Christina Ewbank is a well known business name in East Sussex as the CEO of Eastbourne Unltd Chamber of Commerce.
Add her background in the automotive industry and she was the natural choice to review the new Suzuki Baleno supermini for FOXY Lady Approved Eastbourne Motoring Centre, with women in mind.
In Christina’s words, this is how she got on…
Christina’s Suzuki Baleno test drive
I collected the Suzuki Baleno from Eastbourne Motoring Centre (EMC) on Saturday morning. With just 40 miles on the clock they’d supplied half a tank of fuel so I was quickly on my way.
Gone are the days when a small engine meant a fairly lacklustre driving performance. The Baleno has a turbocharged 1.0 litre engine which was nippy, fun to drive and highly fuel efficient. I was getting 56mpg in an automatic version of this car.
The Baleno’s driving performance
I found the Baleno’s engine very responsive and quick about town.
I then headed for the open road to try it on a dual carriageway. It was impressively smooth and quiet there as well and in no time at all it was up to speed. In fact I looked down to find I was (very close to) exceeding the national speed limit without realising this! So I quickly slowed down – I didn’t want to return the car with a speeding ticket!
My next job was to take it over some road bumps and check out the suspension. These are all too commonplace today but the challenging drain covers on the Pevensey Road by Asda were etched in my mind so that’s where we headed. I’m pleased to report that the car absorbed these bumps with ease, illustrating the comfort of the drive.
Although the car is front wheel drive it handles like a rear wheel drive. The turning circle is tight and it was such fun to drive. Having front wheel drive means it will handle well on snow but the addition of winter tyres will make it sure-footed and safer on icy roads.
Fitting winter tyres makes sense as it extends the life of your normal tyres and EMC will arrange the transfer for you in winter and spring. It’s a good excuse to get your car cleaned properly too, with their compliments!
Although I’m not overly technical I found the Baleno controls were very user friendly. The sat-nav was easy to use and I was able to stream music from my phone too.
I managed to use the voice control to make hands free calls (which could be very useful) and the touch controls on the steering wheel meant I didn’t need to take my eyes off the road.
The reversing camera was useful when parking and this is probably an essential new car feature for me in future.
Is the Baleno big enough?
A supermini needs to be a lot of things to get it right for a typical family. Is it big enough for the normal shopping run, a set of golf clubs perhaps or the equivalent of camping gear on an annual holiday I wondered.
So the fairest way for me to check this out, I decided, was to see if the Baleno was up to coping with a typical trip to the local dump! So I decided to dispose of a fridge I’ve been tripping over for a while. If that fitted in the boot, then so would most other challenges I felt.
But would my fridge fit into the Baleno?
I opened the rear and found split rear seats so I let one side down and lined the area. I also covered the bumper with an old blanket to avoid scratches.
The Baleno swallowed the fridge with ease and I could have carried two passengers safely too!
It’s like a cross between a hatchback and an estate – it’d equally well make an excellent family car as it would a company car for a business woman.
And, just for the record, the release button for the split rear seats was easy to find and use, so no broken nails this time!
Finally I looked at the finance offer for this car. You’d need a £1500 deposit, £179 per month and an optional final payment, making this a really affordable car I thought!
So, if you are thinking of a new car, be sure to try the Baleno out – you’ll love it.
About Eastbourne Motoring Centre
It would be remiss of me not to mention my treatment at EMC. As I got out of my car a passing member of staff smiled and said hello so I felt welcome before I even reached the showroom.
Once inside I was quickly greeted by a smiling Liam, a young salesman who was both helpful and friendly. Liam ran through the all important insurance documents, provided details about the car and showed me all the controls. He also paired my phone to the car via Bluetooth as I am about as technical as an apple but am used to today’s technology once it’s set up for me!
Returning the Baleno to the showroom after my test drive I met Ollie, the Sales Director, in the photograph. What a lovely man! He has a really friendly open smile and twinkling blue eyes. He’d also arranged to have my own car valeted with his compliments which was most unexpected but shows the typical level of customer service that EMC works hard to provide.
Finally, the coffee is well worth a mention too and everyone in the showroom made me feel welcome and comfortable. This is how it should be ladies and you’d do well popping in to see the Suzuki range for yourself, organising a test drive of your favourite and finding out about the wonderful FOXY Lady Drivers Club discounts.
The Final Verdict
Friends tell me that Suzuki is a really reliable brand and I can see they’ve won awards here too. With 3 years servicing included when you buy a Baleno (terms apply) I can thoroughly recommend this car, EMC and the FOXY Lady club offers of course.
Thank you for this Christina.
About Christina Ewbank
Christina Ewbank has run Mercedes dealerships in Chichester, Eastbourne and Brighton and was also Regional Manager for Lexus Northern Europe based in Brussels. She has brought this business expertise to her Chief Executive Officer role at Eastbourne unLtd Chamber of Commerce and is involved in promoting the local economy through ACES, the Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex.
The Baleno range starts from £13249 and Club members qualify for a saving of £1215.53 after 3 months membership. Other Suzuki models include the Celerio, Swift, Vitara and S-Cross.
Here’s the Suzuki new car range…
Here are the Suzuki dealers where you can test drive your favourite model and double check the best FOXY discount offer to suit you.
A footnote from FOXY
We knew that EMC would look after Christina but we weren’t sure how she’d rate the Baleno after years of driving Mercedes. So we were thrilled to see that she’d picked up on the very same selling points as we did.
Number one in our book is reliability, number two is affordability and coming in close third is the Baleno’s combination of practicality and performance on the road. It’s a fun, economical and environmentally friendly choice to add into the bargain.
To enjoy fabulous Suzuki affinity discounts, women drivers need to have been Club members for a minimum of three months, subject to terms and availability. If you aren’t a Club member yet, you can join The Club here.