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Old 3rd November 2012, 20:32   #1
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Default Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review

The Maruti Alto 800 has been launched in India at a price of between Rs. 2.44 - 3.56 Lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you’ll like:

• A much improved Alto at the same price point
• F8D engine has excellent driveability & fuel economy. Neat gearshift too
• Comfortable ride quality. Soft suspension is absorbent
• Convenient city car: Light, agile & easy to drive
• Effective air-conditioner
• Driver-side airbag & factory fitted CNG kit available
• Maruti's excellent after-sales service & fuss free ownership experience

What you won’t:

• Cramped rear bench. Also, the seatback is very short
• Thin, budget seats offer basic levels of support
• CNG kit for base variant costs a hefty Rs. 75,000 (LXi's CNG kit is a realistic Rs. 57,000)
• Mediocre expressway competence. Best driven <100 kph
• Puny 145 mm tyres. An upgrade is highly recommended
• Lacks the design appeal of the Hyundai Eon

NOTE: Click any picture to open a larger higher-resolution version in a new window
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Old 3rd November 2012, 20:35   #2
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Default Re: Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review



Launches don't get any bigger than this. The Alto 800 is an important car, not only because it's the cheapest BSIV hatchback from the largest car manufacturer in the country. The Alto is also the best selling car in India. It was back in May 2004 that the Alto took the No.1 position from the Maruti 800; it's retained the top spot for 8 years in a row, thus leaving on a high note. Make no mistake, this is Maruti's bread & butter product and the brand's 6th new car launch since 2010. The new Alto 800 will sell alongside the more powerful Alto K10 (priced higher) as well as the ol' Maruti 800 (on sale in BSIII towns only).

Maruti and its vendors have spent 4 years and Rs. 470 crore in developing the new Alto which enters production at the same Gurgaon factory. Understandably, Maruti adopted an evolutionary approach with the car. After all, why mess with a proven formula? While the car's value proposition remains the same, Maruti engineers have improved the car in several areas. The Alto 800 is based on the same platform as the older car. The monocoque has been beefed up and is much stiffer, while all the body panels are new. The seat anchorage points and the wheelbase @ 2,360 mm are the same, thus there is no major difference in cabin space. The Alto's wheelbase is 20 mm shorter than that of the Hyundai Santro, but 15 mm longer than the Chevrolet Spark's. Interestingly, the hatchback's overall length is now shorter by a full 100 mm.

Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review-maruti-alto-800-prices.png

Considering this is a mass market car, it's important for the Alto to appeal to multiple demographics. Therefore, the Alto 800 wears a conservative design. The styling won't leave an impression, but it won't offend you either. The key question is: does it look better than the old, ageing Alto? Definitely yes. It's more contemporary for sure, even if the Eon looks that much snazzier and futuristic in comparison. The Alto's face looks much too similar to the updated Ford Figo. This is most probably a coincidence, yet the similarity is striking enough for Ford to launch the Figo facelift just 24 hours before the Alto was unveiled. The front gets a dramatic treatment with that twin grille, bulging headlamps and chin spoiler effect. The side profile takes definite inspiration from the Japanese domestic market Alto. That salient shoulder crease runs the entire length of the car. The large, wide rear windscreen takes up the upper half of the car. The hatch gets a center hump on which the Suzuki logo and keyhole are placed. What spoils the otherwise nice design is the high stance of the car, along with the puny high profile tyres. Because of the taller roof and shorter length, the Alto actually looks smaller than the outgoing car from a distance. The 12” inch rims are carried over and have the same puny 145/80 R12 tyres mounted on them. Our test vehicle came shod with Apollo Amazer rubber. The top LXi variant gets full plastic wheel covers while the lower variants get only half that.

Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review-maruti-alto-800-specifications.png

The body panels and doors feel extremely light & flimsy, clearly showing the focus on cost and weight saving. Just like the Hyundai Eon (715 kg), the Alto is an extremely light car that tips the scales at just 695 - 725 kilos. The base variant is a mere 5 kilos heavier than the car that it replaces, despite all the changes. The ribbed roof section was necessary to give the thinner metal a certain level of stiffness. Maruti says that it has used high strength steel for the Alto. Overall fit & finish is standard Maruti fare and acceptable for a budget hatchback. The paint quality on our Metallic Red test car was impressive.

Because the Alto 800 is heavily based on the dated Alto platform, I have my reservations on the safety aspects of this car. I fear this car might not score as well as newer generation automobiles in crash tests. An optional Driver side airbag is available on the LXI variant. This is a hugely welcome move, though we wish Maruti had offered ABS as an option too / instead. To Team-BHPians, I recommend the LXi variant only. The base & middle variants lack must-have features such as power steering, front power windows, body-coloured bumpers, remote boot opener, internally-adjustable mirror and of course, the driver airbag. Do keep in mind that there is only a negligible price difference between the Alto 800 LXi and the base Alto K10.

The Alto now looks contemporary enough:




The shoulder moves up toward the rear, while the roof tapers down. Rear window is smaller on the new car. Side profile is seemingly inspired by the JDM Alto:


Soon to become a very familiar sight on Indian roads:


Beefed up wheel arches:


No provision for fog lamps. You won't be able to install a set even in the after-market:


Parked next to the replaced Alto. Notice the higher roof line. The 2012 car is a 100 mm shorter (55 mm at the front, 45 mm from the rear):


Petal shaped headlamps with the turn indicator on top look good:


Twin-grill contributes to making the face look more mature:


Ribbed roof brings the required level of rigidity to lighter sheet metal used here. Pull-out radio antenna is a throwback to the old days:


Small convex mirrors have decent visibility for their size. The passenger-side ORVM is NOT standard equipment:


Puny 145/80 R12 tyres. Lower variants get 1/2 wheel caps only:


High mounted, large tail lamps look smart:


Big fuel lid. Remote release on the LXi variant only:


Hatch bulges out in the center, where the Suzuki logo & keyhole are located. No wash / wipe or defogger on any variant:


Super thin bumper means the slightest touch in traffic will cause damage to the hatch door:


Prominent crease runs the entire length of the car & finally merges with the tail lamp:


Parked next to the automobile that put India on wheels. 26 years since launch, the Maruti 800 still lumbers on in BSIII towns:


A parting exterior shot:
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Old 3rd November 2012, 20:36   #3
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Default Re: Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review



Maruti has completely redesigned the interiors of the new Alto. There are two interior colours to choose from; brown or grey. Our test car wore the latter. With either interior colour, you'll get a black steering, center console, gear lever and seat / door fabric. This helps break the monotony of a single colour on the inside. While on the topic, I must add that the black carpets are extremely practical and will be easy to keep clean.

The new dashboard looks more contemporary and is functional too. The centre console and dome-shaped A/C vents help inject some freshness into this car's interiors. Yet, the interiors simply don't match the pizazz of the Hyundai Eon. As one would expect of an economy car, the plastics are economy grade, with the door armrests and map pockets feeling particularly cheap. The accelerator pedal doesn't even get a rubber cover! On the other hand, the steering wheel and switchgear have acceptable levels of quality. Silver accents do bring a little upmarket feel, while the A, B & C Pillars get plastic trim (no exposed metal here). The air-conditioner controls are identical to the older Alto, and the front power window switches are now placed in the center (just below the gear lever). Even though most interior parts are new, you'll notice a couple of bits & pieces from the old Alto. For a car of its price, the interior feels well-screwed together. There aren't obvious rough edges or loosely fitted components.

Driver visibility is good all around. The non cab-forward design means that the A-Pillars don't block frontal view. Lateral vision is satisfactory and the low rear seat means rearward visibility isn't bad either.

The Alto's seats are placed on the lower side. Egress isn't as easy as with other tallboy hatchbacks. Since the wheelbase & seat anchorage points are the same, there is no major change to the legroom. Headroom, however, has increased by 15 mm due to the taller roof. The limited width means that front seat occupants sit very close to each other and easily intrude into each other's space. Maruti has kept the door panels flat so as to maximise the interior width, but this is still an extremely narrow car. The upholstery is economy grade, yet it feels appropriate for a car of this price point. On the top Lxi variant, the door pads get fabric inserts. The front seats have a longer fore & aft travel range, releasing a good amount of leg space for front passengers. Even a 6' 2" tall driver like me had no problem fitting into the driver's seat. You can push the front seat all the way back only when the rear bench isn't occupied though. The small sized front seats are basic and nearly flat, with no contours or bolstering to speak of. Don't expect much support from them. Back support is very rudimentary...you can expect long journeys to be a tiring experience. The front seat's headrests have been combined into the seat back, just like in the Nano and Eon. No, they aren't a comfortable spot to rest your head on.

The 3-spoke airbag-equipped steering wheel is nice to hold. The horn pad stretches out wide enough and is effortless to access. Just like the old Alto, the steering wheel is placed on the lower side. Personally, I love low steering wheels, though there will be folk who may not like it this way. The steering is in a fixed position and doesn't have tilt adjustment (the Hyundai Eon does). Overall ergonomics are satisfactory and most controls are placed right where you'd expect them to be. The A-B-C pedals are comfortable and the gear shifter falls right into your hand. The power window switches positioned just below the gear lever will take some getting used to. The only analogue part of the instrument console is the speedometer. The fuel gauge is digital and right below it are the twin trip meters & odometer. The readouts are reasonably sized and thus, the digital data is easy to read. No temperature gauge, although you do get a warning light for an overheating engine. A cigarette lighter / 12v power socket is placed to the left of the steering rack. The driver side ORVM is manually adjustable from the inside. Shockingly, even the top-end LXi doesn't get an ORVM on the passenger side of the car. It's an optional add-on.

The slim front seats have scooped-in backs to release 15 mm more knee room for rear passengers. Still, the Alto's rear bench has very limited space. Fact is, the cheaper Tata Nano's rear seat has significantly more space & comfort. If you sit behind a tall front passenger, things will get terribly cramped. Legroom is only slightly improved over the ol' Alto, and the limited width means this car is a 4 seater at best. Also, the floor hump is of prominent height. The rear bench has a short seat-back that won't offer the required support to taller passengers. The rear headrests can only be used by smaller passengers or kids. Just like at the front, rear headroom has noticeably improved. On the other hand, the rear windows are smaller than in the outgoing car and don't let as much light into the back area.

The Alto 800 is equipped with a strong air-conditioner that cools the cabin sufficiently well. The A/C system is a full HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) unit. The center air-vents have no volume control but the circular vents on either side of the dashboard can be completely closed. No variant of the Alto comes with a music system from the factory. There is a single DIN slot to fit in an after-market stereo (as the one our test car was equipped with). The front doors have dedicated spots to install speakers.

In terms of storage, you'll find a rectangular cut-out above the glove box. This is a handy spot to store the odd items, as is the smaller cut-out below the hazard light switch. There is a medium size compartment right ahead of the gear lever which can hold a 1-liter water bottle (lying flat). You could place your mobile phone here; the area has dedicated coin holders too. To the right of the driver is another cubby hole on the dashboard. Only the driver's door gets a small map pocket. The glovebox is adequately wide & deep. However, the quality of construction is poor. Our test car's glovebox refused to close at times! The 177 liter boot is similar in size to the outgoing car and is par for the course in this segment. The rear seat can be folded down for more luggage, albeit there is no 60:40 split facility. Our test car was kitted with an el cheapo parcel tray that appears to have been built to serious cost targets.

Small black steering wheel is good to hold. Our test car was an LXi variant with the optional driver airbag:


Simple and easy-to-read instrument console. Digital fuel gauge with two trip meters. No tachometer or temperature gauge:


Dome top adds character to the dashboard. HVAC controls carried over from the ol' Alto. Audio head-unit isn't part of standard equipment:


Improved 5-speed gearbox is a pleasure to use:


Right below are the unmarked power window buttons. Their center placement takes some getting used to:


Thin budget seats aren't supportive. Integrated headrest / neck restraint. Funky upholstery design:


Foot well width is just about enough. No dead pedal. Accelerator doesn't get a rubber cover!


A-Pillar gets full plastic trim. Nice. No exposed metal here:


Intermittent wiper setting? Check:


LXi variant gets an internally-adjustable mirror. Only on the driver's side though:


Small map pocket on the driver's door. That, and the armrest, is of poor quality:


Medium-size glovebox:


Storage cubicle above the glovebox is a handy spot for the knick knacks:


No vanity mirror on the sun visors:


Shallow pocket (below the headlamp leveller) isn't particularly useful:


Cigarette lighter / 12v power socket placed to the left of the steering rack:


Fixed height seatbelts. Notice the outdated pull / push type door lock knobs:


Light doors open wide. You can also see the rear door pad here:


Maximum & minimum legroom:


Cabin space is similar to the outgoing car. Front seats have a longer fore & aft travel range:


Rear seat backrest is very short:


Thin front seat design releases 15 mm more kneeroom for rear occupants:


177 liter boot with a parcel tray:


Rear seat folds down for the times you need to lug more cargo. No split folding option though:
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Old 3rd November 2012, 20:37   #4
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Default Re: Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review

Heavily reworked F8D 3-cylinder engine. Check the air intake out. Engine bay appears to have enough room to take in the 1 liter K10 motor at a future date. Zero firewall insulation:


The 2012 Alto 800 is powered by the same 3 cylinder 796cc F8D engine. It gets some noteworthy changes here. To start with, the compression ratio has increased. The connecting rods & camshafts are made of lighter materials and there is a plastic air intake (instead of aluminium). Additionally, short skirt pistons and lower friction bearings have been utilised. This 12 valve engine makes 47 BHP (@ 6,000 rpm) and 69 Nm of torque (@ 3,500 rpm). That's about 1 horsepower and 7 Nm of torque more than the old Alto.

The biggest area of improvement is the peppier bottom end. The Alto's earlier jerkiness is nearly gone, and the engine feels livelier at low speeds. This makes the Alto 800 far easier to drive in urban traffic. The car pulls cleanly from idle speeds and is quick to respond to throttle input. In-city driveability & behaviour have greatly improved and this is exactly where owners will spend a maximum number of driving hours. It must be mentioned that the throttle is sensitive and it's important to maintain a steady right foot for a smooth drive. Midrange performance is similar to the old car, with the motor feeling peppy enough. This Alto is no tarmac burner on the open road though, and you need to really work the engine to keep pace with fast traffic. While it can cruise at 90 - 100 kph all day long, overtaking manoeuvers need to be carefully planned, as nearly every other car on the road has more power. Taking the engine to high rpm isn't a rewarding experience (unlike the revv-happy Alto K10).

The motor is sufficiently smooth at low revvs. In the midrange however, that typical 3-cylinder thrum becomes evident. The engine can get loud and even sound rather harsh at the top end (just like the old 800). There is no insulation in the engine compartment and the results are obvious. Post 100 km/h on the highway, the Alto 800 gets noisy. The Alto has an ARAI rating of 22.74 kpl, a significant improvement over the older car (19.7 kpl). This should be a big plus for price-conscious Alto 800 buyers, at least on paper. Amongst petrols, only the Tata Nano has a higher ARAI rating (25.4 kpl).

Where the previous Alto's gearbox was vague, the new transmission with "detent pin" tech is a joy to use. It has positive, sure slotting shifts that don't require much effort. The gears slot nicely and the throw isn't too long either. Importantly, the gear lever doesn't shake and dance with vibrations, like that of the Hyundai Eon. Gearshift quality feels great for a car of this price. The light clutch pedal has a lot of play at the top and engages with the slightest release. It will surely be tricky for beginners to master. Good thing that the engine is hard to stall.

The Alto 800 rides on puny high profile tyres mounted on small 12” rims. The front & rear dampers are now gas charged. The tweaked suspension and tall tyre sidewalls cushion bad stretches in an excellent manner. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this car was gliding over broken roads, even absorbing large potholes adequately well. Few entry level hatchbacks are known to offer a comfortable suspension. On the other hand, the short wheelbase Alto doesn't stay flat at speed. There is a noticeable amount of vertical movement on the highway. As is typical of softly tuned suspensions, ride quality does deteriorate with speed and is far from flat.

Being a raised car riding on puny tires, I expected the handling to be disappointing. In reality, the Alto's road manners are at acceptable levels and will keep the masses happy. Behaviour is predictable and the handling is safe enough, with no nasty surprises. The Alto is agile and a lot of fun to throw around at low - mid speeds. The small 4.6 meter turning radius is a boon, with the Maruti feeling as easy as a toy to drive within urban India. This is no driver's car though. Prod the Alto a little bit and she will respond with understeer. The thin 145 section tyres aren't grippy and start protesting early. The car easily gets unsettled on broken roads at higher speed. We strongly recommend a safe & reasonable tyre upsize. The Alto's high speed stability is strictly average. It is best to maintain safe cruising speeds of 80 - 90 kph. Over 100 kph, the car starts feeling nervous. The steering is just as you'd expect of an entry level hatchback. The electric power steering feels light enough in the city and is convenient to use. Around the center position though, it still remains vague. This vagueness is especially prominent at speed. The aggressively servo'ed brakes are easy to modulate. Braking performance is par for the course. Translated, it will do the job with a regular driving style, but isn't suited to hard driving. The Alto 800 retains composure under braking, though you should expect stopping distances to suffer because of the narrow tyre patch. We wish ABS was offered as an option (just like the driver airbag is).

160 mm of ground clearance may sound conservative on paper. However, the Alto has a short wheelbase. Usable clearance is generous and you can drive this car on bad roads without worry. Owners of the older Alto didn't complain of a lack of ground clearance either.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 20:37   #5
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Default Re: Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review

Other Points:

• Maruti offers a factory fitted CNG kit with an ARAI rating of 30.46 km/kg. The CNG variant is badged as the Alto Green. If you want economical commuting, CNG is an unbeatable option. Peculiarly, pricing depends on the variant you choose. The rates are 75,000 (base), 60,000 (LX) and 57,000 (LXi). Why? The CNG kit is the same, isn't it? To view pictures of Maruti's CNG kit on the old Alto, click here (Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)).

• A peculiar marketing strategy, where the newer body style gets a smaller engine and the old body style continues with the more powerful engine. This is similar to what Hyundai did with the Eon 0.8L & Santro 1.1L. There isn't a doubt that the K10 engine will eventually make it here, and the older body style will be phased out. Question is : When?

• Maruti currently has 4 "Altos" on sale; the old 800, Alto 800, Alto K10 and A-Star. Other manufacturers have sold - at best - 2 generations of the same model in India (Tata Indica, Tata Indigo, Hyundai Accent, Ford Fiesta, Skoda Octavia etc.).

• Available in 6 colours: Light blue, dark blue (LXi only), red, dark grey (LXi only), silver and white. There is no black or even an interesting yellow. Maruti should have experimented here.

• Grey or Brown interior colour choices only on the LXi variants of the light blue, white and silver cars. All of the others come with grey interiors.

• Along with the Figo & the old Alto, you can see a lot of A-Star design cues here.

• From the engine's state of tune and gearbox ratios, it's obvious that Maruti has focussed on fuel efficiency & city driveability.

• One reason behind choosing such a thin OEM tyre size is fuel economy. Ask a layman on the street what he prefers between higher fuel economy and better grip. Sadly, we know what the answer will be.

• The cost of the airbag option is Rs. 16,000 only. We highly recommend it. Your head is worth it .

• Unfortunately, you cannot buy the Lxi with an airbag and the CNG kit. Have to choose between one of them. Ridiculous!

• The base variant doesn’t even get fabric upholstery. It gets vinyl instead.

• BHPian Architect had spotted the JDM Alto being tested in Gurgaon (Link (SCOOP Pics! New Maruti Suzuki hatchback spotted testing. Badged as Alto)). Perhaps, the new Alto's engine & other components were being tested in that car?

• Look carefully at the front profile pictures and you'll notice that the RHS headlamp has fogged up. This was just after a rainy day and honestly, disappointing in a brand new car.

• Fuel tank capacity is 35 liters.

• No car from this segment is equipped with an rpm gauge. Surprising, because you'd think that fuel-efficiency is the most important to the entry-level category, and what better way to maximise it than by up-shifting at just the right rpm.

• Bookings of the new Alto 800 crossed 32,000 in ~2 weeks from launch. That's 5 months worth of Nano or Eon sales, and about 40 months worth of what the Chevrolet Spark is currently managing. Look at the Alto through the eyes of a first-time buyer and it's easy to understand why this is the best-selling car in India.

• No keyhole on the passenger side door. This is a practical feature that even the Tata Nano has.

• Big shoutout to Moderator Stratos for helping with the pictures!
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Old 3rd November 2012, 20:37   #6
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Default Re: Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review

The Smaller yet Significant things

A side shot of the cockpit:


Driver airbag is a hugely welcome option. Now, can we have ABS on entry-level cars please?


Circular vents are great at channelling air, and can be completely closed if required:


Hatch door gets two gas struts:


A 1 liter bottle fits in fine, although you have to make it lie down:


Coin & cup spots, next to the bottle holder pictured above:


Same 145/80 R12 tyre as a spare:


Fabric inserts inject some freshness to the otherwise boring door pads:


The Alto can accommodate a single-DIN after market stereo:


Cabin lamp placed at the front only. Carried over from the outgoing car:


Exposed screws? Uncool:


Front doors are "speaker ready":


Floor hump isn't too prominent. This is best used as a 4 seater car anyway:


Standard Maruti key:
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Old 3rd November 2012, 20:38   #7
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Default Re: Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review

Chief Competitors of the Maruti Alto 800

Hyundai Eon:

What you’ll like:
• Great looking, modern design for 3 lakhs. Makes other budget cars look outdated
Best-in-class interior quality, fit & finish. Excellent air-conditioner too
• Many segment first features (driver airbag, tilt steering, gear indicator etc.)
• Frugal 3 cylinder petrol engine delivers high fuel efficiency
• Big 215 liter boot has a practical layout
• Hyundai's excellent after-sales service

What you won’t:
• Shaky, vibrating gear lever at all speeds. Overall NVH is unimpressive
• Pricing is too close to other 4 cylinder hatchbacks (including the Santro). Top variant overpriced @ 3.71 lakh
• Ordinary commuter engine that doesn't really impress in any particular area
• Steering is too light & sensitive at highway speeds
• Hyundai's service costs are usually higher than that of the competition

Chevrolet Spark:

What you’ll like:
• Funky and youthful styling
• Good build quality
• Fuel-efficient engine
• Balanced ride and handling package
• Fun to drive nature

What you won’t:
• Inflated price tag
• Dull interiors
• Lack of rear bench space
• Inconsistent GM service

Hyundai Santro:

What you’ll like:
• An all-round urban hatchback
• Torquey and fuel-efficient engine
• Tall-boy benefits such as easy ingress, extra head-room etc
• High quality interiors
• Excellent Hyundai service

What you won’t:
• Outdated. Long in the tooth now
• Lackluster highway performance
• Bumpy ride quality
• Hard compound seats

Maruti Alto K10

What you’ll like:
• Power! 67 BHP (68 PS) in a 760 kg kerb weight car
• Thoroughly fun-to-drive hatchback
• Maruti Suzuki's 1.0 L K10 engine feels mature in this car
• NVH levels are surprisingly low for a 3-cylinder engine
• High fuel efficiency

What you won’t:
• Basic in nature, inside out
• Cramped interiors
• Small boot
• High speed handling & significant under-steer
• Lifeless steering

Tata Nano:

What you’ll like:
• Uniquely cute & cool styling. A car that will make you smile
• Innovative packaging results in spacious interiors for 4 adults. Generous legroom & headroom
• Peppy performance at speeds <80 kph. Engine offers good urban driveability too
• Small footprint & tiny turning radius make it immensely chuckable within the city
• Powerful air-conditioner will chill you to the bone
• 2012 Nano sees a lot of customer feedback being incorporated
• A proper car starting at a price of 1.40 lakhs only

What you won’t:
• Struggles on steep ghats (inclines) with passengers onboard. Will give up in some stop-go hilly conditions
• Missing essentials (no glove box, openable rear hatch, front disc brakes). Boot has a limited 80 liter capacity
• Low cost nature & quality are glaringly obvious
• Very heavy steering at parking speeds. Even top-variant doesn't get power steering
• Image of the "cheapest car in India / the world"
• Niggling problems as reported by existing Tata Nano owners
• Tata's sub-par after sales service experience
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Old 3rd November 2012, 21:10   #8
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Clap for a brilliant review. Rated five stars. Excellent re-packaging by Maruti for the India car.

I have two gripes though; rear bumper and no passenger side keyhole.

Request: can we have the mods do a comparo between Alto 800 and Eon. Thanks
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Old 3rd November 2012, 22:26   #9
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Default Re: Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review

WoW!! Nice review Indeed.

When GTO said that, "Couldn't provide analysis in the October month sales thread, as we are busy testing an important car, whose review would be up soon.", i suspected that they were reviewing this car. Didn't comment in that thread though. GTO, please correct me if i am wrong.

Anshuman, Thanks for a nice review indeed. Nice photographs.

I have couple of questions.
when the length of the car is reduced, how come it hasn't affected any dynamics? Is there any reason for reducing the length? Any benefits to the company in one or the other form, rather than saving on some kilo's of steel?

How would you rate this car, when compared to the existing Alto? Is it worth. Just curious to know because, this is more tall, and light. the earlier one is short, so more comfortable on freeways as the resistance would be less. Is this car could beat the old one when it comes to handling and on curvy roads?

Nice to hear that, 30K bookings.
Sad to see that the poor quality doors, boot and other stuff. Will it be able to hold up the day to day use? Lets wait and see.

Last edited by GTO : 4th November 2012 at 14:54. Reason: It's Anshuman's review!
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Old 3rd November 2012, 22:31   #10
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Default Re: Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review

Looks like they have improved it a lot over the old 800. Excellent review Anshuman.

Few points I noticed:

1. The older Alto had the plastic moulding on the A-pillar but was missing it on the B and C pillar. Now they have it on B and C pillar as well.
2. I know where the 45mm went in the rear. They removed the rear bumper overhang. I have bumped my Alto's rear bumper on a basement pillar, a lamp post, reversed into the Lancer parked behind but never had any damage to the hatch, just some scars on the black bumper. You cannot do that anymore with the new Alto.
3. It's good to know that they fixed the low speed jerking and improved the low rpm performance. Those 2 were the main reason's I sold the Alto. They just got me so frustrated while driving in traffic.

I still think it's a great car to throw around on non existing indian roads for rough use as a second beater car. No worries about parking, ground clearance, small taps in city traffic.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 22:55   #11
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Thumbs up Re: Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review

.anshuman, Very nice review of a very nice car...
400 points for the review and another 400 for the car = 800!

Overall, I believe this car is going to give the Alto brand the push that it required to get the sales back to where it was 8-12 months ago. Though it might not do the astounding 32-35K / month mark (old K10 included), it might very well be clocking 27-30K / month (old K10 included). How I wish Maruti to disclose the split between Alto and Alto K10 in their monthly sales figures!

I did take a detailed look at the LXi variant at RNS Motors and concur on the various aspects covered in the review.

The aspects that let me down were:
  • R12 Sized Tyres
  • Average backseat comfort (both seat and backrest)
  • Lack of Power Steering in mid variant
  • Outdated pull / push type door lock knobs
I tried recalling the good old days when I used to drive a Maruti 800 (2004 make). Though I haven't driven the new Alto 800, I spent about 8-10 mins inside the car and I somehow got a feeling that the new Alto 800 is ONLY as spacious (front seating, rear seating) as the Maruti 800, despite that the new Alto 800 has a wheelbase 18+ cm longer than the Maruti 800.

This new model, if I recall right, was being worked upon even before the launch of Hyundai Eon (remember seeing pictures, spy-shots and renderings). Fortunately Maruti Suzuki has done a good amount of redesigning of the exteriors when compared to the mediocre looking model in the spy-shots.

To sum-up, Maruti Suzuki doesn't really go wrong in this segment. And I don't think that this new Alto 800 will let them or for that matter let the first time car buyer down. And with the K10 engine in (hopefully by 2013) this might attract non-first time car buyers too.

Thanks,
C_
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Old 3rd November 2012, 23:05   #12
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Default Re: Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review

Excellent review, very indepth. If M800 was the original hero, Alto 800 is a worthy successor. I find this version as the cutest one! The disappointment is the passenger side keyhole, tyre sizes even for the top end. Pricing is just spot on. Big plus is the mileage- both on Petrol and CNG.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 23:56   #13
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Default Re: Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review

Excellent to the point review!

I really like how Maruti keeps the aam junta in mind and designs no nonsense cheap cars, but am really disappointed that how they have dived in the parts bin and come up with components from the past to piece together a new car. Never liked the plastic quality in my dad's 800 or uncle's 800/WagonR, and no big change from that as I see.

Still - a very competent entry level hatch, which can really use some better tires.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 23:59   #14
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Default Re: Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review

Excellent review, great photos as well.
As a second car, we had booked the Alto800 couple of days back. Which would you suggest between the Alto800 and Alto K10, mainly for city drives.
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Old 4th November 2012, 00:09   #15
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Default Re: Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review

I am sure this report would help thousands of prospective buyers as the other classy T-Bhp reviews. Saw the car personally today @ a loan mela where the face lifted Alto, Figo, Spark were parked side by side. At the first look the 800's stance felt strange.Mostly due to the unusual height. The Paint quality felt good and the interiors better put together. Its a no-brainer that this is going to sell hard. Although the tyres appeared too puny. One must go for an upgrade.

Off topic: The Alloys of the new figo and the front changes of the chevy spark looked good!

Last edited by Blow Horn Ok : 4th November 2012 at 00:11.
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