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Old 27th August 2012, 13:51   #1
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Default The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes

It has been a little more than two months and 2.5k on the odometer that I have been driving around my little beauty of an Alto K10 and feel have sufficient miles on it to pen an initial ownership report. The icing on the cake (or this report) is the recent drive to Coorg that I did along with the wife and our daughter. However, before I jump into the report, thanks Team BHP for admitting me as a member making it possible for me to wax eloquent about my ride!

The search begins

We are a family of three (the third member being our infant daughter) and were looking for a budget hatch to fit snugly into our modest budget. Having said that, I wasn’t ready to settle for something anemic either which just putters around; I wanted something which could pull its weight and put a grin on my face. While we were willing to go upto 5 lakhs, with petrol prices on helium, it didn’t make sense to stretch our budget for a petrol model and come within striking distance of a diesel when I really didn’t want to sacrifice performance by settling for an entry level diesel (read Chevy Beat – didn’t really consider horses from the Tata stable). The fact that I would not be driving every day to work also helped settle the case against a diesel. I personally consider the Punto to be the classiest hatch but with budget not permitting, we quickly zeroed in on the K-Series warriors from Suzuki.

Our first foray was to the Bimal showroom on Old Airport road and the copper colored K10 really caught my eye. The bold front profile accentuated by the swept back indicator light design promised a mischievous spirit just waiting to be let loose. The K10 is a tad longer than its cousin, the Alto and the overall styling is also sporty, lending a more contemporary look to what is essentially more than a decade old design. The TD car was not available at Bimal and like eager beavers, we made the trip to Lavelle road in the evening to Mandovi motors seeking a TD and boy was it worth it! The ‘pocket rocket’ was like an Irish setter, just waiting to be revved so that it could leap forward. The throttle response is just amazing and at second gear, one gets a go-kart like feeling in city traffic. I had a big grin on my face after the TD and we proceeded with the mandatory wrangling over discounts and freebies with the sales guy. Maruti had a 30k discount going on all Alto models which promised to sweeten the deal even further.

We were almost sold on the deal but not before we had checked out the latest kid on the small car block, the Brio from Honda. As we trooped into the Honda showroom on Lavelle road the stark difference between a proletarian Maruti showroom and the posh environs of a Honda outlet was stark. The Brio stared us in the face, with its crome toothed grill and shiny glass hatch. We TD it and the peppy i-Vtec engine immediately made its presence felt. It had a compact design (although the rear profile was a little toy like) and the interiors were spacious and didn’t have the plasticky feel of a sub 5 lakh car. What scored against the Brio was that it would make us push up against the outer limits of our budget and we would still end up with the base model sans all the bells and whistles. The thought of rising petrol prices again rang alarm bells.

We rounded off our search with the Chevy beat, you guessed it, with its bug eyed front heavy design and mobike inspited instrument cluster. The four pot engine purred smoothly and the ride quality was definitely a notch above the K10, however driving it didn’t make my heart skip a beat and the downright dark and cavernous feeling in the backseat meant the Beat lost out on precious brownie points. We ruled out the Diesel option as I didn’t plan to drive daily to work and this one was as tame as vanilla vodka. After all, if running costs were everything, this country would have been overrun by Revas and Nanos!

Despite my heart being sold onto the K10 – right from the price to FE to downright heart pounding performance, we made one final pitch for the Brio, primarily because the wife had taken a liking for its cute design and sense of space. I was also not averse as a Brio meant buying into the superb i-Vtec engine which does duty under the hood of the superhatch Jazz. We bargained hard with our game faces on which read ‘we can walk away from the deal any moment’…and that’s what we ended up doing as no substantial cash discount/freebies were in the offing. In the meanwhile, we had entered into talks with Leo Motors, the latest Maruti dealership to set up shop in Indiranagar and had decided to deal with them rather than Bimal Motors as the latter seemed they could do without selling one more Alto with their lukewarm approach and failure to follow up. The stage was thus almost set to usher in the latest entrant into our family.

Sealing the deal

Finally on 2nd June, I signed the dotted line for our very own ‘Silky silver’ Alto K10 VXI. I made sure that it was of recent manufacture (April in this case) and did a thorough PDI courtesy Team BHP’s tips on this subject. I got a JVC KD R536 head unit, CS-V427 speakers, art leather seat covers and steering wheel cover, day night RVM and body cover, all for a tidy sum of 16k. This was over and above the on road price of 3.75 lakhs. Freebies from Leo included mud flaps, floor mats, perfume and idol and the overall experience with them was quite positive, with the sales team courteous and eager to deliver on their promises. The K10 was finally ours!

The bare facts

To someone who cut his teeth on the good old Amby with its tank like driving experience, an all aluminum free revving engine is a definite move up in life. But even allowing for my strictly austere love life (with cars I mean!) the K10 feels like a true drivers’ car. The engine just begs to be revved and although one can upshift to 3rd at 35 kmph and hit 4th in the early forties, I have pushed her beyond 60 in 2nd taking her all the way to the magical three digit mark in 3ed without breaking a sweat. The light frame is the secret of the K10’s power to weight ratio and contributes to her being the first off the blocks when the light turns green. The build quality is flimsy and the interiors spartan but what you pay for is what you get. The panel gaps are a little on the wider side and they suck in air gustily at expressway speeds.

Getting down to business

The handling could have been better (she strays a little to the left and the steering lacks confidence beyond the three figure mark) but she just loves to be thrown around corners. I have found her to grip the asphalt like a limpet and her low stance means minimal body roll. I still can’t get over how quickly she climbs to 80 and always wonder if the speedo has gone bonkers. If sedate is your style, quickly climb to 5th in the sixties and cruise your way up, letting the 3 pot work its way into an angry drone. If you watch your FE as hawkishly as a nubile thing her carbs, keep the revvs in the 1500 – 2500 zone and you should get upwards of 15 kmpl with no a/c, but then this car was made to bust a few speed limits and you coax peak performance between the 3000 – 4500 mark as she flies like a projectile out of a catapult as you upshift after you have maxed out at the lower gear. She can get you the most bang for the buck with 20 + kmpl on the highways but if you spice things up with some spirited maneuvers and generally raise hell, the FE drops by about 2 kmpl. You can mitigate this by using the a/c judiciously at lower blower speeds as the chill sets in no time with minimal drop in performance. Low end power is a problem though when you slum through city traffic and takes some getting used to. Expect to some heavy stick action as you continually work through the gears to keep her revvs from falling below the 1500 mark as below this, her lungs gasp for breath and I have stalled her on a few occasions when I was getting to know her, much to my embarrassment!

The significant others

The a/c, as mentioned is a class act and chills almost instantly. You may have to drop to a lower gear to cajole her but that’s about it. The front power windows are fab even as the back windows can be rolled only 3/4th of their way down. The gear shift is a little rubbery and shifting to reverse can be a pain in the wrong place but Maruti would have us believe that this is ‘the all new cable type transmission’. The plastics are really plasticky and this would absolutely be the wrong car if creature comforts are your thing. Invest in this only if you buy it for the right reasons, that being if you’re looking to drive and not be driven around!

The journey so far

Our first foray out of town was to Chikmaglur and the drive was sedate by my standards! I resisted the temptation of driving with a heavy right foot as I wanted to run the engine in well and drove well within myself, varying the speed between 70 – 90 and never exceeding 100. I let her show some enthusiasm while driving back and even did some quick overtaking maneuvers! The trick is to blip the throttle, quickly downshift to 3rd/4th from overdrive, depending on what window of opportunity you have to overtake and then shift up again. As mentioned previously, the throttle response is immediate as she leaps forward enthusiastically, showing a clean pair of heels to wheels a couple of notches above her category. Our latest drive was to Coorg and the roads were a dream to drive on. Will post the travelogue and pics soon in the relevant thread.
Attached Thumbnails
The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes-dsc00173.jpg  

The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes-dsc00174.jpg  

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The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes-dsc00439.jpg  

The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes-dsc00441.jpg  

The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes-dsc00445.jpg  

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The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes-dsc00451.jpg  


Last edited by GTO : 27th August 2012 at 19:29. Reason: Adding spaces for better readability
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Old 27th August 2012, 17:47   #2
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Wow! That's a fantastic writeup. Wonderful detailed report which reflects the enthusiast in you. Congratulations on your new acquisition.

Does the VXi variant costs only 3.75L on road? I remember seeing a variant of Alto which crosses 4L on road in the pricelist. How are the bumps handled at backseat in Alto compared to Brio? The backseat ride little was bumpy in Brio during the TD.

Last edited by guyfrmblr : 27th August 2012 at 17:48.
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Old 27th August 2012, 20:00   #3
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Default Re: The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes

A write up worthy of the pocket rocket!! I have experienced every feeling you have penned down in this report. The k10 is a true pocket rocket. We were looking for a replacement car for dad after we gave the verna to my BIL when we stumbled upon the k10. We were looking for cars which could do the daily market run for us and would be easy for dad to drive in the maddening traffic of chennai. Armed with a flexible budget starting from 10 lakhs we finally got the k10!! It is a thrill to drive the car and my dad grins when he puts the car through its paces!!
And sir are you experiencing any clutch judder in lower rpms? Mine judders like a possessed person in first and second gears!!
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Old 27th August 2012, 20:30   #4
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Default Re: The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes

Wonderful review.Congrats on the car.The K10 is my favourite too.I think it's great value for money and superb to drive in the city and highways without sacrificing too much money.Wish you thousands of troublefree and happy motoring miles.Cute kid too :-)
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Old 27th August 2012, 20:59   #5
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Default Re: The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes

Hothatchaway,
Congrats on your K10 !
Alto K10 is a car which is practical car as well as a car that an enthusiast would defenitly love.
Nice ownership review ! You have covered almost all aspects in your review and I liked the the bare facts section and the getting down to business section the most.
Special mention:-Your infant daughter looks cute !
Drive Safe
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Old 27th August 2012, 23:52   #6
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Default Re: The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes

Congrats on your purchase. The K10 does impress in a straight line, it pulls very well. Only if the steering was a bit more weighted. It felt a bit too flimsy. But you cant beat it at the price point!
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Old 28th August 2012, 09:27   #7
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Default Re: The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes

hothatchway:Congrats on your purchase.Alto K10 is indeed a good car.I liked clarity of thoughts when Honda Brio was in race for your selection alongwith K10.There are many cars with different models,specs,attraction and discount.It is important how you map your requirements with the same.You have done this beautifully.Good lesson for new 'Budet' car buyers.
Another good part of your story is use of some wonderful words without making your writing 'too heavy' to read!!I read entire experience without blinking my eye,Excellent writeup.

Enjoy happy and safe driving!
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Old 28th August 2012, 10:25   #8
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Default Re: The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes

Congratulations hothatchaway for your new K-10. Your daughter seems to be as interested in the car as you! Did you ever consider Chevy Spark while car surfing? It sure is a good option. What tires does the K-10 come with? Have you thought of upgrading them? 2.5K in less than 3 months is some driving definitely, I have done only 800 in 4 months. After reading your ownership review I really feel like writing down my experience too.
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Old 28th August 2012, 10:43   #9
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Default Re: The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes

Congrats on the new buy,

My dad too owns the K10. I never thought much of it before i drove it. but this car really takes you by surprise with its peppyness. Really good buy.

Congrats on your buy
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Old 28th August 2012, 10:46   #10
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Default Re: The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes

Congratulations on your new K10. Thats the best avalailable option in its price range. An excellent write-up and great set of pics act as the icing to the cake.
Take Care and Drive Safe!
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Old 28th August 2012, 11:05   #11
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Default Re: The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes

Congratulations for the new car! Did you not consider the Hyundai EON?
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Old 28th August 2012, 11:27   #12
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Default Re: The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes

This review seems to originate from heart with a lot of help from brain as well. Itwas indeed a pleasure reading it.

I too have got a K10 from November 2010 and is being used by my Wife. She had Alto LX prior to that which serviced us for 60000 kms and 5 years before we exchanged it with the K10.

The main and only reason to replace the Alto was the lack of power steering. I did a few TDs of various cars but wife was adamant on getting another Alto with power steering. I never liked the look of Alto but the increased length gave the K10 the desired proportions. Finally we replaced our trusted companion with K10.

Since then I get to drive it during the weekends and always have the (same) grin on my face every time I take it out. Yes, the steering is very light but it is absolutely fun to drive once you are used to it.

Once I saw my wife ahead of me coming back from office and I tried catching her with my Swift. I failed to do so and she refused to accept that she was driving fast.

A lovely car indeed!
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Old 28th August 2012, 12:39   #13
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Default Re: The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes

Nice crisp review. Congrats hothatchaway. It was pleasure reading. Liked the way you went about shortlisting the competitors

Wish she serves you for many miles. Do keep updating your thread
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Old 28th August 2012, 13:31   #14
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Default Re: The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes

Quote:
Originally Posted by guyfrmblr View Post
Wow! That's a fantastic writeup. Wonderful detailed report which reflects the enthusiast in you. Congratulations on your new acquisition.

Does the VXi variant costs only 3.75L on road? I remember seeing a variant of Alto which crosses 4L on road in the pricelist. How are the bumps handled at backseat in Alto compared to Brio? The backseat ride little was bumpy in Brio during the TD.
Thanks guyfrmblr, I got a cash discount of 30k which MSIL was offering on all Alto variants at the time in addition to a 3k corp. discount which sweetened the deal! The K10 will unfortunately make you feel every undulation on the road and there are times I grimace more at the sound this flighty beauty makes going into and over potholes than the bump itself! Being a real weight watcher, she sure gives you a rocky ride. Cant comment on the rear seat ride quality though as am always in the driver's seat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anandv267 View Post
A write up worthy of the pocket rocket!! I have experienced every feeling you have penned down in this report. The k10 is a true pocket rocket. We were looking for a replacement car for dad after we gave the verna to my BIL when we stumbled upon the k10. We were looking for cars which could do the daily market run for us and would be easy for dad to drive in the maddening traffic of chennai. Armed with a flexible budget starting from 10 lakhs we finally got the k10!! It is a thrill to drive the car and my dad grins when he puts the car through its paces!!
And sir are you experiencing any clutch judder in lower rpms? Mine judders like a possessed person in first and second gears!!
Hi Anandv267, try and not let the revvs fall below 1.5k and that should do the trick, I suspect you may be inadvertently 'lugging' the engine. For the K10 to bewitch you even when you had a war chest of 10l, you must be smitten with her!

Thanks Sumeethaldankar, Vishnunarayan, wantarangerover and siddharthp for your kind comments
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Old 28th August 2012, 14:35   #15
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Default Re: The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Big smiles for a few dimes

Quote:
Originally Posted by hothatchaway View Post
Hi Anandv267, try and not let the revvs fall below 1.5k and that should do the trick, I suspect you may be inadvertently 'lugging' the engine. For the K10 to bewitch you even when you had a war chest of 10l, you must be smitten with her!
I will try doing that. And true. I was completely blown away and so was my dad. I am waiting for him to give me the go ahead to mod it.
BTW are you planning any mods? Alloys&rubber, FFE etc?
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