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Few things affect the Indian car market like the arrival of a new Maruti Suzuki Alto. With over 43 lakh units of the hatchback roaming the streets of the country, the Alto has become the everyday normal guy or girl's commuting model of choice.
Back in 2014, Maruti Suzuki surprised the Indian car market by plopping its K10 series 1.0-litre engine under the bonnet of the humble Alto. With its bigger engine and more aggressive styling, the Alto K10 proved to be a popular entry-level offering from Maruti Suzuki before it was discontinued due to BS6 emission norms in April 2020.
Now though, the Alto K10 is back in a more rounded cheerful shape that promises to get India on the road again. So does the new Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 retain the charm of its predecessor, or is that curvy cheerful new grille, the site of an own goal from India's largest carmaker. We drove the new Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 in Kochi to find out...
2022 Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Design & Features - Cute & Not Much More
The new 2022 Alto K10 features a very simple design that features a few eye catching points that should hopefully draw customers into the showrooms to get their first car with its Celerio-like design.
At the front, the new Alto K10 sports a large, gaping grille with the Suzuki badge sitting above it. Also seen are a new set of wraparound halogen headlights that sit on the edges of the bonnet. The Alto K10 sculpted front bumper also features a sleek central intake that sits under the new grille.
The sides of the new 2022 Alto K10 feature a few more character lines including a very prominent shoulder line. The Alto K10 features indicators mounted to the side fenders and a set o tiny 13-inch steel wheels shod with skinny tyres.
At the rear, the Alto K10 sports a small integrated spoiler, a set of squared off taillights and a high mounted third brake light. The rear bumper like the one at the front looks quite sculpted as well.
Step inside the new Alto K10 and you're greeted by a mostly black interior. There are a few exceptions to this rule in the form of silver highlights on the steering wheel and around the new infotainment screen.
Speaking about the new infotainment unit, the Alto K10's sports a touchscreen display measuring 7 inches across with support for both Android Auto and Apple Car Play. The infotainment setup is connected toa 4-speaker audio system.
The new Alto K10 also features a digital instrument cluster on the top-spec VXi+ model ahead of which sits a new steering wheel with the aforementioned design accents and controls for the phone and volume mounted onto it.
The seats provide the other contrast from the dark black of the interior theme with grey central inserts adding a bit of excitement. The seats offer decent levels of comfort with the driver's seat offering height adjustment.
Seating three adults at the rear though still feels like a bit of squeeze. However, the rear seats offer decent amounts of knee room and headroom for the regular Indian buyer. However, one annoyance for those at the rear are the roll down windows, which just seems like trivial cost cutting.
In terms of safety equipment, the Alto K10 offers the basic standards for this section of the car market in the form of dual airbags, front seat belt pretensioners and ABS with EBD.
Maruti is also offering two customizations packages for the new Alto K10 - Glinto and Impacto with the former adding all the blingy chrome that most Indian buyers adore. The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 is offered in 6 colour options - Solid White, Silky Silver, Granite Grey, Sizzling Red, Speedy Blue and Earth Gold.
2022 Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Engine & Gearbox Options
The 2022 Alto K10 sports Maruti Suzuki's latest K10C DualJet, Dual VVT three-cylinder engine. The new 998cc powerplant offers up 66bhp at 5,500rpm and 89Nm of peak torque at 3,500rpm.
Power is sent to the front wheels with the help of either 5-speed manual or 5-speed AMT transmissions. The power figure does not excite and it shouldn't as the tiny three-pot is tuned to deliver mileage (hence the annoyingly skinny tyres and tiny wheels) with the manual variant delivering 24.39km/l and the AMT offering up 24.90km/l (ARAI testing).
The new Suzuki Alto K10 is 3,530mm long, 1,490mm wide and 1,520mm tall. The wheelbase of the Alto K10 is 2,380mm long and the car weighs in at 1,150 kilogrammes. The new 2022 Alto K10 is 85mm longer, 45mm taller and spots a 20mm longer wheelbase compared to the previous car that bore that nametag which is mostly thanks to the Heartect platform that underpins the new car. The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10's tiny 13-inch steel wheels are shod with 145/80 R13 tyres.
Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Driving Impressions - Peppy City Slicker
The Alto K10's new DualJet Dual VVT engine offers enough power to help the new hatchback navigate the city streets with ease. The peppy engine is responsive when you mash down your right foot and allows the new K10 to cruise at triple digit speeds on the highway. However, under full load, the Alto K10 does take some time to get to those speeds and the engine can get a bit noisy at higher rpms.
Of the two gearboxes we found the manual the easier to recommend for those looking to actually drive the Alto thanks to its light clutch, though the shifts sometimes felt a bit notchy. For those looking to get from point A to B , ie: the daily city commute, without much hassle, the AMT is the gearbox to go for. However, the AMT does feel a bit jerky when shifting through the gears at lower speeds. However, if you do press the loud pedal, the AMT is willing to shift down a gear to give drivers a burst of acceleration to complete an overtake.
The brakes on the new Alto are more than adequate for a car this light. The brake pedal does not offer much travel and is easy to operate. The steering wheel on the other hand is a different kettle of fish. It doesn't self-centre easily and drivers will need to keep a gimlet eye on it to ensure the K10 does not stray away from the straight path. We also found it to be a tad on the heavy side, which isn't that great for a car targeted at first time buyers.
The suspension though is the best part about the new 2022 Alto K10. On smooth roads, the Alto K10 glides along with ease and even on rough roads, the new hatch maintains its composure at low to medium speed levels.
Only at high speeds on rough patches does the new Alto K10's suspension setup allow the thuds and groans to annoy those sitting inside the cabin. Also the lightweight nature of the new K10 ensures that body roll remains almost non-existent which allows drivers to go though corners and turns confidently.
For an entry-level car, the new Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 offers good NVH levels with engine noise creeping in only at the higher end of the rev counter. In terms of safety, we feel that the addition of a rear-view camera would have been choice for first-time car buyers looking to park in rather tight spots.
Thoughts About The 2022 Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - The Smiley Faced Everyday Normal Car
The new 2022 Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 sees India's largest carmaker once again recycle the entry-level Alto hatchback to make it more appealing for the first-time car buyer. With its smiley-faced looks, new infotainment display and fuel-sipping engine, the new 2022 Alto K10 looks like a surefire winner for Maruti Suzuki.