Maruti Suzuki Alto review
We Are a bit late to cover the alto, I accept. Its been market leader for a long time now. Maruti seemed to have finally found an answer to the long time top seller, the maruti 800. Maruti initially bought the alto out with 2 engine options, the 800cc motor from the Maruti 800 and the 1100cc motor that is also found in the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R. Currently, the 1.1 liter option is discontinued and the Alto has remained the market leader for the last 24 months. Sales don't seem like they are going to slump anytime soon neither. Thats the story so far for this small little hatch that has captured the imagination of the indian consumer. Why? lets see..
Design and Interiors
The Alto is one of the incarnations of the a common platform, designed with the Japanese principles of kei-ji-dosha which strictly decide the dimensions a car must confirm to in order to be called a small car, in japan that is. As a matter of fact, it is the elder brother of the maruti 800. At one point of time, maruti was selling 3 versions of the maruti 800 here; the 800, alto and the Zen.
Cost cutting in the Alto has resulted in the non AC version of the Alto that has significantly lowered the cost of the car, making it only as expensive as the Air-conditioned 800. trim levels have been vastly changed for the different versions of the Alto, but the basic car does remain same. A very basic dashboard, with provision for the Stereo system in a very common position(unlike the 800 in which the stereo sits way down). No clever tricks to maximise the interior space with cubby holes and so on. The Gear lever sticks out from the lowly floor, with a truck like rubber boot at the bottom. A rubber gear knob sits at its top making for some a spartan grey and black combination. The controls for the Air conditioning are the new design rotary type, with the sliding type controls found on the non-AC model(for the blower of course). Seats are fabric and the quality is quite good and so are the colors and the graphics used. The doors don't have map pockets at the side; neither is there a decent enough number of cup holders. Maruti really could provide the costumer with more than just the bare basics at hardly any significant cost. The meter console has a big white speedometer at the helm flanked by the fuel gauge and the temperature indicator on either side.
The alto is a very small car in terms of dimensions and this is realised as soon as one gets into the rear seats, the room is barely enough to support four full size adults and larger people might find it rather tough fitting in here. With the front seats all the way back, hardly any room is left for the rear passengers. I happen to think that as far as space is concerned, the 800 does do bit better in comparison. I would suggest that if you are 6 feet or taller, you look at the Indica Xeta instead. On the flipside of the lack of space here though is that the car is very easy to drive around town.
The Alto had the typical Maruti cosmetic surgery just a while back and that has given it some fresh looking head lamps, tail lamps, a different style bumper and a big suzuki emblem on the face. Apart from that, the rotary controls are also part of the face lift. All the effort has been to make the car look a bit chic and also a bit bigger, I sincerely feel that maruti could really give a much bigger helping of their expertise to their hottest selling model rather than just botox injections.
Following this we got into the car to take her out for a spin to check out what lies under the hood and how she Rides