When the going gets tough, the tough gets thinking. Well, the going is definitely a rat-race in the Rs. 3.5 – 4.5 Lakhs car segment with Beats, Figos, i10s, Sparks, A-stars among others vying for the road space. Bring more range of cars and grab a big slice of the pie is what Maruti’s mantra appears to be. Already, Alto is the largest selling car in India and Maruti has spruced up its flagship model to bring out a new variant to carve a new segment in the entry level hatchback. They have given a new wardrobe and a heart to the 10 year old Alto and christened it Alto K10. Let’s get into the body and soul of the new baby in the road.
No one can question the brand value of Alto, it has numbers on its side. So Maruti decides to smartly ride on the brand success instead of bringing out a new car with a new name. The design team has added some 125 mm to the front of the car to nest the 1000 cc K-series engine. The front sports an eagle eye shaped head lamp with an amber colored turn indicators. The body colored bumper with a large air dam that also holds a fog lamp in the top end model. K10 also is treated with an all new grill that adds to the cosmetic change in the front.
The rear now sports a new tail lamp that blends well with the body. Overall, the cosmetic changes is bit refreshing and gives k10 a bigger stylized image than the previous version.
Get into the K10, the seemingly bigger Alto could not hide the small car that actually is. What came into notice immediately is the plastic quality of the dashboard which could have been better, considering the rival carmakers are raising the standard in their offerings. Same is with the instrument cluster which is not very inspiring in design terms. The head room is the same as the previous alto and the rear leg room is still tight inspite of few extra mm released.
The main selling point of the K10 of course is the 998 cc K-series engine which gives a max power of 68 PS @ 6200 rpm. Up the ignition, the three cylinder engine comes alive a bit more refined and lively than the 800cc older sibling. Step up the pedal and K-series engine shows why Maruti thinks it is a smart move to bring this Alto variant. The car is peppy and quicker and hits the century mark in 13.3 seconds, much quicker than the Alto you have driven so far. The drive in bad roads is quiet bouncy , as we hit further into open roads, the car feels well balanced with a decent ride quality in high speeds. One commendable thing is the Air-conditioning, which I would rate is one of the best in the class. The heavy accelerators and the break pedals are the sore points along with slight engine vibrations. Overall the driveability and the decent handling makes it a good city car.
The car comes in two variants: LXi and VXi. Both the versions comes with power steering and body colored bumpers while the VXi boasts of power windows, fog lamps, tachometer and manual central locking.
K10 comes in 6 colors: Superior white, Midnight black, Fire brick red, Sunlight copper, Ecru beige, Silky silver.
ARAI has certified a 20.2kmpl fuel economy which is quiet impressive.
The ex-show room price of the LXi and VXi models in Bangalore are Rs. 3, 11207 and Rs. 3,24323 respectively.
GingerChai verdict: The cosmetic changes have added minor refreshing changes and few mms to the K10 but inside it is still the same old small car, which is cramped slightly. Considering that with few thousands more we have a better competition from various car makers, the established brand image of Alto, Maruti’s goodwill and service factors should be the only reason to steer the K10 into Indian roads.