Mastering the entry level hatchback segment is a science and Maruti Suzuki (MSIL) has proved their hand at being wizards in this area of expertise. After all, the requirements of this marketplace are rather unique and therefore have kept many manufacturers at bay and in turn let the Alto dominate the sales charts. Now, with the debut of the Hyundai Eon, the Alto finally faces a worthy contender for the first time. It might be easy to draw the line and say that the Eon is definitely the better looking car of the two, however customer preferences in this segment stretch beyond just looks. Entry level car buyers are extremely cautious about their purchase and are looking for maximum bang for their buck.
An entry level car therefore has to live up to being an all rounder of sorts. It has to do everything well, after all, an entry level car had to be fuel efficient, offer a minimal cost of maintenance, have reasonable interior space, basic creature comforts and generally be a no hassles purchase. Styling, outright performance, gizmos and gadgetry come a close second, but with the primary intention of being a low cost offering meant that an entry segment vehicle has to win the battle in numbers and not at a fashion show.
The Alto K10 (Read : First Drive) offers a 1.0 litre engine that makes 68PS @ 6200rpm and 90Nm of torque @ 3500rpm making it more powerful than the 814cc engine that powers the Eon which delivers only 56PS @ 5500rpm and generates 74.5Nm of torque @ 4000rpm. The Alto K10 definitely offers a little more zest in performance, however the smaller engine on the Eon lets it score in terms of mileage.
The Eon (Read : First Drive) offers an ARAI tested mileage of 21.1 kilometers to the litre, while the Alto K10 delivers a slightly lower 20.2 kilometers to the litre. In absolute terms the Eon and the Alto K10 are pretty much at par in the mileage department, however the Alto does offer better performance. Maintenance costs can also be attributed to similar levels between the two, however Hyundai offers a 2 year/unlimited mileage warranty whereas the Alto K10 only comes with a 2 year/40,000km warranty package.
Moving on to the interiors, the Alto K10 might be longer than the Eon, but the Eon is definitely taller (by 40mm) and wider (by 75mm). In turn the Eon comes across as more spacious than the Alto and adding to this is the 215 litre boot which can pack in a lot more than the 117 litre boot on the Alto K10. While on the topic of storage space, the Eon has a number of cubby holes, pockets and under seat trays to tuck away knick-knacks, which is missing in the Alto.
As far as creature comforts are concerned, the Alto K10 doesn’t offer nearly as much as the Eon. The top of the line Alto K10 comes fitted with power steering, air conditioning and powered front windows. On the other hand, the Eon comes with everything the Alto K10 offers plus tilt steering, driver side airbag, stereo system with front speakers, AUX and USB connectivity and keyless entry.
Overall, in a segment where the little things make the biggest difference, Hyundai has obviously done their homework to ensure that the Eon will raise enough eyebrows. It wins hands down in the design and style department. It offers better quality interiors and the accessory list is much longer than that on the Alto K10. Having said that, the top of the line Eon is about Rs 50,000 more expensive than the Alto K10 and though this is in striking distance, it might prove to be the only deterrent for as a complete package the Eon scores over the Alto K10 in just about every department. The Alto K10 is literally worth buying only if you are adamant on having a car that goes a little faster than an Eon, apart from that, there is really nothing that the Alto K10 can triumph over the Eon with.
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