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Old 10th June 2011, 12:12   #1
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Default Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)

Introduction

I finally have something to post after 5 years of being a member. I lay claim to the title of the biggest lurker on team-bhp - 50 posts in 5 years.

I have bought a new Alto CNG Lxi version in White. I started a new job and now have to drive from Dwarka to Noida. What that means is a drive of 75km daily with another 100-200km on the weekends. After a few months, I will start construction on my house, which will result in all kinds of crazy mileage.

My dad also have a drive of 45km daily (we are a crazy family).

He was using a WagonR LPG, which I had bought in Hyderabad before going in for further studies. So with greater mileage, I started using the WagonR with him using the Civic. The costs of fuel were going through the roof.

Civic - Rs. 7,200 (45km * 25 days * Rs. 64/ 10 kmpl)
WagonR - Rs. 6,700 (75km * 25 days * Rs. 39 / 11 kmpl)
Total - Rs. 13,900

With this purchase, he will go back to using the WagonR

WagonR - Rs. 4,000 (45km * 25 days * Rs. 39/ 11kmpl)
Alto - Rs. 1900 (75km * 25 days * Rs. 29 / 29 kmpkg)
Total - Rs. 5,900

Savings - Rs 8,000 (Rs. 96,000 per year)
Stupid calculations show break-even at 3.5 years but it will be sooner than that with Civic and WagonR both having higher maintenance costs. Discounting the investment also needs to be done, but I can't be bothered. Rough calculations puts it at 3-4 years.

Background

I own/used to own

- 1986 Maruti Suzuki 800 (90,000 km) - Still own and use it
- 2006 Maruti Suzuki WagonR Duo Lxi (51,000 km) - Bought it in Hyderabad. Using it now in Delhi
- 2007 Honda Civic Automatic - Using it
- 1998 Maruti Esteem - Sold it
- Ford Focus - Only in the US
- Mazda 3 - Only in the US
- Hyundai Tuscon - Only in the US

This is my long term experience with various cars. My philosophy with cars has always been more functional than aesthetic. I can live without Power windows or other knick-knacks. The three essential items are Reliability, A/C and Power Steering.

Options

The cars which were considered were

- Buying a second-hand car and installing a CNG kit. Rejected because of reliability issues.
- Santro CNG. Rejected because it was a dealer fitment instead of being factory fitted.
- Aveo CNG. Rejected because of the cost. I really did not need a bigger car. I have the Civic for that.
- WagonR CNG. Rejected because it was Rs. 1 lakh more than Alto.
- Diesel vehicles. Rejected because needed something cheaper than Diesel.

So I was basically looking for a beater vehicle. Read up on team-bhp that Maruti CNG kits were using a new technology with Dual ECU and reinforced suspension. I don't need any boot space and it will be occupied by only me or 1 more passenger 99% of the time.

Booking

So decided on Alto Lxi CNG in White. Both my father and I were skeptical on whether Alto CNG will be under-powered with a/c. Went to a few neighborhood dealers and booked at the cheapest one. None of them were offering a test drive of any CNG vehicles, so this was a gamble. Booking to driving out of the showroom took around 4 hours.

Total cost - Rs. 3,56,000
Freebies - Floor Mats, Mud Flaps, Steering cover, Kenwood HU with shitty JVC speakers.

Asked the dealer to remove the ICE and give me a cash discount, but none of them agreed to that. It had 3 points of CNG already in it and they put in another 3 liters of petrol.

Initial Impressions

I have been driving the car for the past four days. Current mileage is 350km. The car is definitely under-powered and takes some getting used to. It requires a lot more gear shifts than the WagonR. It is much better in petrol mode.

Climbing a flyover can only happen in 3rd gear and sometimes in 4th. A/C is highly effective and super chills in a few minutes so no complaints there.

Too early to comment on fuel consumption but its around 24-25 km/kg. Had the second fill-up today morning so will know the real figure in a few days.

Filling up CNG is an art which I have yet to master. One has to time it perfectly with all the stars aligned to get out of the pump in under 10 min.

Conclusion

It's holding up to the promise of a cheap drive. It is slow in an irritating sort of way, the actual drive time is not affected. A/C is really effective.

If you have any specific questions, shoot...

Last edited by smokie : 10th June 2011 at 12:16.
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Old 10th June 2011, 12:40   #2
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Default Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)

Even for a lakh more I would have gone in for WagonR CNG since Alto even with Petrol is hugely underpowered. Do update us with the performance of the car.
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Old 10th June 2011, 13:09   #3
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Default Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)

Congrats on the buy!! wish you have hassle free ride in it.
And something contradicts here , your handle and the car you bought
Pictures please!!
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Old 10th June 2011, 13:22   #4
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Default Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)

hey bro. first of all. congrats on your purchase. Even i was contemplating going for the Alto CNG. I thought of trading my 2009 Hyunda Accent Executive for an Alto. Went to the dealer for a TD. Was quite ok with it being underpowered.

Then the salesperson at the dealer suggested that why not install a CNG in my accent itself. You get a bigger car and a bit more power than Alto. Was a good guy IMO.

Installed a Lovato CNG in my accent itself. Gives a mileage of around 15 km / kg.

Even i am trying to master the art of filling cng at pumping without much waiting.

but overall its good if you have a daily drive of 50km +. Only problem is driving uphill. you need to switch off the AC if you have 4 persons in the car.

how much does an alto give in one tank of cng?

Last edited by honda_dude : 10th June 2011 at 13:24. Reason: added one line
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Old 10th June 2011, 13:22   #5
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Default Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)

@BulZire - Thanks! Well I really hope it doesn't go up in smokes. The CNG tank is ominously huge . Tires are not the only source of smoke.

It looks like a regular Alto. Do you really want to see pics of a White Alto? If anyone is interested in tank or engine bay pics let me know.

@akhilesh - It really depends. I spend better part of the evening in stop and go traffic. Power doesn't play any part there. In the mornings it takes me 45km to do 37km whereas the same distance in the evenings takes me 1.5 hours. So for daily city traffic drives, it feels OK. The car will never touch any highway, I have other cars for that.

One thing which might be an irritant for some is that you need to keep it in the right gear. For people who are used to diesels or cars with high torque this might be a problem. I grew up on the 800, so it's fine with me. I also have no problem with people overtaking and zipping around, except if it's a hot girl, then it's turbo mode all the way.

@honda_dude - First tank full gave around 210km. Filled her up again today for the second time with 8.5 kgs. My guess would be somewhere around 250-300.

Last edited by smokie : 10th June 2011 at 13:27.
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Old 10th June 2011, 13:37   #6
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Default Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)

" The three essential items are Reliability, A/C and Power Steering "

Smokie - I completely identify with the essentials. But I definately miss the reliability factor in my 6 yr old rare one.

Congratulations ! Have a happy drive with your ride, always. Where are the pictures ?
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Old 10th June 2011, 14:18   #7
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Default Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)

I didn't realize the demand for Alto pics. I will post a few once I get back home. I am getting it pimped tomorrow (read as getting tints and gear lock). Will post more pics after that.

Any other suggested mods?
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Old 10th June 2011, 14:20   #8
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Default Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)

Congratulations smokie for you Alto green. This is probably the first Alto green review here on team-bhp.

Please do add pictures of your car.

I wish you several years of happy and safe driving.
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Old 10th June 2011, 16:15   #9
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Default Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)

Congratulations on the new ride, wish you long safe drives.

Quick question if someone drives about 1000 Kms a month how much savings would turn out to be? Sorry if this info is already there didn't gather from the earlier posts.
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Old 10th June 2011, 16:35   #10
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Default Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)

@bluevolt - Thanks!

@mayank - Thanks!

Here are some approx cost of running. These are just indicative and only includes fuel costs. There are other costs such as maintenance and cost of capital which also have to be accounted for. Also the vehicle should also be a good fit to the actual usage.

Alto CNG - Rs. 1.1/km
WagonR LPG - Rs. 3.5/km
Civic - Rs. 6.3/km
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Old 10th June 2011, 19:09   #11
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Default Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)

Quote:
Originally Posted by smokie View Post
Alto CNG - Rs. 1.1/km
WagonR LPG - Rs. 3.5/km
Civic - Rs. 6.3/km
Hey Smokie,

Welcome to the CNG bandwagon.

Just so that you know, the CNG cost per km seems to be Rs.1.10 per km. To my surprise (and chagrin?) I found that my SX4 green also sips another rupee or so of petrol on the sly. Since all the starts are on petrol for such cars, eventually you do have to tank up on petrol too!

But none the less it is still much lighter on the wallet. I am guessing that with your running you must be visiting the CNG vend every other day.

Last edited by LithiumSunset : 10th June 2011 at 19:11.
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Old 10th June 2011, 19:35   #12
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Default Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)

@Lithium - Thanks for the welcome to the club. I guess the club headquarters will be some petrol bunk?

It's been only been 4 days and today was only the second time I filled her up with CNG so don't yet know the filling up schedule. My guesstimate would be somewhere around 3.5 days so it runs out of fuel on the way back on the fourth day. Run back home on petrol feeling the cost but enjoying the sudden euphoria from increased speed!

I am keeping track of both Petrol and CNG costs in a spreadsheet, so within a couple of months will have an accurate picture of the running costs.
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Old 11th June 2011, 00:43   #13
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Default Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)

@smokie;
Congratulations alot for buying the new Economy & enviornment friendly king i.e Alto CNG.
Do post some of the good quality photographs of its CNG kit & other differing components(like Engine bay, CNG Switchgear, CNG cylinder, etc) w.r.t conventional Petrol engined car.
& From your above posts you seems to be satisfied with it Power/performance !
Please do Comment on this.
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Old 11th June 2011, 01:04   #14
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Default Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)

Congratulations Smokie!! Drive safe and a few pictures of the car would be highly welcome including the Kit, cylinder and all CNG related components.


A few tips on getting a quick fill of CNG.

1. Problem increases in summers, during winters most lines vanish.
2. Go late at night (post dinner) or early morning.
3. Send the driver before he parks the car for the day. (This is the best option)
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Old 11th June 2011, 11:25   #15
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Default Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi Green (CNG)

Quote:
Originally Posted by smokie View Post
I started a new job and now have to drive from Dwarka to Noida.
First things first, thats one hell of a commute man!

About the 'green' Alto. Congrats! and sure it will save you a packet on a daily basis but like you said in the opening post, breakeven would be a good 3-4 years away. Nonetheless, Alto makes for a great city commuter for 2-3 people.

The AC too is quite effective, good for the Delhi heat. I thought CNG filling was getting better as the days passed. The queues seem to be getting shorter, might be the time as well. I see longer queues during mornings/evening than afternoons.

Wish you a trouble free ownership.
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