Maruti Suzuki Alto was launched in India on 27 November 2000 and has been the country’s largest selling hatchback since 2006. It had sold more than 1 million units in February 2008.
Outlook & Exteriors
The Alto 800 entered the Indian car market on 16 October 2012 with completely new aerodynamics and body design. Standing in front of the car, the trendy new headlamps and sporty bumper grille are hard to miss. The air-dam, housing the license plate is now wider, trapezoidal and sits comfortably below a very slim top grille.
Walk to the side and you will notice one character line connecting the headlights with the tail lights. The car has body colored door handlesand slightly flown out wheel haunches that further extenuate it lean boy look.
The Alto 800 is a bit boxy from the rear but the slightly ear-shaped tail-lights balance its otherwise simple layout. The boot-lid is small but the car extends a decent trunk capacity of 177 liters.
The length of the car is increased by 35 mm and it now measures 3395mm in length, 1490mm in width, 1475mm in height and has a ground clearance of 160mm.
Interior, Features & Ambience
The Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 features a very contemporary looking cabin highlighted with subtle accents of silver here and there. The dashboard is simple and houses the audio system integrated with CD, MP3 player, AUX and USB features. The plastic quality is above average while the overall fit and finish of the car is good.
The car has power windows in the front with the switchesplaced on the center floor panel. Numerable cubby holes are present in the car to hold your knick knacks like a bottle holder, cup holder etc.
Coming to the seats of the hatchback, the quality of the upholstery is good and has little printed patchwork present on the seats and on the doors. The front and back seats offer good under-thigh support, headroom and legroom. However, in the rear seats, shoulder room is a bit compromised making the seating of 3 people a pretty tight affair.
Engine and Performance
Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 only available in a 0.8-litre (796cc) 3-Cylinder petrol engine with an option of CNG in the LXi trim. This power-mill is mated to a 5 speed manual transmission and churns a maximum power output of 48hp @ 6000rpm and a peak torque of 68Nm @ 3500rpm. The hatchback delivers a fuel economy of 13.3kmpl in cities and 17.8kmpl on the highways. It has a top speed of 140kmph and attains 0-100kms in just 16.2 seconds which is pretty decent according to its size and segment.
The initial power delivery of the Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 is befitting however; it is after that the car reaches 3000rpm; you feel the actual power and capability of the engine.
Ride Quality and Handling
Being behind the wheel, the petrol engine is peppy, comfortable and zippy to drive. The steering wheel is well weighted and the engine is quick to respond to your required inputs. The tires grip the road well even on sharp turns.
Shifting through the transmission is a breeze and easy on your left foot as the gears small and light.
What we liked best about the Alto 800 is that, it is not easily rattled. Weighing not more than 695-725kg, the car felt pretty stable and planted for its size. The McPherson Strut suspension in the front tires and coil spring absorbers in the rear tiressuccessfully absorbed all small potholes. However, you tend to feel the larger bumps and cracks on the road.
The NVH (Noise,Vibrations,Harshness) level containment is average as the engine and road noise is well audible inside the cabin.
Braking and safety
The car has disc breaks in the front and drum brakes in the rear tires with the provision of one driver airbag as optional in the higher VXi variant at an additional cost of Rs.6,000.
The Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 with its all new design, fresh interiors and a revamped engine is Maruti’s undisputed bestseller coupled with large aftersales network and a reasonable maintenance price. Though the car is a little cramped, it has a lot to offer in the price it charges