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.
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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
Chassis & Body
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Issue: 186 | Autocar India: February 2015
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