The Alto K10 needs no introduction – the highest selling car in this country. For over a decade the Alto has ruled the Indian market in terms of numbers despite several new launches and changes in buying trends. In fact, limiting the variants, the positioning of the Alto 800 below this model and change in strategies by Maruti Suzuki has not hampered the sales of this small car.
The Alto has been around for a really long time and has been updated a few times; with the latest facelift, it got a few updates to the front grille and bumper along with a refreshed tailgate. But the overall design of the car is very old, especially when compared with the newer models like the Hyundai Eon. Also when Maruti plunked the 1.0-litre engine, it increased the length of the bonnet, which now makes the car look a bit disproportionate from the sides.
The interiors of the Alto look dated, they have not been updated for a really long time. The dashboard looks dull in grey-black colours, but the quality has improved over the years and the fitment is now sturdy when compared to other models in the segment.
There is a decent amount of space in the car compared to its competition. The Alto is just about wide enough to fit three average-sized adults on the rear bench for a very short ride, but realistically speaking it is a four-seater car. The front seats are comfortable, but the positions could be altered a bit as arms of driver and front passenger keep rubbing against each other.
Since the design of the car is old, it has fewer storage bins and Maruti needs to work out a way to improve on that bit. The instrument cluster is detailed with the three pod setup including a tachometer which is easy to read.
The Alto K10 is powered by a 998cc engine that produces 68bhp and 90Nm of torque, coupled with a five-speed transmission that propels the front wheels. When pitted against its main rival, the Hyundai Eon, it is more powerful and responsive. The four-cylinder setup is almost the most refined engine available in the segment. Even though the Alto K10 is a bit heavier than the Eon, it is noticeably quicker despite having a respectable ARAI efficiency figure of 20.2kpl.
The Alto has decent ride and handling dynamics. It manages to take care of bad roads very well and since the car is short and squat there is hardly any body-roll. The low center of gravity also makes the Alto fun to drive around the bends with the peppy engine. Maruti offers 13-inch 155 section tyres with this small car.
The Alto K10 is now available in two variants – LXi and VXi. The base variant gets almost nothing apart from AC and power steering, while all the other features like fog lamps, power windows, central locking are available with the VXi trim.
The Alto is one of the best bets in the entry-level segment, it does look old and lacks quite a few features that are becoming mandatory in the modern day cars, but it still has many things working in its favour. For one, the running cost of this Maruti small car is almost negligible as spares are affordable and the reach of Maruti’s service network is second to none.
There are few options in the entry-level segment like the Chevrolet Spark and Hyundai Eon, but they cannot dislodge the Alto K10 from its spot. That said, Maruti needs to up its game in the coming months to stay ahead of the competition.