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New Maruti Alto K10 - Peppier and more fun to drive

Maruti Alto K10
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Maruti Alto K10

The new Alto K10 comes with many modern features

After three years Maruti Suzuki re-launched its famous entry-level car Alto K10. In 2019, when the BS6 emission norms kicked in, Maruti Suzuki discontinued the K10 and offered only the Alto 800. Now, this new K10 is built on the safer Heartect platform to meet the current safety norms. With the new Alto K10, Maruti is looking at attracting two-wheeler owners aspiring to get into an affordable entry-level small car. The Alto brand was inaugurated in 2000 and to date, the company has sold more than 43 lakh Altos and has a market share of around 90 per cent in the segment.

New Maruti Alto K10 - Peppier and more fun to drive

To attract new-age customers, Maruti engineers have worked on redesigning the car and added more features to it. The latest Alto has grown in terms of size and feature list. From the previous version, the new Alto's wheelbase is now 20mm longer, the ground clearance has increased by 7mm, taller by 45mm and the overall length is increased by 80mm. The new Alto K10 is 3,530mm in length giving it a more spacious cabin.

In terms of overall look, there are some very significant design updates in the new Alto, primarily on its face. The grille is now bigger than before and has a honeycomb design. The headlight units are now sleeker but there are no fog lights or DRLs even on top-spec models. The new K10’s side profile looks proportionate with the sloping roofline. The 13-inch wheels look small and Maruti could have gone with 14-inch rims. The rear looks very similar to the Celerio but the taillamps have got a makeover. The overall car design is curvy with simple surfaces compared to the old version which had sharp edges.

Interior is okay. Top-end model gets a 7-inch touch screen and steering wheel control
Interior is okay. Top-end model gets a 7-inch touch screen and steering wheel control

The interiors of the new K10 have seen a dramatic transformation as well. The dashboard is new and the design helps to increase the legroom. The new Alto K10 comes with many modern features. The first thing that will take your attention is the 7-inch smart touchscreen infotainment. It comes equipped with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, in addition to a few SmartPlay Studio apps. The display is fairly bright and easy to use while its touch capacity is quite responsive.

The speedometer is carried from the S-Presso, which is digital encompassing a small MID cluster. The steering wheel in the new K10 looks better due to the contrasting faux brushed aluminium arms along with the few steering-mounted controls for audio, MID info, voice commands and phone controls. The test mule that was given to us was the top trim VXi+ that is equipped with front power windows, but the switches are placed on the centre console below the touchscreen like the S-Presso.

Digital instrument cluster. No tachometer.
Digital instrument cluster. No tachometer.

In terms of storage spaces, the centre console has a pair of cup holders and two small cubby holes, and the front door pockets are generous for one-litre bottles but rear passengers don’t get that. The seat fabric and trim are nice and the quality of materials and fit and finish are honestly above expectations. The rear space in the new K10 did surprise us with the amount of legroom and headroom on offer. Due to the increase in dimension, all the seats are comfortable, and the under-thigh support and knee room are good for a small car. This has also helped to increase the boot capacity to 214 litres, which is the largest in this segment.

New Maruti Alto K10 - Peppier and more fun to drive

The visibility is good for the driver and due to the thin A-pillar, the blindspot is also reduced. If there's one thing the Alto excelled at, it was ease of driving. That continues on the new Maruti Alto K10 as well. Powering the new K10 is the proven 998cc K10C petrol engine with dual-jet technology, which we have already seen in the S-Presso, WagonR and the Celerio. This new generation of the one-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine is more refined and gets dual-jet injection and dual VVT (variable valve timing) making it inherently more capable than the previous generation. For the first time, the Alto is available with both a 5-speed manual transmission and a 5-speed AGS (automated gear shift).

New Maruti Alto K10 - Peppier and more fun to drive

In terms of driving, I love the way the new Maruti Alto K10 handles though. Here the lack of weight comes in handy. It loves to be chucked into corners and one can do it with confidence, aggression and total abandon. It is a proper entertainer on tight twisties. You can also get it to correct its line mid-corner, which for a car meant to deliver ‘kmpl’ over everything else, is a huge plus. The new Alto K10 is peppy with the little engine being energetic and rev-happy. But like many small engines, it too is a bit vocal, especially when revved hard.

New Maruti Alto K10 - Peppier and more fun to drive

You won’t have reason to complain about the 5-speed manual gearbox either. It’s light and the clutch is easy to modulate. Also, the automatic gearbox is easily among the best of the type. Gearshifts are largely smooth and it is mapped to deliver higher fuel efficiency. A tight turning radius and light steering make the Alto K10 really easy to punt around town. Low-speed bump absorption is also very good. There is firmness to the suspension that becomes more pronounced at higher speeds. High-speed stability is fair but up-down movements are a part of the experience. I found the braking to be really impressive and it's remarkable how stable the Alto K10 is even when you brake really hard or come to an emergency halt.

New Maruti Alto K10 - Peppier and more fun to drive
Rear seat comfort for 3 passengers is difficult
Rear seat comfort for 3 passengers is difficult

The name Alto recons due to its pleasant looks, simple mechanicals, bulletproof reliability and the ability to deliver consistently high fuel economy. Now in the new K10 avatar, Maruti has further refined this package. It is smarter looking, has more features on the inside and has better ergonomics.

Maruti Suzuki has also put a lot of emphasis on safety. As mentioned before the new Alto K10 is built on the Heartect platform, which meets all the latest Indian crash safety regulations and comes equipped with standard dual front airbags, an anti-locking braking system (ABS) with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), rear parking sensors, front seat belt pre-tensioner with force limiter, reverse parking sensor and high-speed alert.

Alto K10
Alto K10

According to Maruti, the manual returns 24.39 kmpl and the automatic delivers 24.90 kmpl. The new Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 starts at INR 3.99 lakh for the standard and goes up to INR 5.83 lakh for the VXi+ AGS gearbox version. The new K10 is easy to drive and spacious, and that tag of India’s most fuel-efficient car is sure to be a pull in its own right. Like the old model, Alto K10 will remain a level-headed choice for a city car.