Volkswagen Ameo vs Baleno Comparison Review

Published on: July 24, 2016
Maruti Suzuki Baleno vs VW Ameo Comparison Review:

"Baleno's famous, Fiat sourced, 1250cc, Multijet diesel, pales in comparison to Volkswagen's muscular, 1500cc, diesel powertrain. Baleno has quite a bit of turbo-lag, up to 2000 rpm, making it a bit irksome to drive in slow moving traffic. Ameo on the other hand has hardly any turbo-lag, and a punchy mid-range, making it perfect for highway duty"

Baleno vs Ameo Video Comparison:

Pricing & Features:
The top-end Ameo ‘Highline’ (petrol) costs 7.90 Lakh Rs. on road, Delhi, which is identical to the range-topping, Baleno 'Alpha' variant. Both cars have a few extra features that are absent in the other car, for example, the Ameo Highline has Cornering Lamps, Cooled Glove box, Remote Controlled Window Operation, Auto-up Anti Pinch Windows for passengers, Cruise Control and Rain Sensing Wipers, while the Baleno Alpha has Push Button Start & Smart Key, LED Daytime Running Lights, Projector Headlamps, Automatic Light Sensing Headlamps and Apple CarPlay. Overall, Ameo's unique features are a tad more useful than that of the Baleno's.

Pricing of other variants:
Ameo ‘Highline’ diesel-manual costs 9.9 Lakh Rs.
Baleno ‘Alpha’ diesel-manual costs 9.5 Lakh Rs.
Baleno 'Zeta CVT' petrol-automatic costs 8.3 Lakh Rs.
Ameo ‘Highline’ diesel-automatic costs 11.2 Lakh Rs.
on road, Delhi

Common Features: ABS, Airbags -2, Climate Control, Power Steering, Power Windows, Central Locking, Keyless Entry, Parking Sensors, Stereo: FM, USB, Aux + 4 Speakers, Steering Wheel Switches, Fog Lamps, Electrically Adjustable & Folding Mirrors, Rear Defogger, Alloy Wheels, Height Adjustable Driver’s Seat,  Parking Camera, Touch-screen, Driver's Auto-up Anti-pinch Window, Telescopic Steering Adjust, Auto Dimming inside Mirror

Extra Features in Ameo Highline: Cornering Lamps, Cooled Glove box, Remote Controlled Window Operation, Passenger's Auto-up Anti Pinch Windows, Cruise Control, Rain Sensing Wipers

Extra Features in Baleno Alpha: Push Button Start & Smart Key, LED Daytime Running Lights, Projector Headlamps, Automatic Light Sensing Headlamps, Apple CarPlay

Performance & Drivability:
The Baleno petrol is 35% more powerful and 25% more torquey, than the Ameo in terms of power-to-weight & torque-to-weight ratios. Performance wise, the Ameo is just no match to the Baleno. The Ameo's problem is that its engine, is just too small and underpowered to propel its hefty kerb weight. It runs out of breath, far too quickly on the highways, and overtaking fast moving traffic on the highways, is no less than a challenge. Ameo's only redeeming feature, is that it has decent drivability at city speeds. The Baleno on the other hand, has excellent mid-range punch, making it effortless, at pulling overtaking manoeuvres on the highway. The Ameo also falters in terms of refinement, with its 3-cylinder layout, making it quite vibey at low revs and increasingly raucous, as the revs rise. Baleno's K12 engine is a revelation, in comparison. It is smooth, silent and as rev happy as they come. But that's not all, the Baleno is also available with the state-of-the art CVT gearbox, which makes it incredibly fatigue free to drive, in city traffic.

Power (PS@rpm): Ameo – 75@5400, Baleno – 84.3@6000
Torque (Nm@rpm): Ameo - 110@3750, Baleno – 114@4000
Kerb Weight (kg): Ameo – 1060, Baleno – 875

Power to Weight Ratio (PS/ton): Ameo – 71, Baleno – 96 (difference 35%)
Torque to Weight Ratio (Nm/ton): Ameo – 104, Baleno – 131 (difference 26%)

Baleno's famous, Fiat sourced, 1250cc, Multijet diesel, pales in comparison to Volkswagen's muscular, 1500cc, diesel powertrain. Baleno has quite a bit of turbo-lag, up to 2000 rpm, making it a bit irksome to drive in slow moving traffic. Ameo on the other hand has hardly any turbo-lag, and a punchy mid-range, making it perfect for highway duty. Outright acceleration, is also blisteringly quick, even compared to the decently quick Baleno. However, the Baleno claws back some lost ground, thanks to slightly better sound deadening, compared to the Ameo's rather noisy, diesel mill.

Power (PS@rpm): Ameo – 110@4400, Baleno – 75@4000
Torque (Nm@rpm): Ameo - 230@1500-2500, Baleno – 190@2000
Kerb Weight (kg): Ameo – 1160, Baleno – 975

Power to Weight Ratio (PS/ton): Ameo – 91, Baleno – 77 (difference 18%)
Torque to Weight Ratio (Nm/ton): Ameo – 198, Baleno – 195

Fuel Efficiency: 
Petrol powered Baleno manual, as well as automatic, have an ARAI certified mileage of 21.4 kmpl, which is 3.6 kmpl more, than manual Ameo petrol's mileage, of 17.8 kmpl. In our real-world tests, the Balenos were almost 2 kmpl more efficient than the petrol Ameo. The Baleno diesel-manual, has an ARAI certified mileage of 27.4 kmpl, which is almost 5 kmpl more, than the diesel Ameo. However, in our back-to-back tests, the difference was just over 2 kmpl in favour of the Baleno.

ARAI Mileage (kmpl):
Baleno (petrol, manual) – 21.4, Baleno (petrol, automatic) – 21.4, Ameo (petrol, manual) – 17.83
Baleno (diesel, manual) – 27.4, Ameo (diesel, manual) – 21.29, Ameo (diesel, automatic) – 21.79

Fuel Cost for 75,000 km (in Lakh):
Baleno (petrol, manual) – 3.45, Baleno (petrol, automatic) – 3.45, Ameo (petrol, manual) – 3.85
Baleno (diesel, manual) – 2.30, Ameo (diesel, manual) – 2.75, Ameo (diesel, automatic) – 2.75

Space & Comfort:
The Baleno is currently the widest car in its segment, and is a good 70 mm wider than the Ameo. This gives it some much needed extra shoulder-room, which is sorely lacking in the Ameo. The Ameo's rear seat, is meant for only two occupants, while the Baleno, has a bit of space left over, even after packing-in three people, at the rear. The Ameo fights back, with a more luxurious and well appointed cabin. Surprisingly, in spite of being a so called 'sedan', the Ameo's boot is actually 10 litres smaller, than that of the 'hatchback' shaped Baleno.

Boot-space: Ameo – 330, Baleno – 339

Length (mm): Ameo – 3995, Baleno – 3990
Width (mm): Ameo – 1682, Baleno – 1745
Height (mm): Ameo – 1483, Baleno – 1500

Ride Quality & Handling:
First and foremost, the Baleno is better suited to India's infamous roads, than the Ameo. It has a usefully higher ground clearance, as well as slightly bigger wheels, making it far more adept, at tackling broken roads and potholes than the Ameo. Both cars have a slightly stiff ride quality, but Baleno's longer wheelbase, makes it a bit more pliant, over sharper bumps and ruts, than the Ameo. The Ameo has a slight edge over the Baleno around twisty roads. The Baleno itself has excellent handling manners, but is let down by an overtly light steering setup, especially when compared to Ameo's beautifully well-weighted, and feel-some steering rack.

Wheelbase: Ameo - 2469, Baleno - 2520

Ground Clearance (mm): Ameo – 165, Baleno – 180

Tyre Size:
Ameo – 175/70R14 (Trendline), 185/60R15 (Comfortline & Highline)
Baleno - 185/65R15 (Sigma & Delta), 195/65R16 (Zeta & Alpha)

Reliability and After Sales Service: 
One area, where Volkswagen has a long way to go, before it gets anywhere near the levels of Maruti-Suzuki is the Product Reliability and Service Support, in our country. Firstly, Volkswagen's record at product reliability in our country has been quite poor, which has been further tarnished, by the pathetic service support, extended by its unestablished and arrogant dealers. Volkswagen's service reach with its 120 odd outlets, is also quite limited to urban areas, compared to Maruti's 2000+ outlets that have reached each and every corner, of the country.

Resale after 5 to 7 years est. (Lakh):
The Baleno is bound to hold much better residual value than the Ameo, over an ownership period of 5 to 7 years, all thanks to Maruti's legendary record for reliability and after sales service, in our country.

Baleno Alpha (petrol, manual)4.50
Baleno Zeta CVT (petrol, automatic)4.60
Ameo Highline (petrol, manual)4.00

Baleno Alpha (diesel, manual)5.70
Ameo Highline (diesel, manual)5.35
Ameo Highline (diesel, automatic) 5.90

Total Cost of Ownership (in Lakh): (Vehicle Price + Fuel Cost – Resale Value)
Overall, the Baleno Alpha petrol, works out to be 90,000 Rs. cheaper than the corresponding Ameo Highline, while the Baleno Alpha diesel, works out to be a mammoth 1.2 Lakh Rs. cheaper than the Ameo Highline diesel, in terms of Overall Ownership Costs. Notably, even the automatic Baleno Zeta petrol, works out to be 60,000 Rs. cheaper than the manual geared Ameo petrol.

Baleno Alpha (petrol, manual)6.85
Baleno Zeta CVT (petrol, automatic)7.15
Ameo Highline (petrol, manual)7.75

Baleno Alpha (diesel, manual)6.10
Ameo Highline (diesel, manual)7.35
Ameo Highline (diesel, automatic)8.00

Fundamentally, the Ameo, especially the diesel version, is a technically superior automobile than the Baleno. It has ballistic performance, coupled with flawless handling and even decent fuel economy. It is truly a car tailored to the enthusiast's tastes. However, in the real world, in which the enthusiasts are a rare breed, it is comprehensively beaten by the Baleno. Ameo's biggest let down is Volkswagen's substandard record for reliability and After Sales Service in our Country. Not only does it scare the buyers away from its showrooms, it also affects the resale value of its cars, in a big way. Then there's the lack of practicality thanks to a cramped rear seat, low ground clearance and the gut-less petrol mill. This makes the Baleno, the deserving winner of our shootout.

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