Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Review
Maruti Alto K10 Pros
• A much improved, well-rounded city car as compared to the outgoing generation
• Peppy performance with a healthy power-to-weight ratio
• Excellent fuel efficiency. ARAI figures: 24.90 km/l (AMT) and 24.39 km/l (MT)
• Convenient AMT available at a premium of Rs. 50,000 makes it the cheapest automatic car available in India
• Sufficient cabin space to accommodate four 6-footers
• Small dimensions, good visibility, light controls, AMT transmission & a tiny 4.5 m turning radius make it a great choice for city driving as well as first-time car buyers
• Good touchscreen ICE with Android Auto + Apple CarPlay + steering mounted controls
• Maruti's fuss-free ownership experience & widespread dealer network
Maruti Alto K10 Cons
• Significantly more expensive compared to the previous generation
• Narrow width makes it a strict 4-seater
• Basic ride quality. Feels wobbly over rough patches and can bottom out on when going over larger potholes
• Poor high speed dynamics & NVH. Best driven at double-digit speeds
• Skinny low grip 145 mm tyres given the power on offer
• Missing essentials such as rear power windows, rear wiper/defogger, day/night IRVM, etc.
• Light, economy-grade build quality. Sibling S-Presso scored 0 stars in the GNCAP crash tests
• S-Presso offers a lot more at just ~15,000 more (greater space, larger wheels & tyres, body-coloured and electrically adjustable ORVMs, features like ESP with hill-hold (AMT)), etc.
This review has been jointly compiled with Zappo. Thanks to him for the expert observations!
How the times have changed! 8 years after the previous generation K10 was launched and a full decade after the previous generation Alto platform was introduced, the 'all new' Maruti Alto enters a drastically changed market.
Back in 2012, the Alto was the best-seller in the Indian automobile market, selling 20k units per month on a consistent basis. In fact, it retained that title for 16 long years! Fast forward to 2022 and we find that buyers clearly favour more expensive and upmarket hatchbacks like the WagonR, Swift and Baleno over humble A-segment products. Maruti tried to buck the trend by bringing in the 'SUV-inspired' S-Presso and even discontinued the K10 variant of the Alto for a full two years in favour of the former. However, ~13,000 Indians still bring an Alto home every month and this ensured that Maruti did not give up on its entry-level product. Enter the all-new Alto!
In 2010, the 'K10' was launched as a response to the tough competition from Tata (Nano) and Hyundai (Eon). The quickest way for Maruti to respond to both the products was a two-pronged attack with a more upmarket variant of the Alto by plonking in the engine from the A-Star / WagonR. 88 bhp/ton in such a small car was unheard of back then and the K10 was met with a warm response from the enthusiast community, earning quite the reputation for itself as a pocket rocket. However, it was still the regular F8D 800cc motor that brought in the numbers. So much so that, strangely, when Maruti updated the Alto in 2012, the K10 received the changes only after two years! Now though, in keeping with the times, the all-new Alto debuts only with the more expensive K10, selling alongside the older generation 800.
The new Alto will also be the latest and cheapest car to be based on Maruti's Heartect platform, which it shares with other cars from the company's stable, including the flagship XL6! The car will be powered by the 1.0L, 3-cylinder K10-C petrol engine that was introduced with the second generation Celerio. It churns out 66 BHP @ 5,500 rpm and 89 Nm @ 3,500 rpm. While this may not sound much, in the lightweight Alto which weighs between 716 to 741 kilos, these figures equate to a very healthy ~90 BHP/ton. Transmission options include a 5-speed manual and an AMT (or as Maruti calls it, Auto Gear Shift).
Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Price
Maruti has launched the Alto K10 in 4 variants – STD(O), LXi, VXi, and VXi+. Prices start from Rs. 3.99 lakh for the base STD(O) variant, but that variant is mainly for advertisement purposes. This base variant does not even get air-conditioning, power steering or body-coloured bumpers - all considered bare essentials in 2022! Prices range from Rs. 4.82 lakh for the LXi to Rs. 5.33 lakh for the VXi+ variant. AMT is offered on the VXi and higher trim levels with prices starting from Rs. 5.49 lakh and going up to Rs. 5.83 lakh for the VXI+ AGS.
At these prices, the Alto K10 is priced ~ Rs. 60,000 more than the older generation 800 that will be sold alongside it for now. Direct rivals include the Renault Kwid 1.0 and even its platform sibling - the S-Presso, which is only ~ Rs. 15,000 more expensive. While the Alto K10 still remains one of the cheapest entry-level cars on sale, we feel that the car's higher variants are overpriced, with the top AMT trim nearing Rs 7 lakh (on-road) in some cities. The S-Presso has quite a lot going for it including SUV-inspired styling (as the market demands), more space, larger wheels and tyres, body-coloured and electrically adjustable ORVMs, features like ESP with hill-hold (AMT only), etc. But Maruti believes the clientele for these two products are slightly different, not to mention the S-Presso's love-it-or-hate-it vibe as compared to the universal appeal of the Alto.
You can download the 2022 Maruti Alto K10 Brochure here: Alto_k_ten_product_brouchure.pdf
Maruti also has two funky accessory packs for the Alto - Impacto and Glinto. You can download the accessories brochure here: Alto_k_10_Accessories_Brochure.pdf
Design & Styling
The Alto K10 looks unmistakably Maruti, as if the 2016 Alto took on inspiration from the first-generation Celerio with some lessons copied from the Hyundai i10. There is no major design language or lines to speak of - the car tries to please all and offend none by bringing in the familiar lines that we have seen on many Maruti cars before. Maruti already offers the S-Presso for those looking for a more polarising design language. The Alto simply plays a very conservative game. The design mainly focuses on the front end which is a cute evolution of the 2016 facelift, but now, with an unmistakable resemblance to the old Hyundai i10. The large honeycomb grille hides the newfound height and gives the car its own identity. The slab-sided doors appear bland and are reminiscent of the erstwhile first-generation Celerio, whereas the rear appears like a rounded-off version of the S-Presso.
The new car measures 3,530 mm in length, 1,490 mm in width and 1,520 mm in height, which makes it shorter in length by 15 mm and taller by 45 mm compared to the outgoing K10. Compared to the Alto 800 though, it is 85 mm longer and 45 mm taller. Even the wheelbase, at 2,380 mm, is longer by 20 mm.
Maruti offers the K10 with six colour options - Solid White, Metallic Silky Silver, Metallic Granite Grey, Metallic Sizzling Red, Metallic Speedy Blue and Pearl Metallic Earth Gold.
Build Quality, Fit & Finish
The Alto K10 is one of the cheapest and lightest cars available in the Indian market. Hence, it is advisable to keep expectations low. Get this - despite the larger dimensions, bigger capacity engine and AMT transmission, the heaviest Alto K10 is still 21 kilos lighter than the 800! Build quality is typical economy-grade Maruti, although much improved over its predecessor. The doors are light and there is flex in the panels as well, as is expected from an extremely light car. Paint quality is good and at par with other cars in the segment. Panel gaps are slightly inconsistent, but not much so that the owners would complain.
Wheels & Tyres
The new K10 gets an upgrade in wheel size compared to the 800. It rides on 13" wheels shod with 145/80 section tyres. Our test car came with JK Tyre Ultima Neo rubber. Top variants are offered with wheel caps.
However, the upgrade is just not enough! The car not only looks a tad under-tyred for the height, but grip levels are also extremely poor for the power on offer! For reference, the S-Presso comes 14" wheels shod with 165/70 section tyres and even that is inadequate on the highways. We appeal to owners to keep speeds in check, especially when it rains.
The official ground clearance figure of the Alto K10 has not been revealed. The short wheelbase, extremely short overhangs, etc ensured the ground clearance was not an issue during our test drive. Most owners should have no reason to complain.
Standard & Extended Warranty
Maruti cars are offered with a standard warranty of 2 years / 40,000 km, which can be extended to 5 years / 1,00,000 km. We always recommend purchasing the maximum possible extended warranty available for added peace of mind.
The Alto K10 is equipped with a few safety features as standard such as dual airbags, ABS + EBD, driver + passenger seatbelt reminder and pre-tensioners, headlight leveller and reverse parking sensors. Apart from this, you also get speed-sensitive auto door locks and central locking on select variants.
While NCAP tests have not been conducted for the 2022 Alto, we do not expect the car to fare well. The S-Presso, based on the same Heartect platform, scored 0 stars in the GNCAP crash tests (full discussion
). Also missing are basic safety features such as a rear defogger, rear washer & wiper, hill-hold assist for AGS variants, day/night IRVM and more.
Cabin Design & Quality
Like the exterior, the dashboard design is inoffensive and feels like a typical Maruti product using the Heartect platform. That is a good thing for the Alto, making the interior a lot better compared to the older generation car. However, contrasting silver highlights are very sparingly used on this all-grey dashboard and there is very little to break the monotony. The design is centered around the SmartPlay touchscreen head-unit, but the floating tablet surround makes it look like an after-thought from some angles.
There are no fabrics anywhere (except on the contact areas of the seat) let alone any soft-touch plastics, but then, that is the norm in this segment. Not only are the plastics hard, but we got a smell of cheap resin/plastic when we got into the cabin after leaving the car under the sun for a while.
Space & Comfort
Due to the newfound height, ingress & egress is easy. You still sit down in the car (this is no WagonR to simply walk in), but even elders shouldn't have issues with these seats. Once inside, the new Alto is no longer cramped for space like it used to be! In fact, Zappo
never felt claustrophobic during the day's drive - something that used to hurt him in the 800. The space liberated on the inside, both at the front and rear, is the biggest improvement in this generation of the Alto.
Driving Position & Ergonomics
Lacking driver seat height adjustment and steering rake/reach adjustability, the Alto K10 is set for an average Indian build. Others will find it difficult to get comfortable. For my height (5'11"), the under-thigh support was minimal and the knees were in an upward position making me wish that the seat was set a bit higher. But then, my knees were also brushing against the bottom of the steering wheel. Taller drivers will have concerns.
Controls are placed as typical of Maruti Suzuki cars and just where you would expect them to be. The only major exception here is the placement of the power window switches.
Storage options are available only for the front seat occupants. There are two cup-holders and a small storage space just ahead of the gear lever. If you place your coffee cup out there or your phone, you are going to have to bend forward to pick it up. Bottle holders in the door pads can accommodate slimmer 1L bottles and other knick-knacks. The glovebox is small and is best used for documents and sunglasses. Needless to say, it has no compartments, ventilation or illumination.
Rear passengers get nothing! Technically, there is a small bottle holder behind the center console, but the weird shape makes it somewhat useless for the intended purpose.
The base variant of the Alto does not get air-conditioning, but the LXi and higher variants get a manual A/C. Considering the small size of the cabin, the air-conditioning does a good job of cooling the cabin within minutes. However, due to the large glass area, this one is no chiller either. You can just leave it at maximum cooling and forget about it during highway runs. The blower is noisy and is audible right from the 2nd speed, getting intrusive in the 3rd and becoming quite an irritation at full speed.
Unique & Noteworthy Features
As expected in the A-segment, there is not much on offer in terms of features. In fact, as mentioned earlier, the STD(O) variant does not even get basic equipment such as air-conditioning or power steering. However, the higher variants of the Alto K10 get some of the features expected by buyers in 2022. Features on offer include dual airbags, a 17.78 cm SmartPlay Studio touchscreen head-unit with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, front (only) power windows, etc.
Audio System & Sound Quality
The top-end VXi+ variant of the Alto K10 comes with Maruti’s SmartPlay Studio system. You also get steering-mounted controls, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity with the system that’s connected to 4 speakers. The touchscreen infotainment is very user-friendly and doesn’t have lag and is slick to operate. We expected terrible sound quality but were pleasantly surprised, especially considering this is a budget car. The sound quality is impressive for an entry-level car. Note: It is not quality sound as in a Tiago, but it is far better than you would expect in a 4-5 lakh Maruti. Overall, the infotainment experience is good for the price. The VXi variant gets a SmartPlay dock, whereas, the other two lowest variants don't get any infotainment options.
Rear Seat Comfort & Space
The Alto is no longer cramped for legroom like it used to be! A 6-foot passenger can sit behind an equally tall driver without much discomfort. The headroom is also satisfactory. That said, for most regular-sized adults, the Alto is a 4-seater car and even a child extra will be a squeeze.
At 214 litres, the new Alto K10's boot is much bigger than that of the Alto 800 (177 litres), but is smaller than its competitors such as the S-Presso (270 litres) and the Renault Kwid (279 litres). The boot's layout is practical though. The rear seats do fold down, but there is no added convenience of a 60/40 split rear seat. The top variant gets a parcel shelf, but it doesn't get the simple strings that pulls it up with the tailgate.