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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Suzuki and Toyota partnership set to expand with Taigo rival

Pair of models will use Suzuki hardware, but as with the Starlet/Baleno and Urban Cruiser/Vitara Brezza, differ from each other outside and subtly inside.

The current partnership between Toyota and Suzuki’s Maruti division in India is reportedly expected to spawn another model that would take the total tally to six.

With the exception of the Swace and Across based on the Corolla Touring Sports and RAV4 that are both reserved for Europe, all of the other models are assembled in India and exported to amongst other markets, including South Africa.

Magnificent seven

At present, this includes the Starlet based on the Baleno, the Urban Cruiser derived from the Vitara Brezza, the Rumion spun-off of the Ertiga and in some Asian markets, the Belta that uses the Ciaz as donor model.

More recently, both brands unveiled an upmarket crossover, Toyota will market as the Urban Cruiser Hyryder and Suzuki as the revived Grand Vitara that will be coming to South Africa early next year.

While based on Suzuki’s C-platform, both above mentioned models will be assembled by Toyota at its Bidadi Plant and feature a mix of hybrid focused powertrains developed by each other.

According to the most recent development though, both automakers will enter the compact coupe-like crossover segment with what is believed to be called the Baleno Cross and, according to a patent document uncovered by gaadiwaadi.com and cars.co.za, the Taisor.

ALSO READ: Suzuki not at pains with Toyota over model “controversy”

What to expect

Currently known under the internal Suzuki moniker YTB, both have been spotted testing India with the newest report by gaadiwaadi.com alleging a possible debut of the Maruti version at the Delhi Auto Expo in January next year.

As per its name, the Baleno Cross, and also the Taisor, will make use of the Heartect platform that underpins the Baleno and Starlet, known as the Glanza in India, and differ subtly outside as well as inside.

Reportedly set to slot-in above the Urban Cruiser and the new Brezza, which does without the Vitara prefix, the Baleno Cross and Taisor will conform to India’s sub-four-metre regulations and based on Gaadiwaadi’s claims, derive motivation from the 1.2-litre DualJet petrol engine the Baleno and Glanza come standard with in India.

Rumoured though is Suzuki’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder Boosterjet turbo-petrol that will take direct aim at the 1.0 TSI mill Volkswagen uses in the Taigo, and the normally aspirated 1.5-litre petrol availed to the South African-spec Baleno and Starlet.

Mentioned transmissions, depending on the engine, is a five-speed manual, a four-speed automatic, a five-speed automated manual (AMT) and CVT. Drive will be transferred to the front wheels only though.

Expect more details in the form of leaks and official material from Toyota and Suzuki to emerge over the coming weeks heading up to the reported unveilings next year.

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Suzuki Suzuki Baleno Toyota Toyota Starlet

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