2016 Maruti Alto 800 Review
2016 Maruti Alto 800 – Click above for high resolution image gallery

2016 Maruti Alto 800 Review

Car Tested: 2016 Maruti Alto 800; Road Test No. 740

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 3.05 – Rs. 4.45 lakhs

There are few changes on the Alto 800 but the package has got better & offers more value now

This car that you see in the pictures needs no introduction. It is the highest selling car in India and obviously the most preferred choice in the entry level hatchback segment. Maruti has given the Alto 800 a minor facelift this time around and even though it doesn’t come with too many changes, it definitely increases the appeal of the car.

Motor Quest: The Maruti Alto was launched more than 15 years back, at a time when even the Maruti 800 was on sale. The Alto has always received good demand from the masses and it is a worthy successor to the old 800. The Alto is now offered with two engines under the guise of Alto 800 and Alto K10.

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A layman won’t be able to tell the facelift from the older model

Exteriors – On the outside, you get a tweaked grille, amber turn indicators, revised fog lamp housing and a redesigned bumper. The Suzuki logo has also moved its position from the grille to the upper part of the bumper. Also on offer is a new colour which is called Mojito Green. However, there are no visible changes to the side profile and the rear. The Alto 800 continues to carry the same design which makes the car look compact. The top variant also comes with wheel caps.

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Mild changes on the inside too, decent equipment list for the price

Interiors – Things are quite different on the inside. You now get a dark grey tone for the dashboard and new upholstery on the door pads and seats. The front seats are decent in comfort while frontal visibility is also excellent. The Alto gets a basic audio system, front power windows, power steering and AC. The AC has good performance and it fared nicely in our hot weather. With the facelift, the Alto 800 now gets a standard left hand side mirror, child locks at the rear and an optional driver-side airbag.

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The rear seats are best suited for 2 adults for long drives

The interior gets very few changes but feels fairly spacious for a car this size

At the rear, you have good head room while leg room is also pretty decent thanks to the thin front seats. Shoulder space is decent but fitting 3 passengers at the rear could be a problem. However, the seats are lacking in terms of under-thigh support. You also feel a bit claustrophobic due to the small window area. The rear seats now come with integrated head rests. The rear doors finally get child locks now. There is a bottle header in front of the gear lever which can hold a 1-litre bottle. There is also a small storage area above the glovebox. The boot is pretty compact at 177-litres.

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796cc engine is super reliable and also economical to drive

Performance – The Maruti Alto 800 facelift continues to be powered by the same 796cc, F8D petrol engine which produces 48 HP of power at 6000 RPM and 69 Nm of torque at 3500 RPM. There is a good amount of torque right from the low end and the Alto potters around without much effort. The mid-range is peppy too. There is no tachometer on offer but you can easily make out that there is good whack near the redline. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. 100 km/hr comes up in 14.37 seconds from standstill. Gear shifts are short but feel notchy at times. The clutch has a short travel and feels light too. Maruti claims that they have tweaked the engine to produce marginally better fuel efficiency. While the official ARAI figure is 24.7 km/l, we managed to extract around 18-19 km/l on the highway with relaxed driving mannerisms while in the city we got 15-16 km/l. This number obviously goes down if you drive spiritedly.

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The Alto 800 is fun to drive and is extremely chuckable

Driving Dynamics – The Alto 800 has a feedback rich steering though it feels a bit heavy at crawling speeds. However, the steering is very direct and despite being such a small car, the Alto is quite fun to drive. Thanks to its small footprint, you can easily drive it around and tackling too much traffic doesn’t get easier than this. The ride is very flat at low speeds and it tends to get uncomfortable when you hit broken or uneven surfaces at even moderately high speeds. The car remains decently stable at high speeds but it’d be best if it is driven below 90 km/hr. The body feels very light and the super thin tyres have questionable grip levels.

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Driver side airbag is offered but very few customers opt for it

Safety and After Sales Service – Nothing needs to be said about Maruti’s after sales service. The automaker has the largest network in India and you can literally find a service centre in almost any corner of the country. The Alto on the other hand is also pretty reliable. On the safety front, the car comes with an optional driver side airbag. Maruti has finally started providing a standard left hand side ORVM on the car. Wonder what it took them so many years to do that?

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The Maruti Alto 800 offers good value for the price it asks

Verdict – The Maruti Alto 800 facelift comes with few changes but the overall package feels complete now. It is a good buy in its segment and it comes backed by Maruti’s excellent after-sales service too. The Alto 800 is priced attractively and now we know why it sells more than 20,000 units a month. Maruti has also started working on the next generation Alto, but till then, this model should suffice.

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The facelifted Alto 800 comes with a bright new colour. redi-GO effect?

What’s Cool

* Very economical to buy and run
* Driver-side airbag and LHS ORVM are great additions
* Engine has peppy performance

What’s Not So Cool

* Cramped rear, hardly any under-thigh support from the seats

Alternatives: Hyundai Eon, Datsun redi-GO, Renault Kwid

Testers’ Note:

“The Maruti Alto is India’s top selling car and has finally got rivals (Renault Kwid and Datsun redi-GO) which can threaten its sales. The facelift to the Alto 800 gives it the much needed freshness but mechanically nothing has changed because this small car is quite strong in performance and dynamics. The Maruti Alto 800 continues to be a fun small car to drive which is very frugal and is backed by an excellent service network.” – Faisal Khan, Chief Editor, MotorBeam.
“The Maruti Alto 800 is a basic car but does the job of taking people from point A to point B well. It is very cheap to buy and run and Maruti has nice service too. However, rivals have upped their game now and all we can do is wait for the next generation Alto to come out now, which will definitely take the game a step ahead.” – Parth Gohil, Senior Road Tester, MotorBeam.

Further Reading

2016 Maruti Alto 800 Video Review
Maruti Alto 800 vs Renault Kwid vs Hyundai Eon
Maruti Alto 800 vs Renault Kwid vs Hyundai Eon – Video