When Maruti jumped on the AMT bandwagon it's rivals were caught napping and now here is the next assault in form of the new Alto K10 AMT (automated manual transmission). Yup this will mean it will be the cheapest automatic that you can buy in India. Having driven it one thing is clear that this is the next step in the evolution of small cars.
Now back to the new Alto K10 and the successful recipe of a pocket-rocket (more than 4.3 lakh K10 have been sold in the last four years) that the previous one was has been honed further.
Maruti has differentiated both the Alto 800 and K10 with the latter having a more premium look. The biggest changes are when you look at the front which is more aggressive and well styled.
The signature 'S' logo on the chrome grille, swept- back headlamps and a new front bumper are the headline changes. Move to the side and here things largely stay the same while at the rear the new tail-lamps look good. The stance is no doubt helped by the 13 inch wheels. Overall here Maruti has done a good job.
If you like the exterior then the interior will impress you more as the all new interior is probably one of Maruti's best yet. The dual-tone dash and the 3-spoke steering wheel looks good with quality levels also being impressive. This is on an another planet compared to the previous K10.
Despite being 75mm shorter in length compared to the previous K10 it is wider and has more room than its predecessor. Though best keep it limited to four passengers. When it comes to equipment levels top-spec cars have driver airbag, front foglamps, audio system with CD, MP3-USB, radio, keyless entry, accessory socket etc. An interesting thing is that the K10 manual version has cup-holders ahead of the gear-lever but the AMT does not.
Getting hold of the AMT automatic version immediately I immersed myself into a traffic jam which would be the natural habitat of the new Alto K10. First impressions are very postive with the smoothened out gear changes feeling much better than the Celerio. It is pretty responsive and jerk free. As you might know it has R, N and D modes with manual mode also there.
At low speeds to move in traffic it is responsive and you if want that instant bit of performance you can use manual mode which gives you control over the gears and allows you to select a lower gear.
As for the engine itself which was a strong point in the previous K10 continues to be so here also. The 3 cylinder 998cc engine develops 67 bhp and 90Nm of torque. It is pretty responsive at low revs but the engine performs at its best when using revs judiciously. Refinement is decent too.
If your in the mood for some hard driving the new Alto K10 is more fun than its rivals. It is agile and quite eager with the small tyres playing the limiting factor. The ride though gets bouncy over bad surfaces and the steering could have been better.
How does an improvement of over 15 percent over the previous version sound to you? Yes the Maruti Alto k10 delivers 24.07 kmpl which is same for both the AMT as well as the manual version. In traffic conditions easily expect more than 18-20 kmpl which for an automatic is superb. It is also more efficient than its rivals.
If there was any doubt that Maruti understands the Indian car market better than anybody else then this will melt those thoughts away. Launched with competitive pricing the AMT equipped K10 has success written in its fate quite clearly. Even without the AMT the updates make the new Alto K10 very much a threat to its rivals especially the new look and interior.
However we think the AMT version is the one to buy as it adds a new meaning to the term 'ease of driving'. To be available only with VXi trim level and priced at Rs 3.8 lakh there is no doubt that the new Alto K10 will be huge success for Maruti and now the ball is in its rivals court.
Check out the new Alto K10 video