Instagram handle or if you are one of the professionals, we have a LinkedIn page too. Also, do let me know your thoughts on the station wagons in India in the comments section below.