Maruti Suzuki India has been stepping up efforts in a bid to tackle emerging competition from the likes of Datsun redi-GO and Renault Kwid, and maintain its pole position in the entry-level hatchback segment.
It is for this very reason that Maruti has given the Alto 800, the best ever selling model in India, an update.
The birth of Alto and its meteoric rise to the top are so intertwined with the history of Indian automobile industry. The first generation Alto, the SS 30 version, was rolled out in Japan in 1979. It landed in India in 1983 as Muruti 800, the country’s first passenger car that ticked most of the right boxes.
The second version of Alto was introduced in Japan in 1984 and in India in 1986. The third generation updated hatchback model was unveiled in Japan in 1988, however, that model did not enter the Indian market.
The fourth generation Alto, which came in 1995, was known as Maruti Zen in India. It was the fifth generation Alto that was launched in Indian market with its original name in 1998. The sixth generation updated version introduced in 2004 bore a striking resemblance to Swift, but it did not hit Indian roads.
The seventh generation Suzuki Alto made its debut in 2009, and soon it arrived in Indian market where it was called A Star.
As Alto continued to make its presence felt in both international and domestic markets, Maruti came up with a plan to make this entry-level hatchback more attractive, yet affordable. The focus was on to introduce a cheaper passenger car than A Star, while replacing the existing model. An affordable but updated version having a similar features and engine like the Alto 800 which was introduced in India some years back. The intent was perhaps to replace the Maruti 800 to keep things fresh and the momentum going.
Design and interiors
Being the undisputed leader of the segment, there is no scope for compromise on design. The updated Alto 800 too maintains its basic design and other key features. The new Wave design ensures dated looks, and the designers have given it an identity that is instantly recognizable, especially in styling. The new model comes with attractive colours and a passenger-side wing mirror. The trapezoidal air dam and the large Suzuki logo gives the front portion an aesthetically-pleasing look. The black air dam too gives a fresh look to the nose. At the rear, the high-mounted petal-shaped headlights and the jewel-finish rear combination lamps stand out.
Alto is an aspiration product for the first-time customer. For the first time, a driver airbag and modern entertainment options feature in a car in the entry-level hatchback segment. The dashboard has been given a face-lift. The steering sporting the Suzuki logo looks similar to the Swift steering. An array of smart utility storage space is provided for keeping things such as a 1-litre bottle. A/c vents are similar to that of Swift. The quality of the fabric seats has also been improved.
The revamped F8D engine produces maximum power of 48 PS and maximum torque of 69 Nm at 3500 rpm. It definitely improves the overall performance of the car. The gearbox is equipped with the down shift assist mechanism to smoothen the shift from the fifth gear to the fourth gear.
The petrol variant of the new Alto delivers an enhanced fuel efficiency of 24.7 kmpl. The fuel efficiency of the previous version was 22.7 kmpl. In CNG mode, it offers a mileage of 33.44 km/kg.
With a starting price of Rs 2.60 lakh, the Alto 800 has become the most affordable vehicle in its category.
Undoubtedly, the new Alto is the best available option for a first-time customer. The widespread network of dealer workshops and authorised service stations covering all districts is an added advantage.