The new Maruti Suzuki Alto K10
“Not everything that is in the government leads to failure.” This was the motto for lndia’s first public sector automotive company. And after the government exited in 2003, Maruti-Suzuki continued to win over millions and firmly established itself as the most successful car manufacturer in lndia. After the Maruti 800, their most triumphant flag bearer is the Alto lndia’s highest selling car for almost six years now. Selling an average of 20,000 units a month, the Alto is now recognized as a brand in itself. And now Maruti have just transformed the Alto by putting in their acclaimed BS4 compliant K10B engine. The 998cc K10B engine isn’t stranger to the market. lt drives the A-Star, the Zen Estilo and the new WagonR to their respective destinations. The F8D engine on the old Alto makes a very modest 46bhp.
The K10 generates 20 horses more making up for the old Alto’s lack of them. The massive increase in power doesn’t come at the price of fuel efficiency as Maruti-Suzuki claim it delivers a fuel efficiency of 20.2kpl. The 3-cylinder K10B rocks and rolls a bit at ignition and idle. But on being renewed it smoothes out and even lets out a pleasant rumble. The added power is also evident the moment you step on the gas. Like on the new WagonR, the cable type transmission makes shifting gears very comfortable. ‘ To accommodate the larger KI0B, the engine bay length has been stretched by about I 25mm. This increases the overall length of the car, but the wheelbase remains the same. The all-aluminium K10B engine weighs just about 7kg more than the existing F8D. So the overall kerb weight even with the increase in length is just 50kg more. Twenty more horses and an increase in weight of only 5Okg, mean the power-to-weight ratio has altered drastically in favour of power. And this has transformed the new Alto K10 into a little punchy rocket. The underpinnings have also been tweaked to accommodate the increase Alto continues to be nimble and the power assisted steering is also light. Push it hard and there is some understeer, but the overall handling is quite good and throwing this peppy baby around is real fun. Wider tyres would of course aid the handling further.
The styling of the Alto K10 has been worked upon and the increase in length also adds to its street presence. The new headlamps have the currently fashion- able eagle-eyed look, and the new wide grille complements the headlights nicely. The bumper also has wide vents to add aggression and the p-shaped taillamp give the Alto K10 a distinctive rear end.
Changes in the interior include a new three spoke steering wheel, amber illumination for the instruments and a new speedometer, tachometer and digital tripmeter. Some new storage spaces have been created and the upholstery material is also new.