Maruti Alto K10 Review
Feature Rich & AffordableMonday, November 18, 2013
Maruti Suzuki is best known for their small cars. They have a long list of hatch backs which are doing exceptionally well in the Indian car market. One of them is the largest selling car in India. Yes, you guessed it right, it’s Alto. It’s been over a decade that people here in India are familiar with this car. Still, it’s the first choice of many Indians. It is being awarded the best entry level car in India. Originally it was available with 1.1L engine but it was soon discontinued and since then it’s available with smaller 800cc engine. This engine is the least powerful engine in its segment. Other competitors like Chevrolet Spark and Hyundai Santro have much powerful engines than Alto. It’s been often complained that Alto’s engine feels a bit underpowered. To get rid of this issue Maruti has launched another version of Alto with their powerful new K10 engine. This new car is known as Alto k10. Now Alto will be available with two engine options. This K-series engine can also be seen in Maruti’s other cars including A-star, WagonR and Estilo. WagonR among these all have received the best reception with this engine. With new Alto k10 Maruti tries to bridge the gap between the 800cc Alto and the WagonR. They don’t want to leave any space which can be filled by any other competitors. Alto name has been given specially to this car in order to get the loyal consumers of Alto. Maruti aims the Alto brand to reach new heights of success with this new car.
The new Alto k10 looks like an extended version of the original Alto. It may have been done intentionally. It’s very much similar to original Alto yet it manages to look refreshing and different. The car now looks much balanced and it’s relatively longer than its other competitors. The new front of this car makes it look more appealing than before. New Alto now has more angular and curvy headlamps which gel well with much wider grille sporting Suzuki logo in its center. There is a chrome plate at the top of the grille. Just above the chrome plate is a long bonnet and front windshield which adds to the mature look of this grown up Alto. Front bumper has also been revised for this new car. It has a body colored bumper featuring new set of round fog lights with big three layered air dam. The car looks much more aerodynamic than before. Side profile of this new Alto has not changed much except its new R13 size of tyres which are available with new full wheel covers. These bigger tyres along with its tiny wheel arches and extended front fender looks very sporty. Other changes include body colored outside mirrors on both sides in top model with side moulding. Though it carries the same old black colored door handles which looks very cheap. Rear of the car has some noticeable changes; it has new boot gate and tail lamps. The rear bumper also gets new treatment; it is much wider and has sharp lines over it. Number plate now gets fit into its boot gate with a plastic plate just above it of black color. Everything goes fine at the back except its awkwardly designed tail lights. Its tail lights are a let-down in terms of styling.
The car is not that fresh and appealing from inside. Its interior is almost indistinguishable from the regular Alto. There is lot of usage of grey color inside which doesn’t look that up-market. Good thing is that new Alto k10 features 3 spoke power assisted steering wheel similar to that of A-star. There is new instrument cluster also with a tachometer which is very easy to read and the overall appearance looks much premium. It also has digital fuel gauge and dual trip meter. It has new gear knob which is shorter in length and is very nice to hold. Seats are of vibrant colors which reduces the dull effect inside. There are new moulded door trims with fabric insertion in them. The plastic and buttons used inside are similar to what we get in regular Alto. These interiors are very dull and feels out-dated when you compare them with its rivals. Maruti could have worked more on its interior styling.
Comfort and Convenience
High qualities of fabrics are used in the new seats of Alto k10 which makes them very comfortable. The increased length of the car results into more knee room than before for the front passengers. Headroom and shoulder room is just enough for the driver and front passenger. Rear passengers still don’t have that much of knee room. Although Maruti has tried to keep its front seats as slim as possible so that rear passengers can have some extra space and it does manages to give more legroom than its competitor Hyundai Santro. There is no increase in height and width of this Alto, so it remains a task for people above 6 feet to fit in this car as there is cramped shoulder and headroom at the back. Front and rear seats have integrated headrests. Driver seat is manually adjustable. These seats can provide nice back rest but you will notice less under thigh support. Its light power steering confirms you a stress free ride. Front power windows is a welcome feature in new Alto k10 with internally adjustable outside mirrors. It has a powerful AC which is capable enough to take care of you in those sunny days. The new car also has central locking with tinted glasses and remote fuel lid and boot opener. Its explore variant also comes with rear defogger.
Dashboard and Storage
Maruti Alto K10 has the same dashboard which was used in the first Alto sold in India. Till now there is no change in this dashboard. We wonder why Maruti can’t get rid of this old looking dashboard. It has the same irritating texture and design. It has those regular square shaped AC vents with 4 cheap looking big buttons below them. It has a glove box with open storage space just above it. There are Magazine pockets on all four doors which are big in size and can hold more than magazines. There are cup holders and rear parcel tray for more storage. It has good spacious boot which can be increased by folding the rear seats.
Maruti Alto K10 lacks any kind of music system. It’s optional to get it fitted by spending some extra money. There is 12v socket which can play your music gadgets directly once your music system is installed. Its Explore variant (limited edition) comes with double din music system but company will charge you extra for that.
Engine and Gearbox
Maruti Alto K10 uses a 1.0L k10B engine. This engine is very light as it uses aluminium and it has three cylinders. This unit churns out a maximum power of 67 bhp at 6200 rpm while it manages to pull out the maximum torque output of 90 nm coming at 3500 rpm. This engine is more powerful than most of its competitors in terms of power production. This K series engine is mated with all-new 5-speed manual gear box.
Acceleration and Performance
Drive this car and it’s hard to believe if it’s an Alto. The performance of this new Alto has improved remarkably. This engine feels very responsive and zippy. It’s perfect for city conditions as there is no turbo lag and first two gears are very short which allows you to quickly move through the traffic without any shortage of power. The engine performs best between 2000 rpm – 3500 rpm. After that it starts to suffocate. Its mid-range is very relaxed and you can easily cruise on highways. Even with AC the car will allow you to overtake with ease. Though this unit is not as smooth and refined what you get in Volkswagen Polo. Even Santro when rev hard at high speeds feels much more refined than but not as responsive as the K-series engine. The car does 0-100km/hr in less than 14 seconds which has never been achieved by Alto ever before not even with the 1.1L engine. The car urges you to drive it hard and when you do so it won’t disappoint you. It’s pretty enthusiastic and can even cross the top speed of 140km/hr but you don’t want to try it as this motor turns loud once you go pass 4000rpm.Though WagonR shares the same engine but due to tall gear ratios in Alto, it feels much faster than Alto k10.However, the new Alto k10 feels more responsive than its 800cc engine and it can easily compete with Santro and Spark. So from now on you can take your Alto k10 on long routes without causing pain to your legs like before.
There is good news for those looking for good fuel efficiency. This new Alto manages to return more fuel efficiency than its younger sibling. It’s also more fuel efficient than cars like WagonR and A-star which are using the same engine. Its lightweight (765kgs) and taller gear ratios contribute to its higher fuel efficiency. It gives around 15-17km/ltr in city traffic with a mileage of around 19-20km/ltr on highways.
Ride and Handling
Maruti Alto K10 is a perfect city car. Its minimum turning radius of 4.6m allows you to get rid of parking tension. It’s one of the finest cars which can fit into tight spaces really well. Its light handling will never let you feel stressed in heavy traffic. It has an improved suspension which along with R13 size of tyres grabs the road better than before. It doesn’t feel much scary around corners due to its increased wheelbase and fatty tyres. Though at high speed on highways, it may not give you that required confidence to cruise due to its lightweight but it’s not that bad either. Alto k10 has low seating arrangement which is an indication of low ground clearance. It has a ground clearance of 160mm which is not that satisfactory as many potholes and big speed breakers will keep on hurting it frequently.
Braking and Safety Features
Maruti Alto k10 has disk brakes at its front with drum brakes at the back. Braking is very accurate as the car remains under control even when brakes are applied at high speeds. Unlike WagonR there is no optional ABS and airbags in this car. Other safety features include immobilizer icats, headlamp levelling device with collapsible steering column and side impact beams for collusive situation.
Maruti Alto K10 is available in only 2 variants: K10 LXi and K10 VXi.
The new Alto K10 is available in an array of six colors: Sunlight Copper, Midnight Black, Fire Brick Red, Superior White, Ecru Beige and Silky Silver.
Maruti provides 2years/40,000kms warranty on this car which can be extended further.
Maruti has smartly priced this car. This is a perfect option for those who find WagonR to be out of their budget and want a cheaper but powerful car than standard Alto. At this price Maruti has managed to get the buyers of both Santro and Spark. It has a very powerful and smooth engine which is fun to drive. It is very easy to handle and most importantly it is very fuel efficient. For us this is a perfect value for money car. Its name can also work in both ways; it can fetch the loyal buyers of Alto in favour of it but it may also find people hesitating to spend extra money on a car which can easily be mistaken as the cheaper one. There will be no exclusivity also as the name remains similar and its appearance is not that strikingly different. Otherwise there is no matter of concern. With Maruti’s low cost of ownership along with high resale value, this car should be able to establish Alto brand more prominently.