Maruti Alto 800 Review
The latest contender for the title of the ‘People’s Car’ of India, the all new 2012 Maruti Alto 800 has finally hit the Indian markets. Barely a week out of its factory, and this small car has broken all the sales records.
Within the very first week after its launch the latest hatchback from the stables of Maruti Suzuki India has registered a record-breaking bookings figure of over 21,000, not to mention that the bookings curve had crossed the mark of 6,500 units days before the car had even stepped into the showrooms for sale. These booming statistics are indicators of the kind of trust that this Indo-Japanese car-marque has gained with the Indian masses over its long journey since its inception.
Established in the year 1981, Maruti Suzuki India came into being when the Japanese auto-giant, Suzuki Motor Corporation, entered into a joint venture with the Indian company, called Maruti Udyog Limited. And once the legendary Maruti 800 landed in the market, there was no looking back for this famous JV. After ruling the Indian households for almost 3 decades, this flagship car has now gone into retirement, and given way to the spanking-new model of Alto 800 to take over.
And Alto seems to possess every trait that will help it in earning the position that was once enjoyed by the beloved hatch of India, Maruti 800.
Launched in a fleet of 7 variants, the 2012 Maruti Alto 800 comes in 4 petrol and 3 CNG powered models . which not only adds an element of versatility but also provides a cost-effective and environment-friendly fuel option for the buyers. While the petrol-consuming group of Alto 800 includes Base, LX, LXI and LXI with driver airbag models, the CNG version comes in Base, LX and LXI models.
Although the CNG line-up has been devoid of the airbag feature, but the features that the high-end CNG models do have are very impressive. Starting with the exteriors, the latest revamp of Maruti Alto has received some serious modifications in its outfit, which looks smarter and sportier than ever before. The front fascia, in particular, gets a complete overhaul, and now flaunts a newly restyled, two-part radiator front grille.
The upper and sleeker part of this grille carries the MSI badge right in the middle and is lined with a strip of chrome running across it, while the lower and larger portion has been carved in a hexagonal shape and given a sporty all-black finish an alluring blend of classy chrome with aggressive black. The body-coloured bumper on which this split-grille is mounted, flows towards the sides to meet the slim yet prominent fenders that efficiently complement the lean frame of the new Alto 800.
Other striking details about the side profile of this hatchback are its body-coloured door-handles, its sturdy-looking wheels and the pair of smooth deep lines spanning across the surface of the car. As for the rear end, a large wind screen covers a major part there, with the body-toned bumper and the smartly-designed taillamp cluster adding a stylish touch to the view. To add a spark to the smart exteriors of the new Alto 800, the designers of MSI have chosen a wonderful 6-colour paint palette that comprises of three metallic shades of Frost Blue, Torque Blue and Silky Silver, along with the non-metallic colours of Blazing Red, Granite Grey and Superior White.
Keeping the chassis and the overall dimensions same as before, the makers of the 2012 Alto 800 have miraculously managed to boost the space and comfort levels in the seating chamber of the car. Capacious enough to comfortably seat a group of five people, the insides of this latest entrant house slim yet cosy seats which provide enhanced leg-room for the occupants in addition to ample comfort.
On the convenience front, the new Alto 800 comes integrated with a number of features that work together to make the ride more fun and pleasant for the passengers. Particularly in the cockpit area, the first thing that is going to grab attention is the newly-designed modernistic dashboard with a stylish V-shaped panel mounted in the centre. This panel holds large AC vents and also provides the frame for installing a music system as per the buyer’s choice.
Other features that stand-out more than the rest in the driver’s zone are the highly responsive power steering, the front power windows with switches placed near the central console, the driver side storage space and the digital clock. Apart from these, the car also houses a very efficient air-conditioning unit that comes paired with dial-type climate control system, along with a number of storage areas like a large glove box and bottle holders which come in very handy during long journeys. To boost the look and feel of the interiors, Maruti Cars have improved upon the plastic quality and employed a new colour theme which spans over the whole furnishing and even reaches out to the door pads, imparting a fresh feel to the ride.
In terms of safety, the new Maruti Alto 800 has been packed with a number of modern-day mechanisms that ensure that the passengers travel in completely safe and sound conditions with minimum risk of harm even in case of an accident. For that, fitments like driver airbag in the high-end version, radial tubeless tyres, collapsible steering column, engine immobilizer, high-mounted stop lamp, headlight levelling system and a set of front and rear intermittent wipers with washing function have been added to this new Maruti hatch.
Moving on to the mechanical part now. MSI engineers have employed a peppy F8D, 3-cylinder, 12-valve, 796cc engine, which comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission gearbox . This competent power-mill is paired up with a 32-bit microprocessor and returns a power and torque output that is perfectly tuned according the driving conditions on the Indian roads. Where mileage is concerned, the 2012 Alto 800 scores higher than pretty much the entire segment.
According to Rule 115 of CMVR (Central Motor Vehicle Rules), the petrol engine of Alto delivers a fabulous fuel-economy of 22.74kmpl . while its CNG counterpart works with a remarkable fuel-efficiency of 30.46kmpl. As skilled as is the engine of this Maruti hatchback, so is its braking and suspension system. Powerful Disc brakes work for the front wheels of the car, while the rear wheels are fitted with equally skilled Drum brakes, thereby enforcing a stronger and more stable braking.
The suspension, meanwhile, is handled by gas-filled shock absorbers that excel at diminishing the jerks produced by even the worst kind of roads.
In summary, Maruti Suzuki India have given the Indian buyers an excellent replacement for the time-honoured Maruti 800 that, besides possessing a smart and elegant attire, performs extremely well on the grounds of mileage, power and safety as well. Plus, the competitive price tag that this comes with makes it an even more profitable and practical deal for the Indian common man, and brings it face-to-face with the likes of Hyundai Eon and Chevrolet Beat.
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