Community speaks: Is the Nano a more practical car than the Alto?

CarToq member Sai Bhardwaj had asked the community, whether the Tata Nano is a practical car or whether one stretch their budget a little and buy the Alto? This is a common question and here we find an answer to it.

We compare the Nano and the Alto on various criteria to see which one of these two budget cars comes out on top!

2012 tata nano
Photo: The Nano is more spacious and affordable than the Maruti Suzuki Alto


The Tata Nano starts at Rs. 1.40 lakh and goes up to Rs. 1.97 lakh for the top of the line LX variant. The Maruti Suzuki Alto on the other hands starts at Rs. 2.40 lakh and goes up to Rs. 2.91 lakh for the top of the line LXi variant. So, on the face of it the Nano is still almost Rs.1 lakh cheaper than the Alto making it the clear choice based on price. If you are on a tight budget then the Tata Nano makes sense for you. So is the Alto worth paying that the extra amount does it justify the premium? Let’s compare the features of both these cars to find out.


Both the Nano and the Alto get AC on the top end variants, but only Alto has power steering. Neither of them comes equipped with a music system. In fact in terms of features there isn’t much to talk about in either car, and things like front power windows are pretty much the best tech you’ll find in one of these cars. These are however bare basic cars and are meant to perform on other grounds.


In terms of space the Nano clearly has more to offer than the Alto. Don’t be fooled by the Nano’s small dimensions, it is rather spacious on the inside. Headroom and legroom are both better than in the Alto. However there is one area where the Alto is better, it has a boot which can carry luggage; the Nano on the other hand has a rear mounted engine so there is no boot.

maruti suzuki alto
Photo: The Alto is more powerful and handles better than the Tata Nano

Engine and performance

The present Nano powered by a 624 cc, twin cylinder petrol motor makes a humble 37.5 Bhp of power and 51 Nm of torque. But what is impressive is its mileage; it has claimed mileage of 24 Kmpl! The Alto on the other hand has a 796 cc engine that makes 46 Bhp of power and 62 Nm of torque. The Alto has a claimed mileage of 20 Kmpl. In terms of handling and performance the Alto is much better than the Nano. The Alto feels solid and handles like a proper car the Nano on the other hand seems light and uncomfortable at speeds of over 70 Kmph.

So the Nano makes more sense for a buyer on a tight budget looking for a small family car with space and mileage. The Alto on the other hand is still a better car if you are going to be driving alone or with just the front passenger on board. Let’s take a look at what the CarToq community suggested Sai:

CarToqMember Hardik suggested that Sai should go for the Hyundai Eon as it is better than both the Nano and the Alto. CarToq Expert Babychen Mathew said that: “Nano is practical, but not for everyone. Do you want a cheap car that is economical and has lots of legroom and headroom? Then yes.”

He also stressed that the Alto is a more complete car that also benefits from Maruti Suzuki’s reliability and service network.

Another CarToq Expert Aravindhan said the Alto has better acceleration and top-end performance. He mentioned that its engine is less noisy when compared to the Nano. However, even he said that the Alto doesn’t offer as much legroom and headroom as the Nano.

CarToq Expert Roshun Povaiah said that the Nano is good for crowded cities and where there’s plenty of traffic. It has a small turning radius and parking is easy. It’s also surprisingly spacious for four people. Good as a city car only. While CarToq Member Nikhil simply urged Sai to go for the Maruti Suzuki Alto.