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2009 Suzuki Alto First Drive - (Global)

October 23rd, 2008
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Suzuki’s new Alto light car has been driven by European journalists in India, its place of manufacture, before it is due to go on sale in markets such as Europe, the UK and Australia in March 2009.

The Alto driven by UK car magazine Car, was powered with an inline 3 cylinder engine producing 50kW (67bhp).  With a weight of 855kg the 0–100km/h sprint takes a rather leisurely 14 seconds, however Car magazine noted that it provided enough oomph in an urban environment even with 3 full grown men inside.

What will be noticeable to drivers of existing light cars such as the Toyota Yaris, Mazda 2 or even Suzuki’s Swift is that the smaller again Alto is a very narrow car.  Car states that it’s 1470mm wide, that’s over 20cm slimmer than the Swift light car.  I guess this can be a positive fact for an urban car, as at least it’ll be a breeze to zip down inner city lanes or fit into narrow parking spots.

Car noted the good build quality of their test car, however understandably as it is such a low priced car (don’t be surprised if you can buy one in Australia next year for AUD $12,000) some of the plastics used in the interior are rather cheap, hard and shiny and the doors also felt flimsy.

The Alto’s boot is tiny at only 129 litres, for comparison a Swift’s is 213 litres, and rear head and legroom is cramped for adults however it is only 3565mm long.

After driving the Alto, Car note that the target market of young new drivers and the elderly will deem the handling to be fine and will most probably like the baby Alto, however it isn’t a patch on the excellent Swift.

In conclusion, Car awarded the Alto 3 out of 5 stars, saying that whilst it may not be the best handling light car, its going to be very affordable to buy and downright cheap to run.  The Alto is also the first of many cars to be sold in the Western world that is built in India.

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