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Maruti Suzuki Alto Review: New Maruti Suzuki Alto - "The Show goes ON"

New Maruti Suzuki Alto - "The Show goes ON"

By Satish Kalepu; 30th April, 2010
Introduction

With the introduction of the new K-series engines, Maruti Suzuki has come up with a series of new models including A-Star, Estilo and Ritz. Many had their fingers crossed about what this engine could do for the Alto. Also as the 800 and Omni have been phased out from the urban market, things have gotten interesting. Now the new Alto is already in showrooms. Surprisingly it is with the same 796 cc engine delivering 47 bhp. However, its emission standard has increased to meet BS IV norms.

Maruti Suzuki Alto

Like most, I was also interested to know about the new Alto. In fact I had assured many looking to buy a new car in the range of 3 to 4 lacs that Maruti Suzuki was planning to come up with an upgraded version of the Alto with a lower price tag too.

My excitement led me to call Maruti Suzuki to get more details. Very soon I made my way to the Maruti Suzuki dealership to know more about the same. Here I must mention about the very cooperative sales executives who explained in detail all the features of the new Alto and had a very customer friendly attitude.

Exterior

The new Alto looks practically the same as the older version. If any change is visible in its exterior, that would be the trunk door. The design engineer has done an excellent job in bringing a change in the appearance of the car’s rear portion without much of an investment. He has in fact reduced investment by opting for a Maruti Suzuki sticker rather than a chrome plated badge. The new Alto also comes with tubeless tyres, clear lens head lamps and sparkling tail lamps, all of which provide its novel appeal. 

Maruti Suzuki Alto

Interior

The new Alto’s interiors have had a thorough facelift. For starters, the new Alto’s front seats now come with integrated headrests. So there is no need to bother with adjusting these. The dual tone dashboard is very appealing. A new speedometer with a digital fuel gauge has been incorporated to provide a more accurate indication of the amount of fuel in the vehicle.

Maruti Suzuki Alto

Another important feature of the new Alto is that it comes with iCATS (intelligent Computerized Anti Theft System) whereby the car can only be started with its original key. This means that in case the ignition key is lost, it cannot be started with a duplicate key. The solution is to use the original alternative key provided by the company itself or to change the ignition key set entirely.

Performance

The new Alto comes with a 796 cc 3 cylinder engine delivering power output of 47bhp and torque of 62 NM. The gearbox is 5-speed synchromesh. Other details include ground clearance of 160mm, turning circle radius of 4.6m, and a tyre size of 145/80 R12. Price ranges from 2.36 to 2.85 lacs (ex-showroom Bangalore) for metallic colour versions. Non-metallic costs lesser by Rs. 4000. 

 

I took the Alto for a testdrive. The Alto is not only famous for its cute looks, but its small size and ease of driving provided for a simple and easy drive within heavy traffic conditions.

Maruti Suzuki Alto

Compared to the old model, the new Alto provides an even more fatigue free experience with its superior cushioning and tubeless tyres. The turning radius of 4.6m is awesome and makes city driving a breeze. The multi-flow cooling AC is very effective in giving additional comfort as well.

Though surely not a high powered car, the low weight provides for zippy driving within the city. Acceleration and braking are fair and it’s an easy car to drive.

When I took it to the highway for a faster drive, we could require a somewhat faster acceleration, but given the engine capacity it’s fair. Moreover, I found the car stability quite good and attractive. 

In its class, the key competition for the Alto is the Spark, and indeed the Maruti Suzuki stable itself. The Alto holds a unique place in the small car segment as its power of 47 bhp is greater than that of a Maruti Suzuki 800 and lesser than that of other cars in the 60 bhp and above bracket. The A-Star, Estilo and new Wagon R also come with 3 cylinder engines but boast higher power output ranging from 66 to 68bhp, and hence at a higher price.

 

 

Tech specs
Technical Specifications
 Make Maruti Suzuki
 Model Alto
Variant Lxi
Engine Capacity (L)/Cylinder 0.8L
Power (PS/RPM) 47/6200
Torque (NM/RPM) 62/6200
Gears 5/M
Groud clearance (mm) 160
Length (mm) 3495
Width (mm) 1475
Height (mm) 1460
Wheel Base (mm) 2360
Turning circle radius (m) 4.6
Fuel Tank capacity (L) 35
Average fuel efficiency (kmpl) 19.7
Ex showroom Price Mumbai (lacs) 3.4
Features
Features Std LX Lxi
Engine Capacity 796 796 796
Power 47 47 47
Torque 62 62 62
Gears 5/M 5/M 5/M
Power Steering No No Yes
Power windows No No No
Central locking No No No
A/C No Yes Yes
Music system No No No
Fog Lamps No No No
Rear wind shield washer No No No
Defogger No No No
ABS No No No
Air bag No No No
Security System Yes Yes Yes
Average fuel efficiency 19 19 19
Fabric Seats No No Yes
Digital fuel indicator Yes Yes Yes
Collapsible steering column Yes Yes Yes
Tubeless tyres Yes Yes Yes
Ex showroom Price Bangalore 2.36 2.64 2.85
Competition
Specifications
Maruti Suzuki
Alto
Chevrolet
Spark
Maruti Suzuki
A-Star
Maruti Suzuki
Estillo
Maruti Suzuki
Wagon R
Variant Lxi 1.0 PS Lxi Lxi Lxi
Power (ps) 47 63 67 68 67
Torque (NM) 62 92 90 90 90
Gears 5/M 5/M 5/M 5/M 5/M
Power Steering Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Power windows No No No No No
Central locking No No No No No
A/C Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Music system No No No No No
Fog Lamps No No No No No
Rear wind shield washer No No No No No
Defogger No No No No No
ABS No No No No No
Air bag No No No No No
Average fuel efficiency (kmpl) 19.7 17 17 17 17
Ex showroom Price Mumbai (lacs) 3.4 3.7 3.9 3.7 3.7
Conclusion

The fact that Maruti Suzuki has decided to retain the same engine and design with only minor modifications indicates the company’s confidence in this Alto model. The car boasts highest sales figures in the country. For those who appreciated its looks, usefulness and reliability but were apprehensive to purchase the car between January and March, fearing it would be discontinued and hence affect its resale value, you need no longer worry.

Maruti Suzuki Alto

The only drawback of the new Alto is its price tag which could have been lesser by at least another 25,000. A reduction of this amount would surely invite a tremendous response.