Maruti Suzuki India introduced the Alto 800 in 2012, which replaced the country's top selling car Alto. The Alto 800 not just took the Alto's legacy forward, it also broke several previous records set by its predecessor, proving wrong to everyone who were doubting on the success of the new model. The car appears completely different from the previous generation model and gets an impressive price tag as well. The entry level Alto 800 Base is priced at Rs. 2.5 lakh and the top of the line Alto 800 VXi Airbags costs Rs. 3.40 lakh. People across the country welcomed this latest hatchback warmly, as the car recorded over 21,000 bookings within a week since its launch.
At the time of its launch, the vehicle was offered in 7 variants- 4 petrol and 3 CNG models, later on the company introduced new variants with more accessories and features. So, currently the Alto 800 petrol has base, LX, LXI, VXI, LXI Airbag and VXI Airbag, while the CNG model has three variants- Base, LX and LXI. The CNG model misses out on airbag, however, it comes equipped with several good features and most importantly a very frugal motor.
The exteriors of the Alto received several changes which make it look sportier than before. The front facade gets new creases, dual part radiator grille and others. The company's Logo is positioned right in the middle of the grille, while the lower portion has been designed in a hexagonal shape. The car comes loaded with body-coloured bumper, door-handles, rear body-toned bumper and restyled tail-lamp cluster, which add some more beauty to it.
Based on the old Alto's chassis, the new Alto 800 is relatively more spacious than before with improved leg and headroom for occupants. The new model also carries several advanced features that reduce human efforts and make the ride more pleasant. The car gets a newly designed dashboard with a stylish V-shaped panel positioned in the centre. Buyers also have a choice to install a music system and the frame has large AC vents. Features like driver side SRS airbags, front power windows, driver side storage space, digital click, AC unit with dial-type climate control system, large glove box, bottle holders and others add more to practicality.
Under the hood, the Alto 800 gets a 3-cylinder, 12-valve, 796cc engine that churns out a maximum power output of 47.3bhp and 69Nm of peak torque. Power is transmitted to the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. The petrol version of the small car delivers an impressive fuel economy of 22.74kmpl, while the CNG version with 30.46kmpl of mileage proves to be country's most fuel efficient car. In a nutshell, Maruti Suzuki India has brought in an even more capable product as a replacement of the country's top-selling car Alto. The new model offers improved efficiency, power, safety, space and style. The competitive pricing makes it a perfect product for those aiming to shift from two-wheelers to four-wheeler, especially the first time buyers.
Maruti Suzuki India has done an impressive work to make the new Alto 800 look more appealing than ever. Keeping the old framework, the company has used all new body panels to make this look sportier and different. The front facade of the vehicle looks better with a slim trapezoidal grille, modern looking high-mounted leaf shaped headlamps and large intake in the bumper.
The small car features more prominent creases that run through headlamps and rise towards the rear and finally meet the tail-lamps. At the rear, the vehicle gets a large glass area, multi-element tail-lights and sharply carved new bumper and some added styling. The vehicle can easily run through bumpy roads, thanks to its large ground clearance.
To add a more stylish feel to its compact dimension, the company has incorporated a set of contemporary and strong 12-inch steel wheels designed in 6 bi-spoke pattern to fit in the wheel arches. The wheels feature the radial tubeless tyres, which provide impressive road grip for better braking. The increased width and taller stance offers a roomier seating area for the passengers. It measures 3395mm x 1490mm x 1475mm (length x width x height). The vehicle offers a larger wheelbase of 2360mm and an excellent ground clearance of 160mm. Its fuel tank can hold up to 35 litres of petrol.
Like exteriors, the new Alto 800 gets all-new interiors as well. Inside the cabin, the first thing that catches the attention is its completely new dashboard. Its curvy design and the upmarket colourful seat fabric further enhance the overall beauty of this small hatchback. The dials are readable and look more attractive. However, when the interiors of the Alto 800 are compared to its closest competitor Hyundai Eon, it lacks the quality. The seating is very low, thus getting in and out becomes a little difficult. The seats are comfortable, but still don’t offer enough thigh support.
The cockpit area features a new 3-spoke steering wheel, a newly formulated instrument panel, new dashboard in grey color and headrest for the front row seats, offering a more comfortable seating for passengers. The newly designed dash gets the air conditioner blowers, a glove box and a central console that features the AC units and providing an option to its buyers to fit a music system to it.
Maruti has tried to offer more headroom and knee room space for rear occupants, but the car still feels congested for tall people. Being a small hatchback, the car might not offer a big boot space, but it's decent enough to carry daily bags. What impresses is the large glove box and bottle holder ahead of the gear-lever offered inside the cabin.
Additionally, the top-of the line model comes equipped with several high-tech features including CD/MP3 player, air conditioning, front power windows, power steering, driver side storage space, digital click, AC unit that sports dial-type climate control system and others. But it misses out on some really very standard features including left rear-view mirror, day-night mirror and others.
Engine & Transmission
The new Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 continues to derive its power from the same 0.8-litre petrol mill, but it has been tweaked for better mileage and performance. This small 796cc, 3-cylinder powertrain churns out a maximum power output of 47.3bhp at 6000rpm and a peak torque of 69Nm at 3500rpm. Unlike the 800, the new model is more efficient and it is compliant to Bharat Stage IV emission norms, making it eco-friendly. The engine is tuned to deliver lower emissions and NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) levels. Powertrain is paired to a five-speed manual transmission system and gear-shifts are designed in a way to offer smooth shifts. The engine transmits power to front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission.
Performance and Handling
Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 retains the same 796cc, 3-cylinder, F8D motor, but it is tuned to offer more power and fuel economy. The torque value is also increased by 11 percent, and the improved compression ratio further enhances the performance of the car. The weight of the engine is also reduced with the use of new plastic inlet manifold, making it more fuel economical. The vehicle also features a new 32-bit processor and it will make this engine compliant for BS5 norms in future as well. While driving in traffic, it is noticeable that the new model is much easier to manoeuvre than the older one. The new model is more responsive and agile than before. The throttle response of the car too has improved and now overtaking has become much easier. The NVH levels of the engine has come down, but there is some vibrations once after 4000rpm or at idle speeds. The small engine doesn't have much power, and a driver needs to work hard to extract performance out of it. The new model performs well at a speed of 80-90kmph on highways.
Powered by the improved version of tried and tested 0.8-litre engine, the new Alto 800 takes around 15-16 seconds to reach 100kmph from standstill, which is around 4 sec faster than the previous model. This powertrain has an ability to reach a top speed of 140-145kmph. Meanwhile, the CNG powered small car takes 17-18 seconds to cross 100kmph mark from zero.
Like the engine, the company also worked upon the handling part of the vehicle, and the new model now provides much better drivability. At low-speeds, the ride quality is very good, however it lacks on high speeds. The suspension is smartly fitted to the car, and it does well on bumpy roads. The compact size and light steering makes the driving an absolute pleasure, while the compact dimensions help the driver to drive the vehicle through busiest and narrowest streets and park it easily.
The new Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 gets improved braking and handling system. The braking system consists of Disc brakes for the front wheels and Drum for the rear wheels. The same system is commonly available in small cars and it works efficiently in the fresh Alto as well. However, MSI could have offered Anti-lock braking system as an option on the top-end variant. The front wheels features a gas-filled McPherson strut paired to a torsion roll control, while the rear wheels gets a coil spring suspension coupled with a gas-filled shock absorbers with three link rigid axle and isolated trailing arm.
It is a well known fact that the first thing that a common Indian buyer sees in his vehicle is the fuel efficiency, and Maruti Suzuki India has always been spot-on in this department. The Alto 800 is no exception here, it returns an excellent fuel economy. Featuring the same 796cc, 3-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed manual transmission, it returns a fuel economy of 22.74kmpl on highways and around 18-19kmpl in city. The CNG version is even better with an impressive 30.46km/kg of mileage, which makes it the most fuel efficient car in India.
The company considered both the passenger and car safety while developing this new hatch. The car has several safety features to keep the travelling safe for all passengers and avoid mishappenings. The new Alto 800 comes loaded with driver side airbags (top-end variant), radial tubeless tyres, engine immobilizer, collapsible steering column, headlight levelling system, seat belts and several others.
Maruti Alto 800 in a true sense is the perfect successor of the country's all-time best-seller Alto. The refreshed looks, redesigned interiors and improved engine make it an excellent product for the first time buyers in India. The powermill is tuned to offer more fuel economy, power and performance. However, the vehicle still has few shortcomings like congested rear passenger seats and features. The buyers also have an alternative product Hyundai Eon, which scores more on looks and spaciousness. However, Maruti Suzuki India's after sales service, frugal engines and almost no-maintenance make this vehicle a great value for money product.
Hyundai Eon is the toughest competitor for the new Alto 800, which has also been priced quite competitive and has stylish design. Chevrolet Spark is another model that falls in the competition, but the real rivalry is between the Hyundai Eon and Alto 800. In terms of after-sales services, resale value and other such aspects, the Alto 800 scores more, but when it comes to looks, spaciousness and features, the Eon takes the lead. In terms of fuel efficiency, both are at par. Talking about Chevrolet Spark, the vehicle too looks good and provides a capacious cabin to its buyers, however, the pricing is the aspect where both Alto 800 and Eon out smart this vehicle. In terms of ride quality, it's the Alto 800 that has an upper hand, but Eon's light steering makes it a fun to drive car in traffic. However, both the vehicles are best suited for city drives, driving them on high speeds is not recommended.
Affordable, excellent fuel economy
Looks could have been better, less space in cabin for passengers