The Esteem/Baleno was initially available as a 3-door hatchback and 4-door sedan, with 1.3L (hatch only) and 1.6L engines, with power ranging between 85PS (63kW) and 99PS (73kW/97hp). In 1996, the lineup was extended with the Esteem Wagon (Baleno Break in most European markets and Baleno Altura in India), Suzuki's first station wagon, also with the same 1.6L, which also received optional 4WD in the two larger body variants.
Suzuki restyled the Esteem/Baleno in 1999. The car was given a new frontend, with a rounder grille and new headlights, and the engine lineup was expanded. Mazda supplied the 1.8L BP engine, that was fitted to the sedan and wagon. In North America, the Esteem 1.8 Station Wagon completely replaced the Esteem 1.6, but in most markets the 1.8 sedan became the sports model. In some European markets, the 1.8L I4 was installed in the hatchback and sold as the limited edition Baleno GTi. Europe also gained a Diesel version, with a 75PS (55kW) XUD engine supplied by Peugeot.
The Esteem/Baleno was replaced in most markets by the new Aerio/Liana. It was pulled from the market in Europe and North American in 2002, after one year of overlapping. The car remained available in many developing countries, including India and Southeast Asia, where it was sold until 2007, when production stopped at the Maruti factory, with the assembly line giving way to the SX4 Sedan.