What's it like to drive?
A zippy little city car can be lots of fun when done right, and the cheapest Baleno definitely qualifies on that score.
The trick to these cars is to keep things simple, but responsive. Nobody wants to be darting around city traffic in something that feels as lively as a wet tea towel, and while you could never accuse the little Baleno of being sporty, it does feel perky at slow speeds - which is actually more important in the city.
So that tiny engine delivers its power when you need it, pulling cleanly away from traffic lights all the way to about 30km/h. The power then Christopher-Skase-vanishes as you approach the speed limit, but by then you've mostly settled back into the flow of traffic.
It behaves exactly as you might expect a car at this price point to behave.
The ride is pretty good, too, erring on the soft side, so it's not sending every bump in the road rattling into the cabin too often, but feeling connected enough to the road below to ensure you know what's happening with the tyres. The cabin insulation could be better, though, as you do get plenty of noise from the outside world.
Downsides? Well, the four-speed gearbox is a bit of a letdown. It's plenty loud, making a harsh-sounding drone when you are too aggressive with the accelerator. And the steering, which works in the city, is confusing when you find yourself on a twisting road. It feels like it's winding on the lock in stages, so there can be plenty of little steering corrections when you're pushing it through corners.
In short, though, it behaves exactly as you might expect a car at this price point to behave, provided you spend most of your time in the city.