Maruti Suzuki Alto has always been quintessential starter car for the average Indian first time car buyer. That peppy little hatchback has stood its ground no matter what and has helped Maruti Suzuki get huge numbers right since it came into existence. Key reasons for its popularity being its overall low cost of ownership, its competitive pricing and its low cost for spare parts. The Alto did receive some threat from the Renault KWID when it was launched some years back but bounced back doing even bigger numbers. In 2020 When Maruti Suzuki launched the S-Presso they stopped the Alto but now the peppy little car makes a grand come back in its latest avatar as the All New Alto K10. We head south into Kochi driving this latest version of India’s loved car to experience all and get you our road test review right here.
Food for Thought
Basically the Suzuki Alto outside India has been in production since 1979 and was meant to be a commercial van. The Alto in India went into production in 2000 and was then the step up model from the Maruti 800. The Alto sold in huge numbers and in 2006 crossed the 1 million production figure. Maruti Suzuki has sold more than 43 lakh units of the Alto. The first generation Alto was available with a 3-cylinder 800cc and also a 1.0L 3-cylinder engine. The car has managed to sell huge numbers in a single month sometimes even more than 22,000 units for the month speaking of its popularity with the masses. The 2nd Generation Alto launched in 2012 and the 3rd Generation Alto which is the one we driving is its latest incarnation using Maruti Suzuki’s latest HEARTECT platform.
If you compare the 2022 Alto to the older one then the new car has grown 45mm in height and has the same width as the predecessor. The Alto also gets 15mm shorter in length but gets 20mm more of wheelbase which now stands at 2380mm. coming to its looks the New Alto can be identified with its massive hexagonal grille finished in honeycomb design and finished in matt black color. The car gets an all new front bumper with smooth character lines and a slim wide air dam. Head lamps get all new rounded design and come with halogen glow on them with integrated turn lamps in them. The Suzuki “S” logo looks smart in chrome on the bumper while the sloping bonnet gets smooth character lines.
The key styling elements on the sides include a soft crease on the waist line, flat round wheel arches, retro lift up types door handles, matt black finish wing mirror housing and 13 inch steel wheels and 150/80 R13 tyres with silver wheel caps.
At the rear you get new design tail lamps flushed into the bodyline, integrated roof spoiler with stop lamp, character lines on the boot lid, new design rear bumper which also gets rear parking sensors on it. The rear glass misses out on a defogger and rear wash wiper. The roof gets stalk type radio antenna to finish the clean look of the 2022 Alto. Overall the car looks cute, nicely styled and in proportions of a typical Japanese hatch with good fit and finish qualities visibly seen.
Get into the 2022 Alto K10 and you are welcomed with the new design upright dashboard finished in black. The round AC vents on the corners get a dash of chrome inserts while the key highlight here is the 7.0 inch touch screen AVN System that runs on Maruti Suzuki’s SmartPlay Studio. This unit comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, FM, Bluetooth wireless phone connectivity. This AVN system is intuitive to use and didn’t take much time to understand or master.
The instrument cluster is the all digital unit with XL sized digital speedo meter and another display which gives you the readings for the trip meter, odometer, fuel meter etc. This is cluster is basic but very practical and informative. The steering is a new design three spoke unit with MFD buttons placed on it along with silver inserts, feels good to grip and is fairly well sized too. The sound system comes with a 4 speaker unit which is first in class.
You get USB charging ports and also an AUX port while the climate control is a single zone AC unit with retro type turns knobs that feel satisfying to use. The center console gets good amount of storage space. Front windows get power function with the buttons placed on the dash while the rear widows come with the classic retro winder type roll down mechanism.
The front and rear seats are finished in dual tone fabric upholstery and get integrated head rests. Front seats are comfortable with good amount of padding in the right areas. Rear seats also offer good comfort along with good knee room, leg room and head room for this class. The passenger seated in the middle too gets decent amount of space and comfort. The cabin feels practical, spacious and roomy for a car of this segment.
Engine – Suspension – Transmission
The New Alto K10 gets its power from the K10C 1.0L 3-cylinder petrol engine which now gets Dual Jet and Dual VVT technology that makes it different from the older engine. This engine makes 66.62PS of power and hits out 89Nm of torque while the transmission options include a 5-speed manual and a 5-speed AMT automatic unit.
This new K10C engine can return with ARAI fuel efficiency figures of 24.39kmpl with the manual and 24.90kmpl with the AMT which is better than the older K10B engine.
How is the 2022 Alto K10 to drive?
We drove both the manual and the AMT Automatic versions of the New Alto so here it goes. It always feels good to crank on the engine using the classic key over the push button start options. The engine feels highly refined and at ease while at idle. Driving the manual first, the speed build up is pretty quick and the clutch feels super light with a short comfortable travel to it. The pedals are well spaced out which is good for a car this sized. The Alto gets an electric power steering which feels connected and offers good amount of feedback. The small hatchback is fun to drive and feels like a go-cart many a times bringing a smile to your face.
The gear shifts are smooth and light while the ratios are equally spaced out more tuned for city daily commutes. The car does good amount of speeds and we crossed the 80kmph speed warning reminder with easy and on multiple times effortlessly. The Alto K10 also gets ABS with EBD that helps the braking department big time offering a calm and effortless stopping. The key USP of this small car is the ease of driving that you experience on busy traffic roads during daily commute where it shines due to its size and dynamics. On highways too the car offers a pretty impressive overall drive where we did speeds of 115-120kmph with sheer ease.
The AMT automatic is the one to go for if you want the convenience of clutch-less driving which many would like. The AMT version drives well and the automatic shifting is judder and jerk free as compared to the older AMT transmissions. The power build up is not as quick as the manual version but then you have the convenience of an clutch free drive. You also get tiptronic shifting which adds to the fun factor on the AMT version. Overall both the manual and AMT automatic cars are fun to drive and offer unmatched practicality on them.
The 2022 Maruti Suzuki Alto comes with standard dual air bags, ABS with EBD, speed sensitive door lock unlock and rear parking sensors.
The 2022 Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 competes with the Renault KWID and also with the Hyundai Santro in its segment.
It is difficult to better a formula which already is good but Maruti Suzuki has just done that with the All New Alto K10. The small car is super peppy and fun to drive, looks trendy, has a well appointed cabin and hits all the right boxes in terms of practicality comfort and convenience that a first car buyer would desire. Well then you have the iconic Maruti Suzuki virtues of low maintenance, high resale value, superb after sales and service to go with. Everything going right for the Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 taking ahead the classic iconic lineage that the common mans first car the Alto has always been known for. Prices for the 2022 Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 start at Rs. 3.99 Lakh.