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Old 20th April 2020, 00:24   #1
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Default 14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi

This long-term ownership review is for the Maruti Suzuki Alto Lxi, in this specific case the 2005 manufactured model. A brief history of this car, the M.S Alto has been in production since 2000 and has had different variants and over its production run has had some enhancements to keep the car relevant to the buyer, so it is important to know that what you see as standard features in today’s market available version are not the same as what was offered years ago. It’s target buyer was and is the first time car owner wanting a car with a low cost of ownership and maintenance and good reliability, which is the selling point of the car. The Indian version of the Alto is based on the 5th Generation Japanese Alto and in its form in India has had a successful run for Maruti Suzuki. I’ll start with specifications and then proceed to what makes it a good car and what to watch out for.

Vehicle Manufacturer: Maruti Suzuki
Vehicle Model: Alto
Variant: Lxi
Year of Manufacture and Purchase: 2005

Specifications
3 Cylinder, 798 c.c engine with an output of 47 Hp and Torque of 62Nm (If my recollection is correct)
Multi Point Fuel Injection (3 fuel injectors, 1 per cylinder)
Transmission – Manual 5 speed (5 forward and 1 reverse)
Seating Capacity 5 (2 bucket seats in the front for driver and passenger and 1 bench seat in the rear)
Fuel Capacity 35 litres
Front and Rear Tyres 145/80 R12
Wheelbase 2360mm
Braking – Front Disc brakes and rear drum brakes (Does not have ABS, EBD or Brake assist)

What I like about the car
1) Low cost of Initial Ownership
2) Low cost of both short term and long-term maintenance
3) Easy in drivability. If you are a first-time car driver, there is little to worry about with this car
4) Good fuel economy (At an age of 14 years, with 1.24 lakh kilometers on the Odometer, my car still delivers 16 – 18 kmpl within the city with air conditioning and 18 – 20 kmpl on the highway with air conditioning, if driven at an average of 70 – 80 kmph)
5) Ease to find original spares
6) Well recognized as an entry level car and very reliable for its price point


What I dislike about the car
1) Lack of Space. Firstly, this car is not very suited for 5 passengers. 4 passengers is the most you should have. Even with 4 passengers, leg room in the back is a challenge. You have to adjust the front seats correctly to optimize space for front and rear
2) Build quality. Admitted that it is easy on the pocket, but Maruti Suzuki did not perform good quality control. There are fitment issues with plastics and also with parts such as the bumper and radiator brackets
3) Engine can struggle when the air conditioning is turned on
4) Low ground clearance. At 160mm, you have to be careful about where you take this car, especially if it a water logged road, be careful about driving in
5) Lack of basic standard features such as ORVM (Outer Rear View Mirrors) on both sides. In the 2005 model, you only got a driver side mirror. No rear window defogger. No internal trunk release option (The 2005 Lx and Vxi had them)
6) Body panels are fragile and even slightest impact can incur dents and panel damages

Booking and Delivery Experience
Purchased from R.K.S Saboo Motors, Raj Bhavan Road, Hyderabad. Experience with dealer was positive. The sales agent provided all relevant information, comparison between variants, simplified the paper work and transaction. No delays in booking to delivery and in my case owing to my mother’s insistence that I not drive the car till the obligatory puja ceremony, when I asked, they offered to have a technician drive the car home with me. All required documents such as invoices, owner’s manuals, free service booklet and other paraphernalia was handed over with the vehicle along with accessories such as tire changing toolkit. I did not do a separate booking and separate delivery. I had purchased the car at full cost and had submitted the payment in cash with the understanding that I would receive a same day delivery of the vehicle (Keep in mind, this was 2005, so rules for cash transactions were different. I had withdrawn the amount that same morning from the bank after confirming over the phone with the dealer that they accept cash payment).

Alternatives considered and why this car was chosen
The Tata Indica V2 and the Hyundai Santro were the closest contenders. The Indica with it’s diesel engine was not an appealing choice for me and Tata’s build quality then was inferior to Maruti Suzuki’s. The Hyundai Santro was a strong contender and considering I had the finances to purchase it, I could have opted for it with some financing included, but my consideration was to own a car cash down. So, please keep in mind that my reason for choosing the Alto was price driven and not feature driven. If I had to make a choice between the two cars on the merit of specifications and build quality, I would choose the Hyundai Santro. Mine was an emotional decision rather than a practical one.

On Road Price, Discounts, Extended Warranties and Service Packages
Ex-Showroom price 2.9 Lakh
Insurance 27K
Road Tax 36K
No option for extended warranty and no options for service packages at time of sale in 2005

Usage
This car has been mixed use. It has served in the role of both a daily driver to work and back and has seen duties on the highway (All though with just myself and one passenger). Currently drive for 1.24 Lakh kilometers and an average usage of 20 kilometers per day within the city. I work night shifts so predominantly the car has seen evening and night time usage with lesser traffic so my average speed to and from work has been very stable resulting in good fuel economy. On national highways, the car has been pushed to 100kmph where permitted.

Overall Build, Fit, Finish, Panel Gaps and quality

You get what you pay for. There are some issues with plastics fit and finish. Keep in mind that these plastics were not as good as what you got in the Hyundai Santro of the time, but were better than what you got in a Tata Indica of that time. The issue was lose gromets / screws, improperly fastened radiator clamp in my case.

Driving Position, Ergonomics, Visibility and Controls
The 2005 edition came with an all analog dashboard comprising of engine temperature gauge to the left, Speedometer with integrated milometer and trip meter with a selection button to switch between the two. A long press of the selection button reset the trip meter and it could only show 1 trip. To the right comes the fuel gauge and within the dashboard are lights for handbrake, fuel, battery status, indicators. Driving position is optimal for a small vehicle of its size with an upright driving posture being the best suited rather than a reclined driver’s seat. Visibility is great on all sides owing to large windscreens and windows for this vehicle and your only blindspot will be towards the rear left (Away from the driver) which can be mitigate with the use of the ORVM. Controls are all placed very easily accessible to the driver. Winsdscreen wiper and headlight control stalks are present on the steering column, air conditioning controls towards the left of the driver at the center of the dashboard with the option for a dual din head unit that can be installed. Gear lever and handbrake are easily reachable irrespective of whether your seat is pushed forward or all the way back. Headlamp leveling control is to the right of the steering and the hazard light controls are behind the steering in front of the dashboard.

Air Conditioner
Believe the air-conditioner was borrowed from the Wagon R and given the smaller cabin space of the Alto, the air conditioner is effective, but it does have a noticeable impact on the small engine the car is equipped with. In most seasons you will find the AC most suited at level 2 out of 4. Peak summer afternoons may require you to push it all the way up to 4. There is no climate control, the air conditioner is manual control. One thing to be noted is that you can pick the cooling efficiency via a dial which was not a feature in the Tata Indica of its time. You can choose the air flow direction between towards driver and passenger, blend of this and footwell area, only footwell area, blend of footwell area and towards front windscreen (To help de-fog during monsoon) and only windscreen area. The noise level of the AC is clear when set to highest. Most optimal way to use the air conditioner is to allow the car to run about a kilometer before turning on the AC. I have noticed that the impact you feel on the engine is not a sharp jerk (Which you will feel if you suddenly turn it on without letting the car run a bit).

Audio System – Not applicable, as it was not offered with factory fitted audio nor speakers. All options were after-market additions.

Engine Performance and Drivability
The 798cc 3 cylinder engine, referred to as F8D series is happy if you are not aggressive on the throttle. Do not hammer your foot down and expect a reaction from this engine, to the contrary it will struggle to keep up and will vibrate a lot. You have to go through the gear changes in a smooth way. Unfortunately owing to there being no tachometer (RPM meter) in the dashboard and no gear shift indicators, you have to do this via instinct and reflex action. In my case, I realize there is a certain amount of pedal vibration as the car climbs up the revs and then suddenly notice the vibration drop on the pedal when it is moving freely at that gear and this is the time you look to shift up to the next gear. The clutch is light and the throttle response is smooth.
Within the city: Easy to drive in rush hour traffic or bumper to bumper traffic. Its ability to move does not come from power but from its size i.e. it can be maneuvered through narrow roads and the fear of hitting something on the sides is not much. Having driven this car for 14 years, I have found it easy to drive and it can easily get around city traffic without the slightest fuss.

On the Highway: The engine is mainly designed to handle city traffic, that being said, it can comfortably hold it’s own at an average speed of 90 – 10 kmph for 600 to 700 kilometers of driving with breaks in between. The key is not to hammer the throttle and allow it slowly build up speed as you go through the gears. This engine is not meant for aggressive driving. Also remember, you will be the least powerful car on the highway with the exception of the Tata Nano, so do not try to overtake vehicles unless you are confident, they are letting you overtake. I would recommend using your hazard lights when overtaking. One word of caution, the vehicle is very light and as you get overtaken by other vehicles you will find some wind deflection i.e. you will feel the car being pushed as a larger vehicle at higher speed over takes you. Stability on the highway is good and the brakes can control the car fairly well (And remember you do not have ABS or EBD or DA in this specific year model).

NVH Levels
There is no cabin insulation what so ever. You will hear the engine, the tire noise and the ambient noise from around you. There is no way around it. With the windows rolled up there is not much wind noise which is a positive.

Service – Quality and Cost
Maruti Suzuki has an extensive service network and part availability is good. Part prices are reasonable (Please see my post below for some pointers) and vehicle service is a single day activity at most. I would recommend moving from mineral engine oil to semi synthetic engine oil for a smoother drive experience. Personally I use Shell HX7 10W40 which costs Rs. 1300 for 3 liters. By my estimate your overall annual maintenance if done right and done as per the schedule should not cost more than Rs. 8K assuming an average of 8K to 10K of driving per year with a moderate driving style. This is a very reasonable price for service cost annualized.

Space
Remember that you are choosing probably the 2nd smallest car in the market with perhaps the Tata Nano being smaller ( I believe the Spark / Beat / i10 / Santro to be more spacious). While it can seat 5, you do so with a certain discomfort. Especially because there is a exhaust tunnel in the center of the rear seat, so the center passenger in the rear seat won’t have a comfortable position. If you push the front seats all the way back, there is no space for a person to sit in the back. The boot space can take a few bags but not large suit cases.

Final Impression after 14 Years of Usage
This vehicle is best suited as a daily driver for a single person or 2 people to commute to work and use on the weekends within the city or for small weekend getaways. As a family car it is designed for a small family of 3. But if your need is to have self, spouse and parents or in-laws with children as well, this car just might be too cramped for you. The engine, suspension and steering make it an easy driver within the city and it has good traction and you can push it through corners well within reasonable speeds. So, If you are looking for a simple, efficient, value for money car for yourself or a small family and are looking at conserving Vitamin M, this car is for you. But if you want features or options or power, then I suggest you look at other cars. Keep in mind that the features in the car have dramatically improved over the years. In my day the Lxi came without an audio system and no power windows or any other options. Today Maruti Suzuki owing to demand and competition has packed more into the car. Today's Alto comes with ABS and EBD, engine immobilizer, Body color bumpers in all variants except the base STD model, and a touchscreen system in the top VXI Plus variant. Prices range between 3.2L and 4.2L ex-showroom for today's models.
Attached Thumbnails
14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi-img_20200420_103557.jpg  

14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi-img_20200420_103609.jpg  

14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi-img_20200420_103706.jpg  

14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi-img_20200420_103756.jpg  

14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi-img_20200420_110000.jpg  


Last edited by confused.geek : 20th April 2020 at 22:40. Reason: Cleaning up post
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Old 20th April 2020, 01:20   #2
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Default re: 14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi

OPTIONAL READING: (Some observations, tips, learning)

I upgraded the front windows to Xenos power windows, added an Autocop remote door lock and did a few functional upgrades such as level operated boot lid opener, some sound damping and a hell of a lot of self maintenance over the years (I can change its engine oil, spark plugs, brake oil, air filter, front disc brake pads and if I had the right tools the rear drum break shoes as well)

In all its glory of simplicity of having a body, an engine, the seats and the essentials to call it a car, it is mine. All mine. (My Precious!). If you have the patience to go find and read my Team BHP introduction, you'll see there I tell the story about how I was keen on buying my first car "All Cash Down", so with money I inherited from my Grandparents topped off with savings from my first years on my new job including the bonus, which was then topped off with help from my mother, I conjured up the 3.2L that was needed to purchase and register the car and so, very promptly I took 6 friends to the showroom and we proceeded to mercilessly harangue the dealer till we got some freebies (Floor mats, a steering wheel cover, a car fragrance and an extra hazard triangle and don't ask me why I wanted that extra one, {I put it as a decorative piece in my bedroom, you happy now?})

The Maruti Suzuki 800 in my opinion brought the affordable car to many an India home. My parents had one, both my maternal uncle and aunt had one each and half my paternal uncles and aunts had one, as I grew up. The other cars were the usual suspects, grandparents had the Ambassador and older uncles and aunts the Premier Padmini. The Maruti Suzuki Alto in that sense was in my opinion a reboot of this timeless car, but redesigned to appeal to a younger India finding its first software jobs and wanting cars. It gave people the option of owning a reliable, low cost, low maintenance vehicle, without the "my parent's owned one too tag". Over the years hunting for parts so I could DIY stuff, I figured that this car was built by taking the under pinnings of the 800 and borrowing parts common to the old Zen and the Wagon R. In that sense it fit somewhere in the middle of Maruti's hatchback offering.

The driving experience is not something unfamiliar to any. You put your foot down through the carpet and slowly over a period of time it will build up to a maximum speed of 120 kmph. Its brilliance definitely not in power, but in its value for money. By my estimate, if you regularly service an Alto, your maintenance cost for the entire year will hardly cross 8K including oil changes and I am not exaggerating this number. When you turn the air conditioner on, you will know that it is on, because the engine will tell you so. It is a car now one wants to steal. I used to have an auto-window roll up relay paired with Xenos power windows (since been discarded after the upcoming incident), so I could park the car, press the lock button on the remote and the front windows would roll up automatically (We already established and I wanted the "bling" features on the car), except the night when I went to watch a move (@Prasads Imax in Hyderabad) and returned late at night to the open parking lot and to my horror find the driver side window down and nothing was taken. I mean you just have to reach in, pop open the hood, disconnect the battery and you could quietly sit and have the audio system and the car if you wanted. I supposed the Alto blends in and no one tries to go after it. Navigating Indian traffic is breeze, You might have a Porsche or Ferrari or any high powered car, but within bumper traffic, I'll out maneuver you and run circles around you all day long. The steering is light and getting it through corners and curves is fairly easy and rather boring. It doesn't have enough power to make life exciting in curves, that being said, like any other vehicle, if you pick up a fair amount of speed and come at the wrong angle with low traction, you will find that recovering this car is a no pointer. You will hit. It is a light vehicle and has no chances of recovery. No ABS nor EBD nor handling asists. Just you and your foot on the pedals. Gearing down the right way can earn you back some traction rather quickly though, but other than that? Steer into the skid and keep your fingers crossed. Finding parking is never a problem. Cops don't usually write you up, it is the "aam aadmi ki gaadi" after all. If you were to hit something or get hit by something, repairs are cheap and quick. Let me give you some prices

Estimated Costs of Brand New Parts from A.S.S
Air Filter ~ Rs. 250
Front Break Pads ~Rs. 450
Read Break Shoes ~ Rs. 300
Engine Oil = 2.8L, I've mainly used Shell HX7 10W-40 which cost me Rs. 1350 on Amazon.in
Grease for lubricating door pins, bonnet hinges etc and keeping them smooth in operations, Vulcan NLGI 3 grease that cost me Rs. 90 for 200Gms
Front Bumper (Unpainted) ~ Rs 1800 (Replaced due to me read ending an impulsive brake rider)
Rear Bumper (Unpainted) ~ Rs. 1400 (Me getting rear ended by someone who forgot to brake)
Radiator ~ Rs. 2500 (I saw a ChrisFix video of how to flush a whole radiator core clean and when I called the A.S.S and they told me the price, I just had it replaced and this was at 1.15L kms. No problems with the old one, I just could not sleep well knowing that a clean radiator would improve cooling, cause the fan to spin lesser and hence the car would run quieter and smoother)
Driveshaft pair ~ Rs. 8000

I've had door and quarter panels banged in by other motorists, dented and painted. Nothing a car in city traffic in our country won't see, but it was never expensive to fix.

Want to add a Lever Operated boot lid opener on an older Alto, fret not, for Rs. 300, some elbow grease and follow Fusspot's tutorial at https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/diy-d...ml#post1958600 (Remote Boot Opener in ALTO LXi - Edit: Info on Pg 3 & 8 and a Detailed DIY on pg 13)

How do you get the best out of an Alto
I know the Alto really, really well. I am not trying to boast, but I've driven this Alto all across Andhra Pradesh (The combined states of A.P and Telangana now), Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh across the years. Through experience I know its limitations and its brilliance

Normally the car is a happy little putter. It accelerates rather well for its engine capacity, can stay happy at 90 - 100 kmph on highways (Yes, you'll have scary moments when a heavy truck or bus overtakes you at high speed), consumes moderate fuel (mine still returns 18kmpl within the city) and can actually get to most places without a problem. The thing is, you need to know how to get the best out of it

1) Never click the air-conditioner on, when you start the engine right away. I've always practiced letting the car cover about a kilometre before turning on the air conditioner and it has served me well. One advantage with the air-conditioner (I believe it is borrowed from a Wagon R, please correct me if this is incorrect), it can keep this car cool under most conditions except if you've left it parked, baking under a hot noon sun. (All though, the wait a kilometre practice is severely disliked by my wife)

2) Don't stamp down on the pedal. That won't do it. You have to let it go through its motions. If you want the best in mobility out of this, you need to time your gear changes well. Unfortunately it doesn't come with a Tachometre like the old VXI did and I haven't been able to source one for my car. The trick is to get a feel of the engine. There is a slight amount of pedal vibration that comes back to you and a fair amount of gear stick vibration too. My reflexive response for gear shifts is when I sense a certain smoothness on the pedals, especially the clutch (And no, I don't ride the clutch, in the absence of a dead pedal, I hover my foot over the clutch pedal just so I can feel it, just enough to sense the vibration, but not enough to get a reaction out of the clutch)

3) Clean fuel! Which applies to any car, and while I haven't owned any other car, I've driven a lot of other cars for long distances and obviously my own for a long time. The Alto reacts very quickly to fuel quality. Find a good filling station, stick to it. Get tank fulls, early in the morning, change the fuel filter as per service manual, don't stomp on the gas (I've recommended this twice above, but I'll admit I am a little lead footed myself)

4) Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance. As with any other car. Do not neglect the service schedules. If you have a bit of DIY in you, you can do most simple things. You can definitely change your air filter and wiper blades (One 18 inch and one 16inch sizes available easily online), clean the car often. If your DIY sense is tuned higher, like mine easy, it isn't difficult to do your own oil changes, brake pad changes, break oil changes. You can get jack stands on Amazon, there are DIY videos on YouTube showing you how to use a bottle with a breather tube to do a single person brake oil bleed and change and if you have the right tools, you can do the rear drum shoes as well.

5) Tire inflation, alignment and balancing. Again, applies to all vehicles, but there is a reason I mention it here for the Alto. I've seen a lot of people over inflate tires on their cars. Through experience I've come up with two calculations. If your car is driven daily, then stick to manufacturer recommended and check pressure every 10 days. But if you car is used sparingly (Like mine has been for 4 years) then go 1 ~ 2 PSI up and when you need to take it out, you won't go out under inflated. Wheel balancing and alignment are super critical on this car. It has not other driver aids and if you do go out on the highway, you want them nice and proper. Failure to do this can earn you trouble. Let me recant a story where I didn't heed my own advice. Late 2016, I decided to do a quick dash with a friend, to a neighboring town. The drive would have been 300kms both ways and it was during the day. The car was already pulling ever so slightly to one side. I was on the Hyd-Blr highway and pretty early on, I new I was pulling to the worse than within the city, but as I got closer to Kurnool town, it got a little worse still, to the point where I had to apply steering correction by a tick. On a sweeping curve, doing about 90kmph, I found the car fighting back very badly and in that moment a SUV driver decided to over take me on my blind side i.e the left side. If I loosen up on the steering, the pull would put me in the guard rail and if I do not loosen up, I'll scrape the SUV and all I could do was hope the SUV got past quickly, which for some insane reason he didn't. So, I hung on for a good couple of seconds and got out of it through dumb luck. Pulled up at the first wheel alignment place and that is when I realized what caused the problem. Not only was I pulling to one side, my tire was also getting uneven wear, making matters worse and considering this car has no safety features what so ever, it was motoring negligence on my part, not to do this when the problem actually was showing during city driving.

Well, that is it folks. If you have any problems with your Alto, I'll do my best to help. I've seen my fair bit. Not every problem, but I know enough to predict what is wrong with an Alto.

Sadly, this car will go, sometime this year. Apart from its age, pollution certification and eventual RTO certification, as you've read, I've gone from being a single dude in an Alto who would drop his mother off when needed, to a dad with a little daughter and I am a pet parent too. I have a Golden Retriever who likes car rides. We as a family plan to do some vacationing, hopefully some overlanding if the ladies agree (In my house, I am the last man standing. I lost my father at a young age, so my family is my mother, wife, daughter and me), so my next car purchase will have their votes as well. I hope I can convince them to let me get something utilitarian. A Bolero or an used Pajero or an used Endeavour? Who knows... For all I know, I'll land up with a ratty little Renault Triber (No offense to the Triber and I am not calling the car a rodent, but describing its ability to scurry along, but I need larger wheels and the family will surely want something "cool" and I drive an Alto now for God's sake, you can't find a rattier car than that).

Last edited by confused.geek : 20th April 2020 at 11:43.
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Old 21st April 2020, 08:04   #3
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Default Re: 14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Long-Term Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing! This workhorse sure served you well. Going to our homepage .
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Old 21st April 2020, 08:42   #4
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Default Re: 14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi

Great review of an old trusty car! The Alto may not have the bling or the charisma of a fancier car, but it sure knows how to get the work done, and how! The fact that your car has served you so well throughout your ownership period points towards only one thing: a first-time car buyer on a budget should only look at cars from Maruti. Of course, the scenario has changed a lot now with many newer players coming in, but Maruti remains the undisputed king of the budget hatchback segment. Your car looks great in black too!

I did consider Altos when I was looking to get myself a pre-owned car back in 2018, but just the experience of getting myself into the driver's seat of one car was enough to push me away. I'm not very tall, but I have a relaxed driving position. Even with the seat pushed all the way back, there was no way I could even get my knees inside the car without having to bend and break them and try weird positions. I somehow got into the car but when I tried to get out, I faced the same issue. IIRC it took me about 30 seconds just to wriggle my knees clear of the steering wheel and then lift myself out of the seat. It was a painful experience, to be very honest. Add to this the fact that there was absolutely no space at the rear when the driver's seat was pushed all the way back. Although I'd be driving alone or with a passenger 99% of the time, considering that we're a family of 4 with a dog and we might do a few trips together in the car, the Alto sadly had to be struck off the list. I eventually brought home the other option that you had shortlisted back in 2005: a Santro Xing.

For someone who can live with the inexistent interior space: the Alto is a lovely car to own, drive and live with. Looking forward to seeing which car you replace her with.
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Old 21st April 2020, 11:43   #5
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Default Re: 14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi

The above review was trying to balance the car's overall usability on the perspective of a new car buyer, especially if you are looking for a small hatchback for a budget owner. Now let me let you in on how it feels if the car is driven 95% of the time with just the driver in it. It can hold its own. Within the city it holds its own in terms of maneuverability and ease of parking, but on the highway it ain't too bad. I've road tripped this car all across south India and have seldom struggled to be part of the convoy. Credit where it is due, the other drivers could have vanished down the horizon but road safety and the group driving experience meant we maintained average speeds and while I initially believed I would bring the average down, in reality owing to highway design, toll booths, traffic etc, this car didn't bring the average down by much. I've always comfortably been able to keep it at an average speed of 80kmph and balance pace vs fuel economy and never had a single problem. The only time I struggled (Which I have documented above) was my own mistake.
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Old 21st April 2020, 14:42   #6
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Default Re: 14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi

Great story and detailed review! Brings back memories of my first car which was a March 2005 Alto Lx bought 3rd hand in January 2009. I spent 70k on accessories for a 1.7L car I gave to a relative as it was not being used 4-5 years ago.

What month is your car manufactured in? Mine did not have those face lifted lights. Also I compared the build quality of Altos manufactured later and I realised mine had much thicker metal panels and way better interior quality and controls.

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Old 21st April 2020, 16:16   #7
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Default Re: 14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxbat View Post
Great story and detailed review! Brings back memories of my first car which was a March 2005 Alto Lx
A fellow Alto owner of the same time! Good to see you! My car was purchased in May 2005 with a manufacturers date in April

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxbat View Post
What month is your car manufactured in? Mine did not have those face lifted lights.
I know the answer. I know the answer! The Alto of that time had 2 production runs. 2000 to 2005 which is your car and then there was the 2005 to 2012 production run which is my car. During 2005, depending on stock you'd get either model at dealers and they were sold at the same time. The headlamps on your car with the black inserts have Part Number # 35121M79G00 and the headlamps on my car without the black inserts have Part Number # 35121M79G40. Both were motorized headlamps i.e. had headlamp leveling as a feature, it was just a visual difference. (Note: There is one version of the headlamp without headlamp leveling, however this was only offered on the base Standard variant in the initial years and I don't have a Part Number for this)
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Old 21st April 2020, 17:35   #8
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Default Re: 14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi

Well written! Brought back memories of our family car- A coral Beige 2001 Alto VX 1.1. Our family had it for 16 years and not a single time did it let us down. It was also the car on which I learnt my driving on (never went to a driving school), had my first highway run and also the first minor crash due to my negligence. Ours was sparingly run, it had 40K on the Odo when we bid bye to it after upgrading to the "new Alto of the upper middle class" (a.k.a Honda City)

Super cheap to maintain, easy to repair and a hoot to drive, specially the 4 cylinder F10D.

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Originally Posted by confused.geek View Post
(Note: There is one version of the headlamp without headlamp leveling, however this was only offered on the base Standard variant in the initial years and I don't have a Part Number for this)
The early models of Alto (pre 2003, IIRC) did not have headlamp levelling in any trim. I remember it since I was taken aback when one of my friends told me about the headlamp leveling functionality in his car way back in 2008
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Old 21st April 2020, 18:24   #9
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Default Re: 14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi

Great review confused.geek. Alto is such a humble lil car that is a boon in traffic. Back in 2010, we used to have a Maruti showroom near my office. I went there a couple of times to get a deal on Alto. The SA told me to get at least 30,000 (which itself I don't have!) and drive an alto back on loan . But, based on my commitments I didn't get one. After that in 2012, I bought a used Santro Xing.

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I spent 70k on accessories for a 1.7L car
I am with you buddy!. I bought a used Santro for 1.9L and spent close to 1.25L on accessories (Alloys, Audio, Leather Seats, etc.., etc..) and more on maintenance. My friends used to say that except for the car's registration number, everything was new .
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Old 21st April 2020, 18:48   #10
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Default Re: 14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi

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Originally Posted by govindremesh View Post
The early models of Alto (pre 2003, IIRC) did not have headlamp levelling in any trim. I remember it since I was taken aback when one of my friends told me about the headlamp leveling functionality in his car way back in 2008
So, Maruti silently introduced the feature and I doubt even dealers took notice till some customer might have asked some sales person, what it was. I have seen Alto's in Lx variant older than mine with the feature and don't have an exact date of when it was introduced.

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Great review confused.geek.

I am with you buddy!. I bought a used Santro for 1.9L and spent close to 1.25L on accessories (Alloys, Audio, Leather Seats, etc.., etc..) and more on maintenance. My friends used to say that except for the car's registration number, everything was new .
Being a review of the car, I didn't quote my expenses on interiors and ICE. the original audio system was all Sony and cost me 15k when I bought the car, 3 years into ownership I added, a sub woofer and amp (Me want car go boom boom. Me have no understanding of class or overkill when me was in 20s) and then in the 5th year changed the head unit to a Pioneer (You can see this in the photo along with a steering mounted remote (I could make a claim for steering mounted audio controls in 2010 in an Alto). I also have front power windows and as long as it was legal, full black tinted windows and the wheel rims where painted black (Which you can see in the photo) and I changed seat covers twice. My upgrades cost me a lot. I could have saved the money and bought an used car with that money.
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Old 21st April 2020, 20:14   #11
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Default Re: 14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi

Thank you for the Long-term ownership review. This happens to be the second car that I drove. I agree with most of your points, it is really good to drive in the city. However, I contradict with the below one.

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Originally Posted by confused.geek View Post
I would recommend using your hazard lights when overtaking.
I find it dangerous to use Hazard lights for overtaking. It will confuse the other drivers, whether you have a problem with the car or something ahead of you.

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Originally Posted by confused.geek View Post
In my day the Lxi came without an audio system and no power windows or any other options. Today Maruti Suzuki owing to demand and competition has packed more into the car. Today's Alto comes with ABS and EBD, engine immobilizer, Body color bumpers in all variants except the base STD model, and a touchscreen system in the top VXI Plus variant. Prices range between 3.2L and 4.2L ex-showroom for today's models.
Also, I don't like the Maruti's attitude, when they provide safety things now, why didn't they in those times? simply make them standard for a slight premium. I believe people would still buy it.
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Old 21st April 2020, 20:33   #12
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Default Re: 14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi

Superb ownership review, I request you to treat we people with some more detailed pics from the rear end, interior, boot and engine bay.

Also, you should post in detail about major issues that you had with your car and about your pattern and cost of maintenance.

Here are few suggestions from my side to make her look great:
1. MGA Zen wheel covers - Believe me, it looks great with Type-2 Altos, especially with black painted rims.

2. Electrically adjustable ORVMs - These are still easily available at MGP shops and installation and wiring costs will not cost too much.

3. Chrome strip on the front grille - The chrome strip that came with the 2007 XFun limited edition looked quite good back in the day. If it is still available, I suggest you to install one in your car.

4. The front bumper on your car seems repainted, if yes, I recommend you to replace it with a fresh one and I believe it will not go above ₹2000.
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Old 21st April 2020, 21:25   #13
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Default Re: 14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi

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Originally Posted by confused.geek View Post
It’s target buyer was and is the first time car owner wanting a car with a low cost of ownership and maintenance and good reliability, which is the selling point of the car.

+1 to this statement!

My Alto Lxi (2006) was my first ride and it served me faithfully till 2015 and over 1.2Lakh km when I finally let it go.

A real gem of a car, which never gave me any problem. All it required was the regular maintenance (services every 5k km) and she was good to go. Service bills also were quite economical in the ranges of 2.5k to 5k with rare spikes of 10-12k (maybe 3 or 4 times totally)

Changed the tyres 2 times - The stock tyres came for about 40Kkm, and the second set of tyres lasted for more than 80K km (till I sold it off)

Changed batteries 3 times

Changed the clutch at around 60K km.

No problems in any other departments - other than routine maintenance.

In the initial two years of ownership had two insurance claims - once when the rear door was kissed by a lorry, 2nd when a flying brick from an under construction building broke the windshield. None afterwards.

OTR it costed me about 3.1L and accessories of about 15-20k.


I sold it in 2015 (After 9 yrs) for 1.49 L, other than a few scratches and bumps here and there (which is inevitable when driven as daily car in bangalore) still a gem
of a car.

The only real cons I faced was cramped rear seats and lack of power when fully loaded with a/c on . Can't really expect much from a 800cc engine. Of course, had to be driven in sensible speeds considering that there is no safety features in the car. I rarely crossed 90km/h speed. It was a beaut at cruising at 80-90km/h. Had many many fond memories of travels in many parts of KA & TN in this nifty car.




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This workhorse sure served you well.

Absolutely ! You took the words out of my mouth! :-) Almost a same comment I made when I sadly bid goodbye to this nifty car. This is a no frills workhorse and has served me also very well.

Last edited by haria : 21st April 2020 at 21:36.
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Old 21st April 2020, 21:26   #14
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Default Re: 14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi

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Originally Posted by GTB View Post
I find it dangerous to use Hazard lights for overtaking. It will confuse the other drivers, whether you have a problem with the car or something ahead of you.
If I were to follow the principle of driving, I completely agree. Hazard lights should be used to indicate exactly that and if I were to go by the idea that all other drivers out on the road follow similar driving safety, I would not use the HLs. But in my experience when you are Indian highways (Especially during evening or night), it is always good to get the attention of the vehicle in front of you prior to overtaking especially if you are grossly outmatched in terms of power and are relying on existing speed. I have seen people change lanes without warning and the hope is that you'll catch their attention enough to let you pass. A lot of times, I've hit the HLs when deciding to overtake and this after following a car for a few minutes and suddenly I'll see them start for a lane change and drop back. I've attributed this to the HLs. Happened in a recent drive before the lockdown, in February as well.

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Originally Posted by Shreyfiesta View Post
Also, you should post in detail about major issues that you had with your car and about your pattern and cost of maintenance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shreyfiesta View Post
Here are few suggestions from my side to make her look great:
To be honest, I have not had any major issues. The clutch was replaced once at 90K kilometres and this was age related. The O2 Sensor at 1.15L kilometres (Again age related I am told). The rest of the car has functioned as is since the day I bought it, barring routine maintenance that I've covered.

I have had quite a few upgrades and changes over the years. Had a chrome insert and then removed and left all black. Out of the factory the bumpers on this car were unpainted, I request it done a few months into ownership along with MGA fog lamps. I agree that ORVMs could be a nice upgrade. The manually folded ones I have cost Rs. 800 for a pair. Internally adjustable ones you would see today are about Rs. 1800 a pair. I never considered the electrical ones, because I've rarely needed to adjust the mirrors. Regards to the Bumper, the thing is, I have so far resisted cleaning up the scratches because the car is seeing lesser use these days and secondly, no matter how hard you try some impact from either vehicles going too close or debris from the road, causes the front bumper especially to loose its sheen. You'll also notice on close observation, that the driver side retainer of the bumper is off and needs to be replaced. I'll do that the moment this lockdown is over. I could put an oversize bolt, but the wheel well liner runs there and I don't want to damage that.
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Old 21st April 2020, 23:00   #15
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Default Re: 14 years, 1.24 lakh km, from dude to dad - Journey of a Maruti Alto LXi

Great Read, a lot of great details of the car that we have all forgotten.

These cars had various roles to play in different houses across India, for some it was their primary car, for many others it was their second car used for city use and short distances. And for some very lucky kids it was their ride to go to college.

If i am not mistaken only the VXi model had a tachometer which was a very cool feature to have back then.
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