Maruti Suzuki recently facelifted its Alto 800 to keep it fresh against its competition. Coupled with the launch of the Datsun redi-GO, the battle in this segment has heated up a fair bit.
The all-new Datsun redi-GO was showcased recently. To be launched on the 1st June 2016 and with an expected price tag undercutting all its competitors, this mass market entry-level hatch has caused quite a stir. Maruti Suzuki too launched a facelifted version of the Alto 800 to give the car a fresh look. With real world road tests coming soon, let’s take a look at how they compare on paper.
Design – The design languages of all these four cars are quite different from each other. The Alto 800 goes for a safe utilitarian look that to may appear bland to some. The facelift was aimed to funk it up a bit with a new front bumper that houses neatly integrated fog lamps. It also gets a larger grille and new sharper looking headlights. The Hyundai on the other hand has gone for a premium look. It gets a garnish of chrome here and there and the neat character lines running by its side give it that upmarket feel. The Kwid sports a muscular look which, when seen in pictures makes it look like an SUV. The redi-GO on the other hand goes for a funky new age look. It is very clear from the styling that Datsun is aiming the car at the young lads in the market.
Engine and Transmission – The Alto 800 comes with a 799 cc 3-cylinder engine, which is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The engine outputs 47 HP of power and 69 Nm of torque. The output is adequate for city driving and occasional highway runs. The Hyundai Eon gets a 814 cc mill that churns out 55 HP of power and 74.5 Nm of torque. The Kwid and the redi-GO share the same engine, a 799 cc unit producing 53 HP of power and 72 Nm of torque. What separates their performance is their weight. The Kwid weighs in at 660 Kgs while the redi-GO is a 100 Kgs heavier at 760 Kgs.
Dimensions – The Kwid is the longest and widest of the lot owing to its SUV-like design. The redi-GO however is the tallest one here. The Alto meanwhile stays true to its city car nature as it is the most compact of the lot. The Eon sits midway and offers a good balance between space and manoeuvrability. As the Kwid and redi-GO are built on the same basic platform, their wheelbases are identical and also the longest. This should give them good stability. The redi-GO has the highest ground clearance which is a boon when you consider our current road conditions. However, when it comes to boot space the Kwid thrashes its competition with a massive 300-litre boot while the Alto suffers here due to its smaller dimensions. The Eon once again provides a healthy compromise of all the elements.
Mileage – Mileage as a consideration is pretty close to the top among a fair share of people looking to buy a car in this segment. Once again the Kwid and the redi-GO lead with an ARAI-approved 25.17 km/l for both. The Alto comes in second with 24.7 km/l and the Eon comes in last with 21.1 km/l.
Price – Competitors in this segment are always trying to undercut each other. The Alto currently stands at the lowest with its base model coming in at Rs. 2.7 lakhs (ex-showroom, Mumbai). The Eon is the costliest of the lot but offers premium materials and gadgets to balance it out. The Kwid hits a sweet spot as its muscular looks, its segment-first features (digital speedometer, touch screen infotainment system) and its aggressive price tag starting at Rs. 2.9 Lakhs (ex-showroom, Mumbai). All eyes are now on Datsun as to how they price their redi-GO. It is speculated that it will be priced around Rs. 2.5- 3.5 Lakhs (ex-showroom, Mumbai).
Verdict – The Alto 800 makes a compelling case for itself due to its compact dimensions and overall practicality. However, its competitors have now caught up and surpassed the ageing contender. The only thing standing for it is the Maruti badge of trust. The Eon offers a very good compromise of all aspects. It is also more premium compared to the others but it is also very dated now. The Kwid refreshed the segment with its butch look and overall feel. It has pushed the boundaries of the segment and is selling like hot cakes. The redi-GO, built on the same platform, looks to challenge the Kwid’s supremacy. The redi-GO comes in a funky package with bright colours, primarily aimed at the youth. On paper, it looks too close to call.