While it looks much the same from the outside, the interior of the new Alto 800 has been refreshed for a decidedly more upmarket look no matter what trim you buy. For starters, the cabin is finished in dark grey and houses new fabric design on the door pads and reupholstered seats. Maruti says the new door trim fabric is a classic touch but to our eyes it’s almost funky. What’s not at all funky though is the design and layout of the dashboard which is where the Alto shows its age. There’s plenty of unforgiving black plastics and the layout of air-con vents and controls is a step behind the rivals as well. Ergonomically, the only redeeming bits are the storage space above the glove box and a large cubbyhole ahead of the gear lever which can easily accommodate a 1-litre bottle. Now although the centrally mounted power window switches aren’t where they belong, they help to liberate more leg space for the driver which is fairly crucial in a small car like this. Speaking of which, the driving position is set noticeably low (compared to something like an Eon) although the view out is still nice and clear with good all-round visibility aided by slim A and B pillars.
Meanwhile, the rear is comfortable but only for two full-size occupants. There’s better-than-average legroom and surprisingly good headroom for such low stance. The seat base though is woefully short and a little flat, meaning you will end up sitting with your knees up and wanting for more thigh support throughout the ride.
One area where the old Alto 800 didn’t earn brownie points was in the equipment. With the facelift, Maruti has attempted at making our lives easier by offering the passenger side wing mirror, rear door child lock and integrated headrests at the rear as all-new equipment. More importantly though, the Alto 800 can now be had with a driver airbag as an option right from the base variant.
Overall, the cabin is nicer to look at and better specced than before but it still cannot match newer, more premium-feeling interiors of the Eon or even the Kwid for that matter. The 177-litre boot is also significantly smaller than its rivals and realistically, only good for a small suitcase plus a couple of backpacks.