Suzuki Alto 1.0 SZ414 | 08 | 2010Scotcars rating

    Alto hits the right notes with five-door versatility


    Think of India, and images of the Taj Mahal, sacred cows and curry probably spring to mind. What you’re not likely to immediately list is global car production, yet India is rapidly becoming a significant player in the market. One of the major manufacturers is the country’s largest, Maruti Suzuki India, in which the Suzuki Motor Corporation has a 54% stake. It has more than half of India’s domestic market and since the mid-90s has exported more than quarter of a million cars to Europe.

    That’s going to rise in the next few years, not least through the arrival of the new Suzuki Alto, made near Delhi and with a target of 60,000 models destined for Europe, of which more than 7000 will be going on to British roads. It’s a small, basic car but the five doors are a huge advantage and its one-litre engine pumps out a lot from its three cylinders.

    It’s nippy, agile, and most importantly, easy to park

    On the road

    The car is great for around town. It’s nippy, agile, and most importantly, easy to park. The boot is small but useful and the five doors make life with the kids that bit easier. Longer trips on the open road are a bit more of a challenge and the engine has to work hard just to maintain the national speed limit. All you can say about build quality is that it is ok and reflects the bargain basement price. However it is equal to the standard of similar models from the longer-established Japanese and Korean brands. The car was designed by a team based at Suzuki’s headquarters in Japan but they carried out extensive research to come up with a compact car that would look fresh and distinctive on European streets.

    Comfort & Safety

    It has what it needs, and little more on the comfort front for short journeys. There’s certainly no luxury, but given the price you really wouldn’t expect there to be. The instrument panel has all that’s needed, with the curious addition of a dashboard-mounted rev counter which seems a touch out of place. The car may feel light and a little flimsy, but there are all the standard safety features with four airbags across the range and Electronic Stability and curtain airbags on the flagship SZ4.

    Should I buy one?

    Yes, if you want small, simple and economical city runabout which is easy to park without any frills.

    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £8460 / £8460
    Engine / Power: 998cc / 68bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 13.5sec, Max 96mph
    How big/heavy?: H1470mm W1600mm L3500mm / 885kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 64.2mpg / CO2 103g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: 2E / Band B, £35
    Alternatives: Kia Picanto; Ford Ka; Toyota Aygo

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