After bursting the sales charts for over a decade now, the best-selling entry-level hatchback of Maruti Suzuki, the Alto 800, is back to reinstate its longstanding supremacy. Accoutred with a new face and a tweaked engine, this iconic car has been given a fresh lease of life. The new Alto 800 takes on the same compact dimensions, high-mounted headlights and the thick C pillar of its predecessor. The new Alto 800 is available in the following trim levels: Standard, Standard (O), LX, LX (O), LXi, LXi (O), VXi and VXi (O). The LXi and LXi (O) variants are available in CNG as well.
Under the bonnet, the Alto 800 gets the same tried-and-tested 3-cylinder, 796 cc engine it always had. The engine has undergone a few tweaks for increased fuel efficiency. It gets new short skirt pistons, an increased compression ratio and longer air inlet system. The engine delivers 47 bhp @ 6000 rpm and 69 Nm of torque @ 3500 rpm. However, the fuel efficiency figure has taken a jump to an ARAI-certified 24.7 kpl. This engine can also run on compressed natural gas (CNG) and it is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission.
The steering is light and makes the car easy to manoeuvre through city traffic. The suspension systems used in the car iron out the rougher sections of road well and provides a decent amount of ride comfort.
The new Alto 800 comes with slight modifications such as slimmer front grille with the Suzuki S logo sitting beneath it, a redesigned front bumper which also has provisions for fog lamp fittings and slightly restyled headlights. Two new paint colour options (Cerulean Blue and Mojito Green) have been provided by Maruti Suzuki as well. The rear and sides of the car remain largely similar to the model it replaces. The company has not changed the design of the Alto 800 massively; instead, they have gone in for minor modifications to keep the appeal of the car fresh.
At the first glance, the interior looks no different from that of the outgoing model. However, the fabric seat upholstery is entirely new and of better quality. On the flip side, the seats lack enough back support and is not as comfortable as they could have been. You get power windows at the front, more amount of storage space, a manual air conditioner, a single-DIN audio system with aux-in and USB support, rear doors that have integrated child locks and an airbag for the driver. Unfortunately, Maruti does not provide ABS for the Alto 800. The car packs in decent amount of boot space as well.
The Alto 800 has all that it takes to be a good little entry level hatchback. It has a decent amount of room inside for a small family, frugal engines that have sufficient power for city commutes and the essential features for a comfortable drive. More than any of this, the Alto 800 is backed by the vast service network of Maruti Suzuki and it is inexpensive to buy and own. With this new update, this car is better than it ever was before.