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Rating 7 7

Maruti Alto LXi

10th Sep 2009 7:00 am

The Alto is reliable


  • Make : Maruti Suzuki
  • Model : Alto

The Alto has a lot going for it as far as small cars go. It has everything the average Indian wants fronm a car: reliability, cheap maintenance, decent levels of quality and great fuel efficiency. Does that make you want to 'go in an Alto'?The Alto is built to meet K-car regulations in Japan and as a result is restricted in size.

The Maruti Alto has had a makeover with its new chin and lights. The Alto is a conventional ‘two box’ small hatch, it can’t match its competition for useable space though it is built on the Wagon R’s platform.

Using the same wheelbase, suspension components and all, it is not attractive looking either. But the new facelift — lights, grille and bumper — are a definite improvement. It also feels and is more solid than the Wagon R. It has a transverse-mounted engine in the front that sends power to the front wheels. Front suspension is by McPherson struts and ventilated disc brakes are thankfully standard.

The Alto’s interiors are cramped and there’s very little legroom at the rear. The narrow rear seats are barely wide enough to seat two abreast and the tiny boot doesn’t help either. It is one of the cheapest cars sold on Earth (before the launch of the Nano), so you shouldn’t expect much by way of quality interiors.

All the surfaces feel cheap, but plastic quality is no better or worse than the Wagon R. The controls, though finished in cheap plastic, feel hardy and the new rotary air-con controls that came with the facelift look better. There are advantages to having a small cabin. The air-con doesn’t have to work hard to cool the cabin. Equipment levels, as expected, are poor, with not even power windows offered.

The Alto isn’t a great handler either. The steering lacks crispness and the EPS on the LXi has a detached feel. Body control is reasonable — but for the lack of power, the Alto is reasonably adept. And it’s well suited to city traffic too. Long springs and high profile tyres also help it ride well and the little car absorbs a whole lot of undulations the road can throw up. The Alto brakes do a fair job too.

Maruti Alto LXi
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