1997 Suzuki Baleno Pictures
1997 Suzuki Baleno specs: mpg, towing capacity, size, photos
The Suzuki Esteem is an export nameplate for the Suzuki Cultus Crescent -- also marketed in Europe and many Asian countries as the Suzuki Baleno — manufactured by Suzuki Motor Corporation. In India, it was manufactured by Maruti Suzuki and sold as the Maruti Baleno.
The Esteem was introduced in the global market in 1995 as Suzuki's first attempt in the compact segment, at the time dominated by European cars such as the Volkswagen Bora/ Jetta and Opel Astra, and Japanese models such as the Nissan Sunny/ Sentra and Toyota Corolla. As a North American replacement for the Suzuki Swift sedan (the 3-door hatchback remained after it was redesigned in 1995), it was built on a slightly stretched Suzuki Cultus platform for improved cabin room, but otherwise sharing most of internal components with the smaller model — and marketed as a distinct model.
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.
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