Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 First Drive | Keeping It Simple, Stupid | ZigWheels.com

  • Aug 26, 2022
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The third-generation Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 is longer, taller and sits on a larger wheelbase. So, it’s better than before, right?

The ‘Alto’ brand is familiar to many. With over four million of them sold and 16 years of being the top-selling car in the country, there are literally lakhs of people out there who will have grown up with at least one or more Altos in the family. 

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

Maruti has just launched the third-generation of the Alto which is longer, taller and sits on a larger wheelbase than its predecessor which hasn’t been axed just yet. Prices have increased, as has the length of the features list. But, it still retains all the qualities that made it a great first car. 

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

Personally I had two in the family, the 2005 Alto VXI and the 2010 Alto K10, but the perspective that I will have on this car isn’t really unique what with so many of them sold over the years and there will be many of you out there looking over the car with the same eagle eye. But what about the new customer? The customer who is looking at the Alto as his first car. Does it still hold up as a great entry point into life on four wheels? 

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

Happy Face

Off the bat I really have to tip my hat to the designers at Maruti for giving us such a clean design. Simple lines, a petite body and devoid of flashy embellishment; all the principles of a good design. There’s no extra plastic cladding, faux vents or any eyesore for that matter. 

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10
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So, that face on the Alto is smiling for good reason. The large headlamps sit on either side of a rather large grill with a honeycomb pattern, a nice prominent Suzuki logo, no fog lights and that’s about it. In fact it’s so generic that people are starting to see other cars in the Alto K10. The Santro, the Matiz are some of the names we’ve heard thrown around. What do you see in the Alto K10 design?

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

The sides are also devoid of any clutter. There's a simple shoulder line and a slight upward crease at the bottom of the door line and the only things that stand out really are the body-coloured door handles. Wheels, even on the top end variant are steel with plastic hubcaps, but there is an alloy wheel option in the accessory packs. The rear too is similarly devoid of much to talk about. The two large taillamps, logo and badging and a bumper design that matches the front. All quite simple and pleasing.

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

On the road, the Alto does look a bit larger than before from all angles except head on or from the rear. From these two angles the narrow body gives away its actual compactness. This is because the dimensions have changed. The length has grown 85mm to 3530mm, height has increased by 45mm to 1520mm, but the width stays the same at 1490. The wheelbase has grown by 20mm to 2380mm which may sound like barely anything but in a small car, it makes a difference inside. Boot space has also increased to 214-litres.

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

If you do find the styling of the Alto K10 a little bland to your taste, then Maruti has also showcased a couple of style accessorised packs called the ‘Impacto’ and ‘Glinto’ in case you need to spice up your car a little. 

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

Simple Inside Too

The interiors are where being simple has created a few issues. The steering wheel isn’t  adjustable and while you can get a good driving position with good reach to steering and gear lever, ingress and egress is a little challenging for taller people. 

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

The layout of the dash is also pleasingly simple. Plastics are all hard and hard-wearing, but are well-put-together and feel solid. The 7-inch touchscreen with Maruti’s SmartPlay infotainment, the more basic version their interface, but it’s still crisp and snappy to use. It also features navigation as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. 

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

Comfort-wise you have a manual AC, a 12V charging socket, USB and AUX ports as well. Storage in the front is also adequate with one litre bottle accommodated in both doors with room to spare for small knick-knacks, two cup holders and a phone pocket. 

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

Stepping into the rear and the Alto K10 bests its predecessor as soon as you’re seated. Gone are the days when the driver would have to compromise his driving position to accommodate adults in the second row. Now, with my driving position for my 5’10” frame, I have knee room to spare and ample legroom too. Headroom is also quite accommodating. But that’s all there is to talk about. The’re no armrest, no adjustable headrests, AC vents or charge ports to comment on. The windows even roll up and down manually. 

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

Driving Experience

There's something very endearing about stepping into a small car again, you can pick the tiniest of gaps, cart through traffic and park just about anywhere and the Alto is no different. It’s powered by a 3-cylinder, 1.0-litre K-series, Dual Jet, Dual VVT motor that makes 67PS and 89Nm. It’s the same engine from the Celerio and S-Presso but in a small light chassis like this, it packs in more punch, more than enough for a quick overtake and if you're alone in the car it can be a little fun too. 

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

At city speeds you can't really hear the motor, but as engine speeds increase over 3000rpm there is engine and transmission noise that does become evident. Not unexpected, considering the 3-cylinder layout but it could have been a bit more refined. In terms of cabin insulation it's reasonably good, so not too much road noise creeps in. But like we said, build up revs and the engine can be heard.

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

We're driving the AMT now and I'm really impressed with how far AMT tech has come. With this 5-speed automatic, shifts are really smooth. I literally experienced no head nod and yes, you can feel the shift and it’s not the quickest shift but it's super smooth. 

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

And the nice thing about it is that if you're cruising along and you need to complete an overtake or just catch up with traffic, a quick prod on the gas and it does a very quick kickdown into just the right gear to give you really decent acceleration. 

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

The only place you will feel head-nod is at full throttle shifts and that too when you’re in manual mode. If you're in regular AMT and hard on the accelerator, then the head nod is present but not really intrusive.

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

With the manual gearbox, there’s not much to complain about and still nothing to praise it for either. It shifts reasonably smoothly, but the throws are long and there could be more feedback from the lever too.  

 

Ride and Handling

One area that the Alto K10 really excels is in the way it rides. Over good and bad roads the suspension keeps the Alto K10 nicely planted. We managed to find some really big, sharp-edged potholes on our test route and the Alto didn't miss a beat over them. Not only did it not crash through them, it absorbed the bumps with poise. 

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

Even at higher speeds over fairly large undulations on our route the Alto quickly absorbed the impact and similarly quickly regained composure afterwards. It’s still a budget setup though, well tuned but still budget. So around corners, quite a bit of body roll does creep in. Not unsettling, but you and your passengers will feel it.  

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

Not Perfect

So while this is a budget car, aimed at the first-time buyer, there are some niggling misses that we noticed. There was no day/night IRVM, no rear washer and wiper, no powered rear windows and no vanity mirror either. 

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

A reversing camera would have been better for beginner drivers. Alloy wheels in the top spec variant would have been nice and the lack of practical storage spaces in the rear are something that family members would miss. None of these issues are real deal-breakers but these are things we think would have made the package more complete. 

 

Safety

Safety equipment on offer includes dual airbags, ABS, EBD, rear parking sensors, pretensioner seat belts, speed sensing auto door locks and high speed alerts. All the essentials, as mandated, no extras.

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

Closing

Like we said, the Alto K10 keeps things simple and being aimed at beginners, it really didn't have to do too much. But, it's also not one-dimensional either. It can now actually hold four adults in relative comfort. It's light and nimble and though it doesn't pack too much of a punch in terms of performance, it's still an exciting driving experience too.

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10

Yes, it's not a perfect picture, both in terms of practicality or comfort, there are some features that we will miss. And that engine could be a little more refined as well. But as a simple car, one that’s aimed at the first-time car owner, it still makes a great entry point into life on four wheels.

 

Maruti Alto K10 Video Review

Maruti Alto K10
Maruti Alto K10
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