The Alto is also based on the legendary Maruti Suzuki 800, but this one comes with a better refined K10 engine. In India the K10 series was introduced in 2011 and all small hatches from Maruti now feature the K10 engine, which is better refined for performance and fuel economy.
The K10 is a step above the Alto 800 in every aspect, from design and styling to engine and performance. The K10 competes against other small entry hatches such as the Hyundai Eon and the Chevrolet Spark.
The exterior design is a bit more aggressive than the Alto 800 although it shares the same platform. It comes with a bigger front grille with headlights as well as fog lights. There is also a body side moulding and newly designed combination tail lamps.
The interiors are a little better than the Alto 800. The gear knob gets a newer design, there is an accessory socket, the instrument cluster is also newly designed and there are more colour schemes on the seats and dash.
However interior room and space is the same as the Alto 800, with front passengers getting more room and rear passengers getting less.
The K10 engine is remarkable. It is essentially a 998cc petrol engine with 3-cylinders that can produce 68bhp@6200rpm. That is pretty decent considering the small size of the car. The K series is also very well refined and it is mated to a well engineered 5-speed manual transmission. The engine is also BSIV compliant.
Because the engine is very well refined and has decent power, the Alto K10 actually has some ‘oomph’ in its performance. The overall acceleration is very decent and the gear changes are once again smooth and easy. The overall ride quality is average as the same chassis and suspension setup is used as in the Alto 800. The steering is also decent but could be lighter as the response is a little slow. Once again the brakes are not the best because of the drum found in the rear.
The fuel efficiency is fantastic with the 1.0-litre engine able to provide almost 19kmpl, that is not bad for a small hatch with decent performance.
The Alto k10 has a few interesting features, but nothing to fancy. On the top end variant you can get power steering, front power windows and air conditioning.
On the safety front there is nothing to look forward to except front fog lamps, child lock doors and central locking.
The Alto K10 is an entry level hatch with the bare necessities, so don’t expect to find high quality components. The exterior is simple and delicate as is the inside, which is made of not so good quality materials. However the car is reliable and is well built, and can take on mostly all Indian road conditions without a problem and with Maruti Suzuki backing you need not worry about finding parts or service centres. Not to mention its engine is very well built and well refined.
Once again the Alto K10 delivers on its promise of value for money. You definitely get your money’s worth every penny spent. For an entry level hatch with this performance and refinement it is your safest bet.
While the Alto K10 does have a very well built frame and well refined engine, its design is a little bland compared to the rest of the competition. The Eon and Spark look better and also have more room, however the Alto K10 is cheaper and much easier to maintain. So if you don’t mind driving an outdated looking car, the Alto K10 is good choice.