Maruti Suzuki Alto K10: First drive!
- Sep 9, 2010
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1. Is it an all-new car?
Well not quite. While the new Alto K10 doesn’t resemble the car it replaces, it shares its mechanicals – engines, gearbox, suspension, steering, all carried forward from the earlier car. The engine has been tweaked to make it more efficient and lighter but the rest of it hasn’t changed. You do however get a new design. Except for the doors and roof borrowed from the Alto 800, the car has completely new sheet metal. All the details like the headlamps, bumpers, grille, rear end, everything is new.
2. Is it a step up?
For sure. Its predecessor was plain-jane and lacked any kind of features. The new Alto K10 gets relatively plusher interiors with the piano black centre console and silver accents sprucing up the cabin. You get an integrated music system, internally adjustable ORVMs, front power windows and driver side airbag among the features list. It also rides on larger 13 inch wheels. There’s a bit more space on the inside and boot space has increased as well.
3. What is Auto Gear Shift?
Maruti has been marketing its Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) as Auto Gear Shift (AGS). This AGS is borrowed from the Celerio which was launched earlier this year. It turned out to be a runaway success in the Celerio and hence made sense to provide this crude but convenient tech with the budget hatchback. It is essentially a manual gearbox unit using an actuator to do your left foot’s job. You drive it like you would drive any automatic. You park in neutral and yank the hand brake as there is no park mode. This makes automatics available to the masses. It is as efficient as the manual gearbox.
4. How efficient is it?
Tweaks to the engine have helped Maruti achieve a staggering 24.07kmpl ARAI certified figure for both the manual and the AGS Alto K10. In the real world, you will receive in the ballpark of 20kmpl.
5. What about fuel types?
As all small hatchbacks from the Maruti stable, the Alto K10 will also be available as the Alto K10 Green with a bolt on 60-litre CNG tank. It returns 32.26 km/kg in CNG mode. The petrol model has a 35 litres tank with an effective range of over 700km.
6. Is there a diesel engine?
Not as of now. The only engine on offer is the 1.0-litre 68PS K10 engine. Maruti is testing a two-cylinder 0.8-litre diesel engine in the Celerio which we expect sometime late next year. With the carmaker’s focus on building highly efficient cars, we expect it to be one of the best on the fuel economy front. Considering its small capacity, it should make it to other small cars from Maruti, the Alto K10 being one of them.
7. Is the Alto K10 the best you can have at its price?
It’s tough to match a Maruti on the price front. Economies of scale give India’s largest carmaker a definite edge over its rivals and surely, it’s the most important reason for buying an Alto K10. The car lacks space though making it tough to fit in four grown adults. Competitors like the Hyundai Eon 1.0 and Datsun Go fare much better on this front so if you need to ferry four adults most of the time, the Alto K10 isn’t the car for you. Otherwise, it edges past its competitors.
8. What about maintenance and reliability?
Maruti was smart enough to carry forward mechanicals of the old car. The Alto is India’s largest selling car for a reason, it is inexpensive to maintain, repair and run. Reliability shouldn’t be an issue with this car as well. Parts will be readily available and with Maruti’s widespread network, the Alto K10 is going to be a hassle free car to own.
Recommended Variant : Alto K10 Vxi Optional
Maruti Suzuki Alto K10: First drive!
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