First Drive

Maruti Alto 800 test drive, review and video

Maruti gives the Alto its first major upgrade in 12 years to bring it up to date.

DETAILS
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Top 5 Entry-level hatchbacks

It’s not everyday that you get to test a car that’s likely to be a surefire best-seller, but that’s just what this is – a first drive of Maruti’s all-new Alto 800, a car that in all probability will start life at the top of the sales charts.

The new Alto is a car Maruti has poured its heart and soul into to get right. What the company wants is continuity and progress. It wants the Alto 800 to take off from where the current Alto stands today, and for that Maruti’s designers have given it an identity that is instantly recognisable. 

So there’s an overriding feeling of familiarity as you walk upto the car. The compact dimensions, the high-mounted headlights and the thick ‘C’ pillar at the rear of the car tell you this is an Alto instantly. But the new bits stand out as well. The new two-part grille is attractive, the high-mounted petal-shaped headlights stand out, there’s a hint of a chin spoiler, which looks sporty, and the wheel arches are mildly flared as well. Unlike the earlier car, this one is mildly tipped forward too, adding to that sporty feel. The design is familiar around the back, but here too there are fresh new details like the crystal-like tail lights and some sculpting on the hatch that adds a spicy touch.

Watch video review here

What makes the car look a bit awkward from some angles however is the massive ground clearance, something that just doesn’t sit well with the compact dimensions. The conservative Alto 800 however is likely to appeal to a wider audience than Hyundai’s overtly styled Eon, which draws polarised opinion.

The new Alto 800 is built on the same wheelbase as the earlier car and plenty of suspension bits are carried over, but the structure has been heavily modified to make it stiffer. Maruti’s engineers have concentrated on keeping it light too. The roof, for example, is made of thinner steel, but has corrugations for added rigidity.

Detailed Maruti Alto 800 photogallery 

Fact File

Engine

Fuel Petrol
Installation Front, transverse
Type 12-valve, 796cc, 3 cyl,
Power 47bhp
Torque 7.03kgm

Transmission

Type Front wheel drive
Gearbox Manual, 5-speed

Dimensions

Length 3395mm
Width 1490mm
Height 1475mm
Wheel base 2360mm
Ground clearance 160mm

Chassis & Body

Weight 720kg
Tyres 145/80R12 (tubeless)

Suspension

Front Gas filled McPherson Strut, Torsion Roll control device
Rear Coil spring, Gas filled shock absorbers with three link rigid axle and isolated trailing arm

Brakes

Front Solid discs
Rear Drums

Economy

Tank size 35 litres

Maruti Alto 800 test drive, review and video

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The Porsche Macan tested on Indian roads, the first images of the new Hyundai i20 and lots of comparison tests in this issue of Autocar India.
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Issue: 180 | August 2014

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