Maruti Suzuki Alto 800

Snapshot
TOP STORIES
Variant Price
Specifications
Fuel Type Petrol
Engine Capacity 796cc
Max Power 47 PS / 40 PS (CNG)
Max Torque 69 Nm / 60 Nm (CNG)
No of cylinders 3
No of gears 5
Type Manual
Certified economy 24.7 (Petrol), 33.44 (CNG)
Length 3430 mm
Width 1490 mm
Height 1475 mm
Wheelbase 2360 mm
Boot Space 177 Litres
Kerb Weight Petrol 695-812 kg
Fuel Tank 35 Litres (petrol) / 60 Litres (CNG)
Front MacPherson Strut
Rear 3-Link Rigid Axle Suspension
Turning Radius 4.6 meters
Front brakes Disc
Rear brakes Drum
Tyres 145/80 R12
Wheel type Rim
OUR TAKE

Thumbs up

Value for money, factory fitted CNG option
Driver airbag optional across all versions
Light controls make it easy to drive
Efficient and cheap maintenance cost

Thumbs down

Not a good highway companion
Not as spacious as say the Nano or redi-GO
Average road presence

Launched in 2000 as the replacement for the good old Maruti 800, the Alto is
India’s most affordable car (Tata Nano’s production has been halted) and the
largest selling car in small towns and rural markets. Maruti has sold 35 lakh
(yes, 35,00,000) Altos since then in the Indian car market. There is no
denying the fact that the Alto 800 is a car for the masses! Bullet proof
reliability, low running costs and ease of driving is that the little Alto offers.
Powered by a 800cc engine and mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, the
Alto 800 offers surprisingly brisk performance for city runs. Maruti also offers
a company fitted CNG kit for even lower running costs.
The cabin, though not as spacious as the Nano, offers a clean design with
durable materials. Higher spec models offer integrated audio system, front
power windows, keyless entry and a driver side airbag is optional across all
trim levels. You can even personalise the car with accessories online and get
the same delivered via your nearest showroom.
At this price, the Alto 800 offers an unbeatable package. Its long in the tooth
but is still winning thousands of hearts across India each month.
This car was launched to replace the Maruti 800 and went on to become a hit
with the masses. This version was launched in 2012 and barring the Nano, is
the most affordable car on sale in India. The brand name though has been in
existence since 2000!
Deep Dive
The Alto 800 is built to a price and it shows in the design. Its a basic looking
entry level hatchback and will not be turning any heads on the road.
Dimensions are small and this car is most seen in smaller towns and rural
areas these days. The front is quirky thanks to the cute angular headlamps, a
very thin bonnet lip and a rather large air-dam in the bumper. The tiny 12 inch
wheels further hint at the rock bottom pricing of the car.
The higher versions get wheel caps and fog lamps and these somehow
spruce up the exteriors. The rear is cute though, with tear drop shaped tail
lamps and a well sculpted bumper. Even though then, the overall design
remains basic and we aren’t sure if city dwellers will want to be seen in one of
these. The likes of the Kwid and redi-GO are far better in terms of design at
10-20% higher cost. Colour options though on the Alto 800 are great,
including Silver Silver and Cerulean Blue.
It would be unfair to expect a modern or spacious cabin at this price but the
Alto 800 surprisingly puts a smile on your face. The dark coloured interior
looks good for an entry level hatchback and is practical too – multiple storage
spaces including an open shelf above the glovebox and even proper 1 litre bottle holders up front and at the back. The silver inserts on the steering wheel and around the side air-con vent look nice too. The Alto 800 gets a basic speedometer console with a large dial for speed and small LCD for essentials like fuel quantity and odometer. Space is good for the small car though the Alto 800 is best for four adults and a kid. The placement of front
power window switches is behind the gear lever and this liberates extra knee room around the door pads.
Fit and finish is decent and the hard plastics are known to last for years. The
seats look thin but offer good comfort. All said and done, we couldn’t have
asked for more from a what is the most affordable car on sale in India. Boot
space at 177 litres though is less than we would have expected.
The Alto 800, as the name suggests, uses a 796cc engine with a 3 cylinder
set-up. Max power for the petrol version stands at 47 bhp while the CNG
variant puts out 40 bhp only. However, given the low weight, performance
from this little Maruti is brisk. The STD version weighs just 695kg and city
runs are effortless in the Alto 800. The engine is fairly refined and noise
insulation is good too.
While we don’t recommend, the Alto 800 can take on highway usage too,
keeping 80-90 km/h comfortably all day long. The 5 speed gearbox offers
good shift quality and this improves with time. The highlight here is the
running cost : its easy to squeeze out 18-20 kmpl in city driving conditions
from the Alto 800. The CNG version is even better! However, with a kerb
weight of 810 kg or 115kg over the STD model, the CNG Alto calls for
continuous driver inputs to get going fast as it also puts out lower power /
torque figures. The petrol variant on the other hand is better than the likes of
the KWID / redi-GO 800cc models when it comes to acceleration and top
speed, registering almost 150km/h given the stick.
Thanks to its size and a peppy motor, the Alto is a delight to drive on
congested city roads. The power steering is a tad heavy at parking speeds
but feels so much better as you go faster. In terms of agility, its tough to beat
the little Maruti. Visibility too is great though you do sit a bit lower as
compared to similarly priced cars.
The comfort level however is basic. Nothing wrong here as its made to a
price and the Alto 800 does keep its composure when driven over broken
roads but the small 12 inch wheels are the culprit here. That said, its fun
piloting the Alto around corners and even the occasional highway run. Don’t
just expect it to save you during unintentional emergency manoeuvres.
The Alto 800 is available in three main versions of STD, Lxi and Vxi. All these
three can be had with an optional driver side airbag. Also, the CNG version is
only sold in the LXI trim.
The basic STD version is feature stripped whereas the top spec VXI gets you
air-con, power steering, front power windows, keyless entry, audio system
and a charging outlet. If you want more kit, look at cars like the Datsun redi-
GO or the Renault KWID.

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