Maruti Suzuki India Limited, India's largest car maker, has given its best-selling hatchback, the Alto 800 a facelift. Initially launched in 2012, alto 800 proved to be a Runaway success for the company. Despite of being faced with many challenges like Tata Nano, Hyundai Eon, and Datsun Go, Alto 800 always remained at the top. However with the launch of new propositions like Renault Kwid and upcoming Datsun redi-Go, Maruti find it appropriate to give a new lease of life the Alto 800.
Alone with the shuttle outside and inside changes, new Alto will be benefited from the reputation of the Maruti, its largest dealership network, and low maintenance cost. Even by the standards of regular facelift, new Alto 800 has received very mild upgradation. It is almost impossible to differentiate new version from the older one as differences are very subtle and delicate. However the biggest difference the company has made is in the fuel efficiency department. Maruti claims that new Alto 800 is hoping 9% more fuel efficient than the outgoing models. We got a chance to test this claim and returned impressed by the frugal nature of new Alto. What else impressed us; read on to find out.
Design, Style & Interiors
one thing that you need to keep in mind that it is just mild update. This means basic design of the car remains similar to the outgoing model. Design elements like high mounted headlamps, thick C-pillar and flared wheel arches continue to be in the new Alto. Even at the rear, old design has been carried forward. So what is the difference in the new car? Well to start with the nose of the new Alto is completely new. Front bumper has been changed completely. Grille takes the form of a slit running across the head lamps with logo of Suzuki sitting below it. There are optional provision for the fog lamps which are referred as accessory. The new Alto is also slightly longer than the older one dimensions remain similar to the outgoing model.
inside the cabin, the only change happen in the form of new seat fabric and door pads. The space continues to be on the shorter side alto Maruti has added more equipment to all the trims. Passenger side wing mirror is now standard across the variants and Maruti is also offering driver side airbag as an optional feature across the trims. That said, there is no Anti-Lock Braking System on the offer even as optional.
Engine, Transmission & Driving Dynamics
There is no change on the engine and transmission front, and the new Alto drives exactly like the older one. 799 cc, 3-cylinder petrol engine is a refined unit and still continues to be on the top of the game. There are some vibrations associated when you start the engine but it settles down quietly as the rev begins to rise. Clutch pedal is very light and delight to use in the City. Brake on the other hand i'm not very confidence inspiring. Gearbox is notchy and although throws are short, clogs don't fit into each other perfectly.
For car of its own size, alto 800 offers a good ride quality. It behaves in a mature manner in the City and even on the highway; there are no glaring problems as long as you drive it sedately. Tiny dimensions of the car help it to offer a good handling. You can make unanticipated Lane changes and also will not disappoint you. Steering wheel on the other hand is vague and there is a complete dead end at the centre which is annoying at times.
The new Alto 800 continues to remain good value for money with price ranging between Rs 2.60 and Rs3.52 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). For the time being, new Alto 800 can retain the strong sale for the Maruti but the company has to come with a major facelift if it wants to retain top slot in the increasingly competitive hatchback category of Indian automobile industry. No doubt this facelift has given a shot in the arm of the Alto and with credentials like increased mileage, the company can easily lure the first time buyer looking for mileage and economy. The only grouse from our side dad Maruti should have differentiated this new model from the outgoing one in a manner that would be easily perceptible.
Style & Substance 4/5 Ride & Handling 3.5/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3.5/5 Safety & Equipment 3.5/5
Power-Plant &Transmission 3.5/5 Fuel Efficiency 4/5
Value for Money 4/5