Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Performance & Test Drive


Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Overview

Maruti Suzuki are master strategists when it comes to the small car business. Not only do they have a small car portfolio that is the envy of any manufacturer but they constantly go about reinventing and redefining the business as a market leader rightly should. Case in point this new Alto, before this did anyone really need a micro hatchback with an automated transmission. Not really, but after this new Alto, everybody is definitely going to want one! So the question is how do you introduce a much scoffed at technology such as the automatic transmission in the small car business? Well first you hope that a technology that provides all the benefits of an automatic transmission but has none of the weaknesses comes your way. Then you put it in a fancy new wrapper and just to throw in some additional goodies, you spruce up a few other elements.

The technology in this case is the much touted and highly appreciated Automated Manual Transmission or AMT, which by the looks of it is quickly gaining quite a foothold in the Indian compact car market. Maruti was the first to embrace this technology which is nothing but a simple device that retains the manual transmission but does away with the clutch. The technology is simple, effective and highly rewarding as we can see with the increasing popularity it enjoys both with customers and manufacturers who are quick to adopt this technology.Check for Maruti Suzuki  Alto K10 price in Chennai at Tryaldrive.

To introduce this technology in just the plain old Alto -now where’s the fun in that. So Maruti drew up a new top hat for the Alto K10, revised a few elements, gave it a more modern look and feel, spruced up the interiors and effectively raised the bar with the Alto. Now you don’t have just a small car everyone can buy, you suddenly have a small car that everyone aspires to own! And then to sweeten the deal some more you throw in stuff like an improved engine with better fuel efficiency, lower NVH, improved ride, new comfort features and added safety! And if my guess is correct, Maruti will make sure all of this is priced nearly the same as the Alto it replaces. Here then in more detail is how Maruti intends to put another 25 lakh Alto’s on our roads.

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Look

So the Alto K10 is a new design which has some interesting elements and others that I don’t know what to make of. The hood, to start off with, I simply love the slightly beefed up bump running through the middle. It’s a very subtle element and one that can easily escape the eye unless viewed from certain angles. It’s a very racy and bold element for a car in this segment but certainly worth applause. After that though there is a bunch of hogwash design elements; large headlamps, a grille split into two sections one narrow and another wide that almost looks comic in some angles, darkened plastic fog lamp inserts etc etc. The smorgasbord continues at the rear where there is hardly anything designer as such. It’s an effective tail end designed to do the right things and that’s that.

The dimensions of the new Maruti Suzuki Alto have changed, though it bears the same chassis as before. So while wheelbase and track stay the same, the length has been reduced by 75mm while height and width have increased by 15mm. The Maruti Suzuki Alto sits on skinny 155/65 R13 tyres that don’t entirely fill the wheel wells but whose principal role isn’t to look good but to enable better efficiency.

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Comfort

In terms of the comfort and rich features offered, the interior of the new Alto K10 is far better than its sibling. The power windows are only on its front side. One can easily adjust the ORVMs from inside. Now, the steering wheel is more stylish but less responsive. The new blue seats are comfortable with integrated headrests, like Hyundai i10. However, the plastic quality is still cheap. For an average Indian height, the ingress/ egress is perfect but tall people could find it congested.

There is no provision of an audio system. One can get it installed from the market. The overall ambience of cabin is maintained by various standard features, including a climate control unit with heater, front power window, electric trip-meter with tachometer, illumining instrument cluster with speedometer, vanity mirror, sun visor, ash tray, accessory socket, cup holder, rear parcel tray, accessory socket, tinted window glass, etc.

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Transmission

Here, thecar was subjected to a good mix of stop-and-go traffic, highways and twisty ghat roads. The K10 AMT felt reasonably peppy, easy to drive and the gear shifts felt a bit smoother and more sorted than they do in the Celerio AMT. Maruti seems to have tweaked the AMT’s electronics to iron out some of the jerkiness. I also noticed that this car ‘creeps’ forward (like a conventional auto) reasonably well when you take your foot off the accelerator, making it easier to drive in slow-moving traffic and parking speeds. That said, I found myself slotting the ’box in manual mode on the highways — since gear changes are more predictable here, you can select a lower ratio before engaging in an overtaking manoeuvre.

The engine is the same unit as in the outgoing car, but the now electronically-controlled throttle positioning has been tuned for better lower speed response. Throttle response is crisp and acceleration just gets stronger as the revs rise. Maruti claims that the drive-by-wire tech, combined with lower friction engine oils, has improved fuel economy by a good 15 percent. Also, the three-cylinder engine feels more refined, and unless you push it above 3,500rpm, is reasonably quiet.

Where this motor really comes alive is when it’s paired to the slick-shifting manual gearbox. Acceleration is strong in the first three gears, and this little Alto can easily keep up with and leave some hatchbacks from even two segments higher, in its dust. We didn’t strap our testing gear onto this car but from the seat of my pants, it does feel a bit quicker than the older K10. However, I wish Maruti had given it slightly bigger shoes to make better use of the power on twisty roads; the 155/55 R13 tyres aren’t particularly grippy. Also, despite the improved ride, it does get a bit choppy over undulations, and the steering feels a bit vague because it doesn’t self-centre very well.For more information on Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 check Ksd-media

That said, it’s easily the most fun-to-drive car in its segment, and the automatic variant (though not as peppy) is claimed to be as fuel efficient as the manual. And more importantly, it makes easy work of urban traffic. The Alto K10 may not top its segment in appeal, but it is more welcoming than the outgoing car. Sure, it still isn’t pretty, but the smoother exterior design make it easier on the eyes. Not only are interior aesthetics a big step up over the outgoing car, Maruti’s extra efforts mark the K10 as a clear cut above the Alto 800 too. The Alto K10’s case though is built on its combination of practicality, peppy performance and the incredible convenience of an automatic at a very competitive price tag.

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Safety

On the features side, you do get air-conditioning across all variants as standard with power windows coming in only on the higher VXi variant. This variant also gets airbags but there is no ABS anywhere, not even as an option. Whats also strange is that the Alto is one of the very few cars to still offer just one wing mirror on the base LX and the LXi variant as standard which is simply poor manufacturer attitude towards safety

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Driving

Drive it with a steady foot and the shifts happen smoothly. It progresses from the first to second at an engine speed of 2500 to 3000 rpm. The same band is repeated if the throttle response is increased gradually. It is only the initial shift where a mild lag is experienced but as the engine makes up sufficient speed, the transmission too works at tandem. If driven with a heavy foot, the shifting points of the transmission are shifted to higher points making the engine breathe longer between shifts to produce a greater power delivery. This is useful during overtaking.

Shifting from automated to manual mode takes place in a jiffy. In the manual mode, the engine holds on to higher speeds reaching a peak of 6000rpm. This takes care of spirited style of driving with a quick downshift availing a wide range of engine speed. The downshifts in particular happen without any hassle. The up shifts aren’t as smooth but do their job in shifting to lower gears as soon as the engine speed drops.

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Price in Chennai

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 On Road Price is 4,11,763/- and Ex-showroom Price is 3,57,098/- in Chennai. Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 comes in 6 colours, namely Tango Orange,Silky Silver,Fire Brick Red,Granite Grey,Superior White,Cerulean Blue. Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 comes with FWD with 998 CC Displacement and 3 Cylinders with Maximum Power 67 bhp@6000 rpm and Peak Torque 90 Nm@3500 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 comes with Automatic Transmission with FWD .

Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Final Word

At an ex-showroom price of just 4 lacs, the Alto K10 AMT oozes practicality. It is no longer the cheapest one around with the Tata Nano coming in at a lakh less, but it is definitely more upmarket and comes with a very peppy 1.0 litre motor. It may not be as dynamically sorted or as good looking as we would have liked it to be, but it does make those long daily commutes that much easier without the usual cost of owning an automatic being reflected in your bank balance. Kudos to Maruti for plonking the 1.0 litre K-Series motor in the Alto and coupling it with the 5-speed AMT!

The Alto K10 AMT is surely among the most sensible hatchbacks around. Thus car will not win many traffic-light GPs, it won’t encourage you to attack corners, and it will not turn many heads either. But it will keep your left foot happy and make those boring daily commutes through jam-packed roads that much easier, without burning a big hole in your pocket. Practical and peppy, the Alto K10 impresses!

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