Even with the rising popularity of SUVs in the Indian market, hatchbacks still have a tenuous hold in the market, especially because of their affordable price tags. Maruti Suzuki Alto has been around since most of us were born. Recently, the brand introduced the all-new Alto K10, which was discontinued a couple of years ago. What does the all-new Alto K10 bring to the market? We drove the car around Kerala and this is what we think about the all-new Alto K10. We have explained everything about the new Maruti Alto K10 in this detailed first drive video that is shared below.
Looks like a Japanese Kei car!
The all-new Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 sure looks like a Kei car. The hatchback gets the new HEARTECT platform that makes it bigger in size than before. While the dimensions grow marginally, the all-new Alto K10 also offers a new design. The new car gets a much larger grille than before and a clamshell-type bonnet. You might be able to see traces of the old A-Star’s design in the front of the car.
The bumper is also new and the strong creases add a sense of youthful look to the car. There is no provision for fog lamps in the bumper. The headlamps, however, have been updated and are larger than before.
The new Alto K10 uses 13-inch steel rims with wheel covers. There is not much to talk about on the side design. There is a single crease that runs through the body of the new Alto K10. The door handles are flap-type and the side turn indicator is located on the body instead of the ORVM. The ORVMs are all-black and there is no option of a body-coloured version.
The rear of the all-new Alto K10 gets new tail lamps. The squarish tail lamps. Turn indicators, reverse lamp and brake lamps are all integrated into this unit. There is only a single reverse lamp in the car. The bumper at the rear is quite large, similar to the front bumper. There are two parking sensors but no factory-fitted camera.
A bigger cabin
With the increase in dimensions, the cabin space has improved massively – this was a much-needed requirement for a refresh and its accomplished by Maruti here. There is boot space of 251 litres, which is ample to fit two overnighters. The rear seats are wide and have a good amount of support. However, the headrests are fixed. The fixed headrests do not provide adequate whiplash protection. The space is ample for two but the transmission tunnel will make the third passenger uncomfortable.
The rear passengers do not get much utility space. There are small pockets on the door and a bottle holder in the middle. There are no seat pockets or space in the doors to keep the bottles though. Also, the rear passengers will have to operate the windows through the old-age lever system. There is no option of power windows, even with the top-end trim.
The front seats have side bolsters. The driver seat cannot be adjusted for height and the steering is fixed too. However, I did not find any trouble in setting up a comfortable driving position. The front seats are well-cushioned as well and provide adequate support as well. During our drive of 100 plus km, we did not feel any kind of discomfort. The front door pads have large bottle holders. There are two cup holders in the centre console and more compartmental space to keep items like phones and other small items.
The new Alto gets an all-black dashboard. Sitting in the middle is a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that works with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The infotainment system plays through four speakers located on all four doors of the car. The sound quality is adequate and something that you can expect from a car of this segment.
The steering wheel gets multiple buttons including switches to control your phone. The instrument cluster is all-digital and shows basic information. We do miss a tachometer in the fun-to-drive Alto K10.
The new hatchback misses out on the auto-dimming internal rearview mirror though. A feature that a lot of people use in India due to the unprecedented use of high beams on the roads.
How is it to drive?
The Alto K10 is not a very heavy car, especially the new model which uses the lightweight HEARTECT platform. It gets powered by the K10C 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. The engine produces a maximum power of 66.6 PS and peak torque of 82 Nm. The engine is paired to a five-speed manual or a five-speed AMT.
The three-cylinder engine does not feel like one while driving. It is smooth and even at idling, there are almost no vibrations. We drove the manual transmission first and loved the acceleration and power delivery. The engine generates a lot of low-end torque, which ensures that you do not need to shift gears while crawling in heavy traffic conditions.
The gearshifts themselves feel a bit hard but they slot very well. The clutch is light and the manual variant is fun to drive. The Alto K10 feels like driving a raised go-kart. It is raw and it is fast. It can hit 100 km/h in the third gear and can still accelerate further.
The suspension is well-tuned. We loved the behaviour of the Alto K10 over the potholes and speed breakers. The suspension set-up is perfect for the Indian road conditions. The steering, however, lacks feedback. It is precise steering but the feedback is missing. Also, you have to work to bring the steering to the centre every time you turn. It is not a self-centering steering wheel.
We also drove the AMT and did a fuel efficiency run of 80 km on the streets of Kerala. The AMT gets typical characteristics. It upshifts and downshifts smoothly but can get confused sometimes and you do feel the jerks from the transmission. Nonetheless, we did drive the car around in the city with the manual climate control on and got a real-world fuel efficiency of more than 24 km/l, which we think is quite good.
Should you buy one?
The Alto K10 has been a popular choice among first time car buyers and the new one will continue to attract a lot of new customers. It is a practical car and with a price between Rs 3.99 lakh and Rs 5.83 lakh, ex-showroom, the Alto K10 offers a good value for money.