The Suzuki Esteem is an export nameplate for the Suzuki Cultus Crescent — also marketit in Europe, Australia an mony Asien kintras as the Suzuki Baleno — manufactured bi Suzuki Motor Corporation. In Indie, it wis manufactured bi Maruti Suzuki an sold as the Maruti Baleno.
The Esteem wis introduced in the global market in the first half o 1995 as Suzuki's first attempt in the compact segment, at the time dominatit bi European caurs such as the Volkswagen Golf an Opel Astra, an Japanese models such as the Nissan Sunny/Sentra an Toyota Corolla. As a North Americaen replacement for the Suzuki Swift sedan (the 3-door hatchback remained efter it wis redesigned in 1995), it wis built on a slightly stretched Suzuki Cultus platform for improved cabin room, but itherwise sharin maist o internal components wi the smawer model — an marketit as a distinct model.
The Esteem/Baleno wis initially available as a 3-door hatchback an 4-door sedan, wi 1.3 L (hatch anerlie) an 1.6 L ingines, with power rangin frae 85 tae 99 PS (63 tae 73 kW; 84 tae 98 hp). In 1996, the lineup wis extendit wi the Esteem Wagon (Baleno Break in maist European markets and Baleno Altura in India), Suzuki's first station wagon, also wi the same 1.6 L, which also received optional 4WD in the twa lairger body variants.
Suzuki restyled the Esteem/Baleno in 1999. The caur wis given a new frontend, wi a roonder grille an new heidlichts, an the ingine lineup wis expandit tae include Suzuki's J18A chain-driven DOHC that wis fitted tae the sedan an wagon. In North Americae, the Esteem 1.8 Station Wagon completely replaced the Esteem 1.6, but in maist markets the 1.8 sedan became the sports model. In some European markets, the 1.8 L I4 wis installed in the hatchback an sold as the limited edition Baleno GTi. Europe also gained a Diesel version, wi a 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp) XUD ingine supplied bi Peugeot.
The Esteem/Baleno wis replaced in maist markets bi the new Aerio/Liana, which wis launched in 2001. It wis pulled frae the market in Europe an North American in 2002, efter ane year o overlappin. The caur remained available in mony developin kintras, includin Indie an Sootheast Asie, where it wis sold till 2007, when production stopped at the Maruti factory, wi the assembly line givin way tae the SX4 Sedan.