Sign in to follow this  

ACI Review: Maruti Alto 800

Recommended Posts


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.


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.


The biggest change however is in the cabin. There’s an all-new and more contemporary-looking dash, with a strong ‘V’ around the centre console, and plastic quality has been improved considerably. There are plenty of silver accents in the cabin, and there’s a horizontally aligned bottle holder placed ahead of the gear lever, which is quite innovative.

The inclusion of new slimmer seats means there is marginally more space for passengers but this is a car that’s hard to get comfortable in. The small front seats with their integrated headrests, for example, lack decent back support and the rear-seat back isn’t too comfortable either. Space is also only marginally better than the current car, which means it’s very cramped, especially in the rear. The moulded roof lining and fully clad pillars however improve the ambience of the cabin tremendously.


There are big changes under the bonnet as well. Maruti may continue to call this 800cc motor the F8D but changes made are quite far-reaching. There are new short skirt pistons, the compression ratio of the engine has been increased and the air inlet system has been made longer. Torque as a result is 11 percent better, and you can feel it.

Push down on the accelerator and the Alto 800 sets off in a much more determined manner. Responses at low engine speed have always been a strength of this motor, and now it’s better. You don’t need to rev hard to get a move on and you can upshift quite early, so overtaking is not as much a challenge as before. At very low revs, there’s a jerky throttle action, which is typical of other Maruti motors as well and hence driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic is not very smooth. Out on the highway, the improved motor feels more eager thanks to improved performance at the top end of the rev range. In fact, there’s a sporty note at higher revs and the engine doesn’t feel as thrashy as before.

The gearbox too has been improved over the earlier car with a new cable type shifter. The gearshift is fairly smooth but it still doesn’t have the precision or crisp action of more contemporary competition.

The ride is simply outstanding for such a small car and it copes admirably well with everything that’s thrown at it. The Alto 800’s tall springs and 80 profile tyres absorb potholes and ruts with ease but as expected, the Alto 800 is never as well settled as a bigger car. There is always a nervous bit of vertical movement when the road gets uneven, but it’s not to the point of being uncomfortable.

When it comes to driving pleasure the Alto 800 really won’t excite you. There’s no excess of power for one, and the handling is pretty soggy too. The steering feels a bit vague, especially around the straight-ahead position, and the car doesn’t like to be cornered hard. But then, the kind of person who is buying this car isn’t going to really care.

The new Alto 800 may not have the same modern feel as the Hyundai Eon but certainly feels a generation ahead of the previous Alto with better interiors, dynamics and performance. It’s a claimed 15 percent more efficient than the earlier car (at 22.74kpl) and it looks more contemporary too. Is that enough to keep its popularity sky-high? That will finally depend on the price. However, assuming a Rs 3.15 lakh sticker for the base, air-con-equipped version, Maruti’s latest will continue to be the best-selling car on Indian soil after it goes on sale on October 16 this year.

See the full photo gallery here: http://www.autocarin...alto-800,1.aspx

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

A very excellent package. This smaller foot print should help maruti to come out with a an eALTO soon.

IMHO, Maruti badge, cheaper price, good interiors, awesome FE should drive this car's sales crazy.

Though Eon looks miles ahead, its Hyundai(costly to maintain) badge, poor FE & pathetic engine is making this car a DUD, so Hyundai can simply make a Good vibefree FE smaller engine ASAP and make EON a big seller.

Engine aside, Alto is nothing in front of Eon.

On the flip side, its going to be RIP A-star.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Nicely done

However, I would say Maruti would like to launch the base near to 2.5 Lac mark instead of 3 lac +. Otherwise, this is not going to be best seller. Infact if it is launched at 3.15 lac price tag than EON would be better bet any day.

Edited by Sstar

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Saw yesterday many new Alto's standing out side a showroom in Noida.

It definitely doesn't look as good in flesh. The hexagonal part of front grill looks more like that of Pulse.

Mechanicals apart, I don't know why MS can't focus on design part, that too for a model that will have almost a guaranteed sales of more than 20k/month.

Hyundai has already shown to others that you don't need to compromise on design part even in an entry level product.

Anyhow, it's a step up from current gen Alto and again pricing will play the most crucial role.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

PRE-LAUNCH BOOKINGS CROSS 6,500 (Economic Times website - one hour back)

Buoyed by response to its upcoming new Alto, India's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India is expecting

to cross 10,000 units of bookings by the time the small car is launched next week.

"Despite the price remaining unknown to customers, who have not seen the car fully, we have received

6,500 bookings of the new Alto. At this rate, we are confident that it will cross 10,000 when we launch the

car on October 16," Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Chief Operating Officer (Marketing and Sales) Mayank Pareek told PTI.

The company had earlier this month opened pre-launch bookings of the new Alto that offers improved fuel

efficiency of 22.74 kmpl, which is 15 per cent higher than the previous model. Apart from its new design, it has

also other features such improved gear shift and more leg room for rear passengers.

Sounding bullish on the new car, Pareek said: "The initial indication and response is very encouraging to us."

He, however, declined to put a number on how many units the company expects to sell per month.

Brokerage firm Prabhudas Liladher, which spoke to MSI's vendors and component manufacturers said the

carmaker is aiming for a daily production of 800 units for the new Alto.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Test Drive Report on Maruti Suzuki New Alto 800:


It looked good in White colour in top-end LXi variant, while middle LX variant looks good in Pearl Silver shade with black bumpers.

Front & Rear looks are really good & are truly in the direction of an upgraded next-gen Alto variant.

Wheel caps are really a thoughtful addition to its LXi variant to transforming it into an complete looking car for a top-end variant.

Driving Impressions:


As the name suggests -Alto 800, it already emphasises on its 800cc(796cc) engine, which is based on Old Alto Std/LX/LXi variants but is quite different than that of Maruti 800 car in terms of its technical design, specifications & performance.

Starting the engine via key, settles into the same note as before in the Alto. Firewall Insulation is also better than before(post 2010 Altos') but not better than mine(2005 LXi & it's as plush & quality build as Old Zen).

Gearshift & Gearbox:

Slotting the car into 1st gear via smaller & more notchier gearshift is a somewhat better experience than previous rubbery gearshift but throws are still tall & crude.

Shifting the gears on the move is also a better experience but Tall throws still detracts the experience from a bit luxurious one but the gearing is perfect to extract the maximum out of the puny 800cc engine(not actually).

5th gear & 110kmph on its speedo was quite an easy task for me.


The improved 800cc engine in New Alto800 is more powerful, more brisk & more refined than that of previous Alto & is less noisy(coarse), even with AC on.

Acceleration is almost similar to the old version, but performance with AC-on is improved now & the New Alto800 still accelerates with AC-on at speeds above 70kmph.

But without AC performance is still good & cruising at 110kmph is quite an easy task in it, but due to Safety concerns(due to lighter bodyshell) I won't permit that.

Suspension & brakes are also good & enough to make this car to work together for thousands & thousands of miles.

One of the biggest Improvement in it is the steering functioning, feel & feedback.

Its more direct, precise, sharp & communicative than before, even better than that of Alto k10, with one of the big reason is the shortened body size(3395mm as compared to 3495mm), which makes it more nimble & handling-friendly, specifically in City conditions & while taking U-turns.

I would like to call this Alto 800 LXi with SPIN suffix.

Its Feedback is great & it immediately comes back to the centre position in no time, after taking a turn.

Turn ratios also seems to be reduced than previous Alto, which inturns makes it more nimble & fun-to-drive.

Handling is also quite sharp & is surprise even with high profile(145/80-R12) tyres.

On the driving dynamics aspect, I'd give 4.5 stars to this car out of 5 & this tiny car not only rides better than it predecessor, rivals even better than most of the cars below Rs.4 lacs price bracket, only Ford Figo betters it.

My Verdict:

Overall its a very good car & this car is still justifiable with what the trends with which the modern day cars are built & how they drives. With Maruti Suzuki reliability, understanding & percision towards making cars, this car creates alot of strong reason for consideration & buying the entry level small car & with the evidence of thousands of booking already in its bag, tells how much desirable this car is actually.

But missing Luxury quotient, might shift the mutiple car buyers to slightly more luxurious & expensive Hyundai EON.

I'd call this car to be the 'Best first car for the people'.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Since internet is flooded with all the pics of Alto800 top end variants, i'm sharing here the pics of its mid-LX(non power steering version) with black bumpers.


Btw it looks nice in Pearl Silver shade(my take).


Exercise for your eyes:


You can see the 2-spoke steering wheel in this Alto800 LX(non PS) version. It's quite different than old version & is now dark graphite in colour & is having Suzuki S-logo in the centre.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this