Maruti Alto 800 Test Drive Review

Maruti Alto 800 Test Drive Review

2012 Maruti Alto 800 – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Maruti Alto 800 Review

Car tested: 2012 Maruti Alto 800 LXi

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 3,55,340/-

Maruti Suzuki is known as the king of small cars and leading the charge is none other than the Alto. Post the phase out of the legendary 800, the Alto took over and recorded sales which has helped India’s largest car maker remain the undisputed king in the entry level segment. With time, the Alto has started to show its age and the 800cc model has got no upgrades in the past few years. Now Maruti Suzuki is all set to launch an upgraded Alto, in the form of the Alto 800 (800 name is only to differentiate it with the K10). We drive it to find out, if the Maruti Alto 800 lives up to its name!

Exteriors – The styling of the Maruti Alto 800 looks far from impressive. The old Alto looked cute even thought it has been around for more than a decade. With the Alto 800, Maruti Suzuki has just tried to bring styling from the Japanese Alto and the A-Star, which doesn’t give the Alto 800 an identity of its own. The Alto 800 has very compact dimensions and the company has added new bits to make the vehicle look modern. A new and lighter roof has been added with corrugations to boost stability. New outside rear view mirror has been picked up from the Alto K10 but its shocking too see no left side rear view mirror as standard. The door handles are body colored but the rear view mirror is not. The full wheel caps look good and the wheel arches are slightly flared too. The increased height and high ground clearance makes the Alto 800 look odd. The Alto 800 is thus, no match for the well styled Hyundai Eon. The conservative styling doesn’t appeal much and the Alto 800 ends up looking very disproportionate.

Interiors – Step inside and you will be greeted by the vastly improved dashboard, which is all new. Small doses of silver are added on the dashboard (side AC vents, center console and steering wheel to be precise) and make the interiors of the Alto 800 look very good. The steering wheel is 3-spoke and comes from bigger Maruti cars. India’s largest car maker has improved plastic quality too. What they haven’t improved by much is the space and the car continues to be very uncomfortable with not much space for tall passengers. The Alto 800 has the same wheelbase as the old Alto, but the doors are now thinner, the height of the vehicle has increased resulting in slightly improved headroom. There are scoops on the rear of the front seats resulting in marginally better legroom too.

Front headrests are now integrated in the seats (just like the Hyundai i10) but there are no headrests for rear passengers. There are quite a few storage spaces in the Alto 800, including one above the glovebox, few cubbyholes below the center console and one storage bin for the driver, below the headlamp leveler. Front power windows are standard and are placed in the center, right behind the gear lever. The instrument cluster is one large dial (speedometer) with tell-tale lights (including CNG light, for the CNG variant which will be priced at Rs. 40,000/- premium) placed on the left and a digital readout for fuel, odometer and trip meter below it. The driver gets an airbag as an option which is indeed a positive move on the safety front. The interiors feel so much more upmarket than the old Alto and are definitely one of the biggest plus points of the Alto 800.

Boot space has been increased marginally, however the narrow opening prevents bigger bags to be kept. The boot is best for small hand bags and one can’t really expect a car the size of an Alto to swallow suitcases in its trunk.

Performance – The Maruti Alto 800 continues to be powered by the age-old 796cc petrol engine, which gets a sea of changes to improve power and torque output. Maruti Suzuki engineers have made loads of changes to the hardware of the F8D engine, resulting in a power output of 47.5 BHP at 6000 RPM (3.5 BHP increase) and 69 Nm of torque at 3500 RPM (7 Nm increase). The engine feels much more eager than before and one can up-shift quickly without having to worry about progress at low speeds. There is some amount of jerkiness to the 3-cylinder unit though but overall improvements are extremely positive, resulting in improved driveability and mileage (ARAI claimed 22.7 km/l). The CNG powered Alto 800 returns a mileage of 30.46 km/kg as per ARAI.

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The Alto 800 feels quicker than its predecessor and gearshift quality is smooth, just like the old Alto. There is more than ample power and torque for city driving and the Alto 800 is quick to reach 80 km/h.

Ride, Handling and Braking – Maruti engineers have stiffened the Alto’s chassis and also tweaked the suspension. Ride quality has improved but the vehicle does tend to get ruffled by bad roads easily. Handling has never been the Alto’s forte and with the Alto 800, things are not going to change in this regard either. The Alto 800 has 80-profile tyres, which clearly point towards ride quality over handling. The tyre spec is the same as that of the old Alto. The vehicle now has a heavier steering wheel which offers little or no feedback to the driver. The small and puny 12-inch tyres don’t help matters much but offer decent stability at speed. Braking is good and the low weight of the vehicle does help in stopping quickly, although ABS should have been offered, atleast as an option.

Conclusion – Maruti Suzuki hasn’t made many changes to the Alto 800, which is essentially the Alto in fresh clothing, with slight upgrades here and there. What this results in, is a much better Alto overall but is it enough considering this is the first facelift to the Alto in 12-years. While Maruti Suzuki’s brand name is more than enough to keep the Alto’s sales flying high, we were hoping for a vastly improved Alto to compete with the likes of the Hyundai Eon. However, the changes to the Alto are more than welcome and the refreshed exteriors, new dashboard, marginally more space, slightly more eager engine and better quality of plastics is enough to justify the Rs. 30,000/- price hike which is expected on the new Alto.

Whats Cool

* New dashboard
* Better mileage
* Improved plastic quality

Whats Not So Cool

* Styling lacks identity
* Engine still lacks grunt on the highways
* No left-side rear view mirror

Maruti Alto 800 Specifications

* Engine: 796 cc, 3-cylinder, 12-valves
* Power: 47.5 BHP @ 6000 RPM
* Torque: 69 Nm @ 3500 RPM
* Transmission: 5-speed manual
* Top Speed: 140 km/h
* 0-100 km/h: 19 seconds (est)
* Fuel Consumption: 16-17 km/l (City), 18-19 km/l (highway)
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Suspension: Mcpherson Struts (Front), Coil Springs (Rear)
* Tyres: 145/80/12 Tubeless Radials
* Brakes: Disc (Front), Drum (Rear)
* Safety: iCats Immobilizer, Driver Side Airbag (Optional)

Maruti Alto 800 Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 3395 mm X 1490 mm X 1475 mm
* Wheelbase: 2360 mm
* Ground clearance: 160 mm
* Boot Volume: 177-liters
* Turning Radius: 4.6-metres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 35-litres
* Kerb Weight: 720 kgs

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  • Thar

    Yuk… Not at all original design:( Its a copy n past from so many cars. front from Figo, back from Eon and overall body is compressed A-Star :|

  • Vivek MS

    I think, this is just an upgrade to the existing car to live upto the current competition. Personally, I never expected this from Maruti. A true new product could have been a better bet and it could have had a better life cycle. A big let down from the King of small car segment :(

  • anwar

    rumor was that it would compete against Nano, but it turns out that it would be more expensive than outgoing model.
    which will make it almost as expensive as much quicker K10.
    the only thing i liked about this car are its interiors.

    • Faisal Khan

      Anwar, its sitting at such a price point, that neither does it compete with the Nano, nor with the Eon.

  • No One

    Alto was for basic need, they killed that basic funda by making it more expensive.

    Why ABS, rather for this segment, A/C is enough, rest do as much cost cutting is possible to get the vehicle priced under or around the present Alto.

    That they could not do, so what is the big deal ? Everyone will modify and make it better but only leaders will modify of develop to make it better but going cheaper

  • Pulse76

    Nano looks better then this :-)

    • Sachin

      Ya. Nano is cute and sportier in some angles.But obviously better than this SHIT

    • Pavan

      Agree. Much better and spacious. This is too costly.

  • rakesh

    While the exterior is quite a mixed bag, i like the interiors, the k10 looks outdated in front of the A8s interiors.

  • Sidd

    They should have made it cheaper if they want more sales
    By making it more expensive than before in a segment where people just looks for a box on four wheels which can carry his or her family in comfort, these things like plastic quality and design doesn’t matter at all

  • sunny

    omg…just luk at the tyre size…how this gonna cope up with the speed above 80km/hr..its as slim as bycycle tyre.. :D

  • yila

    Honda Brio E MT is a much better option, that too with Rs.50000 discount offer.

    • Sushrut

      Which Honda dealer is offering 50K discount, let me know.

  • Ami

    The ‘PRICE TAG’ will decide the future of the New Alto800

  • http://Jsttothink Alex T

    Blacked out ‘A’ and ‘B’ pillar … Black rubber door strips will make it look little better… If some one could photoshop and upload the side profile plz

  • Rajan

    The interiors looks refreshing. Pricing is much higher than anticipated.

    Alto is doing good even now and i think Maruti will lauch new Alto alongside old Alto and guage peoples reaction. We should not be surprised when they decide to retain old Alto in their stable.

  • bali

    OLD aLTO still looks better…..they r just going to kiLL d ALTO branD wid dis model..:-(

  • Muhammad

    Thank you Mr. Khan, an excellent job and for putting forward an objective view to prospective buyers. From photographs, car still appears very boxy (may be colour) and cheap, and very dated. Change are almost unnoticeable. Extra torque is available @3500 rpm not 3000 rpm. Is it still 50 year old cast iron engine?

    My question to you is that we are debating between Alto 800 Lxi and Eon DLite+. Both are nearly same price on paper but Maruti is giving about 10% cash discount, which will disappear with new Alto and add 30K price hike. Feature wise Eon has some more and better quality and fresh looking. I think 5 years down the road, Eon will have better value. What is take on this and what will you suggest? Thank you again.

  • gk

    its notin but an Hyundai i20 next gen beaten up to a smaller size…….ITS A COPY !!!!! check out the wheel arches, the tail lamps especially the back lamps and signal ones….

  • Pavan

    OTR price of the current Alto is around 3.2 for top end variant which is really good. where as this new alto 800 is 3.75L which is too expensive. why can’t we go for Santro medium variant at 4L OTR with all the basic accessories.

  • Rajan

    you can be legally p——–d for that 0 to 80kmph. Stop posting such evidences.. LoL.

  • Adi

    Goofed up design, why spoil something already much better ? Come on maruti guys, time to hire someone from hyundai design team….!!!

  • Paul Aby

    Very sad of Maruti, as designers does got any other thing to put in the Maruti, they have copied the same of Figo, Does Maruti Dont have Good Designers to make Alto 800 beautiful, now this design sucks, the previous Alto looks far better than this, even though it does not have big front. Sad of Maruti Designers and Engineers. If this continues, am sure Maruti will fly into losses

  • Manoj

    I think the price quote here is not right. I did check with the showroom sales, they did mention that that price will be near to Tata nano high end model and lower than Alto K10 model. This has also been out in website and talks that it is will be somewhere between 2.2 to 3lk.

    • Faisal Khan

      Manoj, once the car is launched, you can verify the price quote, trust me, it is very accurate.

    • Paritosh

      I’m agree with Manoj. Its approx 3lk for higher model.

  • hari

    even if maruti give 50000 discount for this model I dont think the sales will improve

    • sriram

      Hari sir It will improve ok this model is very good nice and comfortable to ride.

  • aditya

    Poor design of the car will demoralize of many who had a lot of expectation from new alto… old alto f8d looks much better than this junk……

  • tejas

    what about maruti cervo ?
    when maruti lauch

  • Amit Nain

    Dear All,
    Look and Style as higher version english car. Comfort Very comfort Pickup Pickup is better the 800 Mileage Mileage is very much better then other this segment car. Best Features in Alto 800.

    With Best Regards,
    Amit NaiN

  • Yogesh

    Just received a call from dealer, Car is at showroom for display and cost is yet to be fixed but he said it will be near to 3.5 without CNG and 4.2 9CNG Model)

  • yogesh monga

    look and style very good ,nice car with new features

  • Sentil

    It seems maruti is hosting a page h@@p:// showing a fake counter to impress people to book this car creating sentiment that lot of people are interested, so they can sell a low end model at high price, ‘HUGE FAKE DEMAND’,’no details on color or price but their own idea to leak images and send details about huge pricing’ .Indians are intelligent and won’t get in trap of this kind of things running back a very ugly car that can be sold at a high price to get back their market share that is down now.’NOT AN INTELLIGENT’ idea like before.Seems common people have to find another car that has some value than getting trapped in day light looting.

  • Vijay Kaushik

    Dear All,

    New alto 800 is very very sports look with comfort and easy drive having much more features with fully space. This will creat a new history in capture the market for middle class family, compare with current cars in this segment.

    Vijay kaushik
    Toyo Engineering India Ltd.

  • Sharma

    If it sits at a high price point,neither does it will compete with any small car but it will be sitting only at the showroom like some other brand cars that don’t know the pulse of the people in India

    The cost of production will be less than Maruti 800, plus the charges for power steering only, for we can understand that the same 800 engine with a shorter piston head means less metal is used which makes high compression which would produce more power,also length of Alto 800 is same as Maruti 800;( there too less metal use) and worst uncomfortable thin seat than Maruti 800, with very thin doors,in effect,production cost will be very less but feel same as that of Sentil stated above, they may be preparing for like the overpriced car like swift to counter the loss of the maruti plant shutdown to recover loss, from the middle class by creating an artificial demand for this car, that will be a failure.Surely people will switch to other brands.

    Also i doubt what is the use of that air bag IN THIS CAR? We all know how maruti car will look when a bike hits it, it would have been better to provide a stronger chasis and body than provide airbag to show maruti suzuki cares the saftey of people.

  • Keshav Singh

    I have question to all the of you. Tata has improved its indica petrol version too called xeta. Why not talk about that too. Its diesel version starts at 4 lac. No body talks a desi brand which sells higher. Please respond. I am looking to buy budget car. Now which should i go for. Even this maruti 800 is out now. Should i wait for spark 800 which was also rumored.

  • Ajay

    I am also thinking of waiting for Spark 800 or going in for Indica petrol.Thanks keshav for reminding options

  • Krishnakumar

    Actually this is the Maruti 800 being replaced as ‘Alto 800′ with the same size rather than Alto with cosmetic modifications.Power delivery is less compared with other cars eon, spark etc.

    People really fell with ARAI(is under test conditons without AC) figure 22.7 without understanding its real situation.

    This car is a city only car that means, with AC and running inside city translates to only between 10 to 12 kms/litre because we must remember, bhp and torque being low, as weight increase mileage will drop very much,with 3 or 4 people on board mileage will be drastically reduced due to low bhp and pulling will be a problem, if AC on, terribly low pulling.
    That means spark & EON with a mileage of 10 to 12 in city is all equal or better when translated to real world conditions, which gives us more options:- 13 inch wheels, more bhp, better exterior and interiors, above all with better chassis and safety with better ride.
    So ARAI figure is misleading to the user.
    Pricing will decide the future of this car, because its one of the most outdated engine in the world that is being used in Alto 800. Not worth more than a Maruti 800, also having a vague steering is dangerous.
    I thought of buying a car for my short visits in city, but this is disappointing if it sits at a high price with vague steering.They could have atleast used 13 inch wheels and a stronger body.Also tachometer is missing.

    • Raju.M

      Nice Comment…



  • karthik

    its very bad on to launch age old deisgns from maruti.
    swift is great, cervo whould have been better in shape.
    dont discriminate 800 cc buyers like this.
    hyundai has given better looks in the form on eon.

  • Smitha

    The car looks very awkward in real than in picture, design is not good.I was thinking of booking this, after seeing this i am in a dilema, whether to go for spark or tata indica or the old alto. Many people may buy this if is low priced but i guess, its not worth the price above Rs 2.6 to 2.7 lakhs OTR even for lxi.The old Alto is better than this, also the K10 for sure.
    Like Krishnakumar said mileage will be as of above with the same pot engine, also i doubt, since some of engine parts are plastic, it may last for an year.After free service is over, i doubt our car will be always at the MASS for repairs…terrible headache.

  • sushank

    it is just ok…a lot of features have been copied from THE TATA NANO…n even though maruti suzuki has increased the price of this car but still no left side rear view mirror, ???? cmon it is just a small thing yaar…leg space is very less for the rear passangers as copared with tata nano….

  • No One

    K10 looks better than this one.

    Why they simply didn’t put the 800cc engine in K10 and carried forward the same style and looks of K10 ?

  • Abhishek Sharma

    maruti suzuki launched this car a copy images of other car’s and they want to beat “TATANANO”
    but they will be unable, coz prise factor will be main if they provide LXI model under 2.50 lac so ok and their basic model should have a prise under 1.9 laks then peole wil interested orelse no..

  • krishnrakumar

    I surprised but nothing , what happen Maruthi Alto 800 very very poor

  • ANS

    its good

  • Saleem Ahmad

    Its nice for small family.

  • Uma

    Looks like match Box and back seat is cramp and can accommodate 1 year old baby for sleeping. MS should come out good design like hyundai etc., The cost of the car is also bit high. I agree that earlier 800 is much better than this car and shape.

  • Sayan

    This Alto looks ugly compared to Hyundai Eon (which I don’t like either) !!. The reviewer is right in pointing out that the car lacks a clear identity. It is surprising how such an ill-designed model can even get off the design table and on to the production line. Maruti must realize that it can no longer protect its market by merely churning out cheap fuel-efficient engines in ill-fitting boxes…the competition is offering much more beyond fuel-efficiency.

    Alto K10 could have been so much more with the right design tweaks inside and outside, but alas we are saddled with the “changeless” philosophy prevalent at Maruti.

  • nitendra

    astar ke parts lagakar juni bottle me nayi sharab pack kar di hai ,baki maruti 800 ke jais responc nahi milega…

  • arsalan ahmad


  • mahesh

    car is good but very high cost

  • sonu rajvansi

    best car –

    jo log kah rahe hain look bekar hai ek baar ise chala kar dekho.

    iske andar old alto/ standard 800 se better comfort sab kuch hai jiski jarurat hai.

    pick up sandar like santro . good car .

  • madan

    The Alto 800 front Grill shape not good shape compare to Alto & Eon so much of gap available in the front grill side, required for quick change for front Grill shape, otherwise too good.

  • hitesh

    bolna asaan hai ki design aise hai waise hai agar itna hi kharab hai to design karke bhijwado.
    nice car with better ave. and pickup with almost all modern feature. i know price is lit-bit high.
    i have own this .
    i love this car.

  • sudhakaran

    I bought alto800 a week ago..gud car..but it lacks left side mirror..a major point.dikky space also less..

  • Venbas

    This Car is going to be a mass hit for the reigning King Maruthi in India. I had TDed multiple cars for my wifey who was graduating from scooter to her first car. I was floored by the ease with which myself a 6 1 tall person can fit in comfortably as compared to the older Alto was Amazing. Full marks to the interior space management team. The older Alto was a strict NO NO for tall hefty people and the revised modifications in the new Alto makes it a proper people carrier. The refinement of the engine, the powerful AC and the gearshifts makes it a dream to drive in our traffic. I did not have to downshift even in Fourth gear at 30kmph traffic conditions. The AC was so powerful that I could comfortably switch it off within minutes or when I needed to do a zip drive. The mileage is another huge plus and I am getting close to 18 in actual driving conditions with plenty of city ride traffic. The EoN looks cute but the gears and refinement are a blooper. The Spark was good but the new Alto matches the Spark in space and gives a fantastic ride to boot all at a 30-40K discount to the New Spark. The Nanos image as a poors mans car to go along with the safety incidents and the fact that the in your back motor makes your bottoms burning from the heat within no time. Given all these and the price to value quotient I do not see any other car from the Competition that can give the King any scare in the near future. The new Alto does have its negatives in terms of reduced thigh support and wafer thin seats that makes long drives a pain. But considering the fact that I bought the new 800 as a second car primarily for in-metro rides, there is more value in this purchase than I had hoped for…Way to go Maruthi the king!!!

  • Amit

    I am surprised to see no left rear view mirror. This is very dangerous. How can Maruti can ignore such a basic security requirement.

    • babu

      u r blind….watch carefully then pass a comment….

  • dr d karmokar

    We have a maruti 800 bought in 2005 and my brother has an alto 800 bought in 2012.this version looks worse than both.As for engine,to tell u the truth both the cars are chauffeur driven so doesnt really matter what the driver feels.As per price its a thumb down that this car will cost 30,000 extra.I will wait for another year n with the extra buck i will buy alto k10 then.

    • Faisal Khan

      Dr, why stuck on Alto and 800s, get something bigger like maybe a Swift or i20 ;p

  • Biswajit Kar

    What kind of cost cutting????only 1 mirror on the front right hand door mirror… mirror on left had door??afer few month maruti will no provide any stepney.alo waht a cost cutting from MSIL!!!!,similarly nor sun visor on co-driver side!!!!.one has to learn cost cutting from MSIL.

  • imran tamboli

    Hey Everyone,

    I had this car at last month… Average for CNG is 27/kg. Means in 43 rs. ma car traveling at 27….!!!! Bike se bhi sasta hai bhai.. aur 4 log ghum sakte hai… to 4 log 2rs/km se ghum sakte hai to design se kya lena dena hai…

    I luv dis pretty muchs…

  • Arun

    In this car having some problem in the steering wheel horn. if i press the horn in any of the side in the steering the horn pad is coming out. it is irritating while i m driving.

  • sagar

    design is very poor and confuse design ,,,,,,, design engineer of suzuki should work on this car for design ,,,,nano design is better than this ,,

  • Pavan Pal

    Dear All,

    Need your help here. My Alto 800 LXI makes a quite big noise as compared
    to other cars when on IDLE. This is not a engine noise, but it vanishes
    as soon as you press the clutch. It sounds like a Diesel Car.

    Also, you cannot hear this sound when you are inside, but if you are
    standing outside you can hear it clearly. Thats the reason I have always
    ignored it since i bought it last year.

    Could anyone confirm if there is something wrong with my Alto.