They say the one who prevails amongst all its compatriots with head held high, succeeds in making a legacy and compelling its compatriots to follow its trajectory. Such is the case of Maruti Suzuki. Ever since it routed its destiny to India, it has left no stones unturned in setting a benchmark for itself amongst its rivals. Now, the whole automobile industry respectfully takes its hats off in honour of the legacy that the Japanese enterprise has dug deep inside Indian soil. It all goes back to good old Maruti Omni and Maruti 800 days when these two cars were launched on Indian roads with moderate expectations. But within the span of a year, the expectations uplifted to colossal limits as Maruti 800 had already set its name in every second household. When its counterparts were busy scratching their heads over the prospects of venturing into Indian subcontinent, Maruti had already time-honoured itself here.
Presently, Maruti sits comfortably on the throne with its cars being one of the most economical and revered cars on the circuit. When it comes to fuel efficiency ensured hand-in-hand with commendable performance, Maruti is the first name that comes to most minds. Lately, Maruti finally made up its mind to escort 800 out of the arena respectfully and thus productions and sales halted for the torchbearer. But the realization settled in and highly placed officials realized that the legacy had to be taken ahead. Thus, the company restructured the car and decided to bring out a new version of Alto which could be on the same platform as Maruti 800 in terms of affordability. The price of the new version will fall somewhere around Rs. 2 Lakh and the test drives on the car have already commenced. It is being said that Maruti wants to give a grand opening to the car which would be as imposing and ostentatious as that of the predecessor version. But no car overtakes the prying eyes of a critic and thus just like always, we put our newest Maruti venture behind the scanner as well.
Exterior Features: -
Since this makeover comes from one of the most revered automobile groups in the world, thus naturally we can predetermine that the new the whole exoskeleton will have a new outlook as Maruti always makes sure that what it is offering to its followers is something that catches their eye and attains their appreciation regarding its performance. The new exteriors given to Maruti Alto 800 are endearing and affable as both the front of the car as well as the rear has been given a new finishing. Before putting together a new design, Maruti had this premonition that it had to design something that will attract customers in the same way and scale that it attracted Maruti 800 when it was launched in the market. Thus, from cosmetic point of view, there have been impressive and appealing changes to the outlook of the car. It’s not that the previous design has totally been taken away from the new one as there are a few appealing features which were there in the antecedent model. Amongst those features which have been left untouched, we have the wheel base which has been maintained as it was in the previous model though it remains a fact that the new Maruti Alto 800 is said to be 100mm shorter than what the previous version was. When it comes to other dimensions such as the space and comfort level, then it has been maintained as it was. The whole composition of the car is quite uniform as per what an economical hatchback should have. To the delight of passengers, there would be more head room in the new version in order to comfortably accommodate those who have tall shoulders. The chassis as well the overall foundation of the car remain unscathed as Maruti wanted to preserve the outlook of the precedent.
Coming to the front part of the car, we will notice that the new radiator grille looks much more attractive than the previous one and this whole façade has much bigger headlights. The grille has a thick chrome strip passing by which makes it look stylish. On the grill the logo of the company has been neatly embossed. Just beneath the grille, we will come across a large air dam which in turn compliments the look of the whole front façade of the car. The new headlights are much brighter than the previous version and are petal shaped. The placement of headlights has been done a bit higher than Alto and the inner portion of the headlights are being covered with black film which in turn produces a much more intense beam of light. A new front bumper has been added to the car which contains two fog lamps comfortably placed with the headlights which give the driver a better view of the road in case if the visibility is low. The glass fitted as the windscreen is made up of toughened glass having intermittent and sporadic wipers attached to them. Adding to all this, there is a front chin spoiler as well this time which adds to the sporty factor of the car.
Making way to the side profile of the car, we will notice that the door handles bear the same colour as that of the body of the car and the side mirrors also have the same colour. Coming to the tires, a normal economic hatchback usually has a normal tire but Maruti wanted to offer something much more appealing and thus here we are looking at the alloy wheels of Maruti Alto 800. Alloy wheels would be there in the higher models of the cars which will be priced a little more than the entry level model. But that does not downgrade the tires of the entry level model as it will be having steel rims covered with radial tires which are stout and corpulent.
Finally making our way to the rear part of the car, the first thing that we will notice is that the rear windows are much more compact but the tail lamp cluster appears to be quite incandescent which in turn makes the car look impressive from behind. Most of the rear part bears some semblance with Maruti A-Star as the tail lamps attached to the car are integrated in a compact manner. The whole roof line has been made keeping in mind the aerodynamics of the car.
Thus, the exteriors of Maruti Alto 800 surely deserve thumbs up from critics. The whole exterior design of new Maruti Alto 800 might have been changed but the size remains almost the same. Both the front as well as the rear of the car is laudable. But will the interiors garner the same response? Let’s open the doors and have a closer look at what the interiors have in store for us.
Interior Features: -
The designers as well as the engineers have done us all a service by refining the interiors of Maruti Alto 800 beautifully and elegantly. The first look of the car from inside will strike a chord with anyone who gets in and experiences it. The whole design has been done very tastefully after lots of ups and downs. Thumbs were shown both upwards as well as downwards and finally a new composition was voted for which would surely attract more and more car enthusiasts. The best part of the interiors is the new V-Shaped dashboard which has been fitted to the central console with expertise. The door pads and everything inside have been given an altogether new shade by the designers. All this makes the interiors look more alluring. The inside is much smoother than the outgoing version of the car and there has been an upgrade in the type of plastics that have been used to decorate the interiors. There are a few chrome elements which have been dropped into the cabin as well and this in turn adds to the elegance of the car from inside. Maruti Alto 800 has a very comfortable seating arrangement and can accommodate five persons easily. The seats are also slimmer than the previous version due to which the internal leg space is more. Thus as a result, all these features make the car perfect for a long drive.
Comfort is something that Maruti designers kept as top priority while putting together the features meant for interior of the car. Head rests are there on the front seats and there is a separate compartment between the seats for storage purposes. In addition to this, a large glove box has also been provided so that relatively bigger things can be kept. The roof lining from the inner side have been moulded well in order to make the interior ambience perfect. The steering wheel has three spokes attached to it at the centre of which there is a stylish pad. The buttons meant for AC and other switches have been installed in a user-friendly manner.
Coming to the instrument cluster of the car, there is nothing new to its design but it serves all the purposes and helps the driver monitor information about the car. The central console of the car has AC vents which are larger than the previous Alto and has ample space for an integrated music system. There are lots of storage spaces which have been made available all across the car and a separate parcel case is also there for the things which we need close to us. The top part of the interiors have dual colour contrasts whereas the entry level will be having the same for a standard grey colour. As per the new design of the interiors, the buttons for the power windows have now been placed between the front seats instead of the door pads. This is something that has got a mixed response as many of us are used to the previous set-up as per which the buttons for power windows used to be on the door panels respectively. Thus, we have to get used to this new set-up. However, those of us who are having Tata Indica would not face much hindrance in getting used to this new feature as Indica already has all power window buttons between its front seats.
Thus, not only the exterior design passes our test but same goes with the interiors as well. All the features of the interiors are utterly commendable and the new seating arrangement deserves thumbs up.
Engine and Specifications: -
Since we are throwing light on the production of the cars of one of the reigning automobile makers in the world, thus we can make a presumption that what lies beneath the hood of the car is surely praiseworthy. Maruti Suzuki has made a legacy because of its fuel-efficiency and ergonomics that it uses in its cars. Since the new Maruti Alto 800 has been made on the platform of the previous Alto, thus the performance assured would be the same for both to a great extent. But since they are coming out with a new upgrade of the model thus we can assume that there would be some discrepancy in the performance for the better. Thus, minor alterations have been made to the car in order to give a better performance than its prevailing sibling.
Coming to the engine specifications, Maruti Alto 800 has a 0.8 Litre 796 cc engine which is capable of churning out a peak power of 45.7 bhp at a maximum rate of 6000 rpm. The net torque that it can give is 69 Nm at a peak rate of 3500 rpm.
Not only the petrol version but the CNG version of Maruti Alto 800 will also be having the same engine beneath its hood and even then it does not hinder the car from giving optimum performance. However, the power given by the CNG version stands a little less than the petrol version at 40 bhp at a peak rate of 6200 rpm along with a peak torque of 56 Nm at a maximum rate of 3000 rpm.
Indian customers have always demanded something that is economical and at the same time delivers optimum performance on any form of road. Thus Maruti took this into consideration and put a sophisticated braking system inside Alto 800 which in turn makes the car perfect for Indian roads. There are different brakes that have been attached to the front part of the car and at the rear respectively. The front tires will be connected with strong disc brakes whereas the rear tires would be in sync with drum brakes. This has become one of the most standardized set-ups for most of the new-age cars. Thus, Maruti decided to go with the trend. A repercussion is that the new Maruti Alto 800 would not be boasting of any complex features such as anti-lock braking system or any distribution system for electronic brakes. But that does not matter much as the present system of brakes does a fair job and serves the purpose.
Handling of the car had always been one of the top priorities of Maruti which is the reason why most of the focus was put on the way the car treads. The whole system of the car has been assembled in such a manner that the driver finds it easy to keep the car under his control. An interesting feature worth mentioning here is the new suspension that Maruti has drilled into Alto 800. Gas-filled McPherson Strut has been inserted as an active component of the suspension and along with that, we have Torsion Roll control device as well that is meant for the front axle of the car. On the contrary, the rear axle has Coil springs which help them in functioning smoothly. Additional suspension features include isolated trailing arm and a three-link stiff axle tied to gas-filled shock absorbers. Thus, all these features in the heart of Maruti Alto 800 make it once of the most user-friendly cars in terms of performance and handling.
Safety Features: -
Since we have already praised Maruti Alto 800 owing to its exteriors, interiors as well as ergonomics, now comes the part where we ascertain as to whether the car has adequate safety equipment for safeguarding the passengers or not. This is one of the most important phases of our analysis and we better be satisfied with what the car has to offer to us as its safety features.
As we have already mentioned how commendable the suspension system of Maruti Alto 800 is, we can say that the car would not easily steer off its course and will give the driver ample opportunity to gain control over the whole vehicle. Power steering ensures that the car is able to make smooth manoeuvres with any risk of skidding or misbalance of weight. All this ensures that there is no threat to the safety of the driver as well as the passengers sitting inside the car.
Safety features are something that Maruti doesn’t compromise with. The credibility of the braking system has also been ascertained to us before and thus the driver would not have to worry regarding the response of the brakes even though there are lots of braking features such as brake assist, electronic brake distribution, anti lock-braking system, etc. But even then, the brake system that has been provided is sufficient enough. A few more safety features have been compromised though as per what we perceive. One of them is airbags. Maybe since the price of the car is not much, thus it is justifiable that the car would miss out on a few features. But on the contrary, the outer exoskeleton of the car has been made strong and seat belts have been provided so that even if the car comes into a collision course with any other vehicle, it does not suffer much damage. The wheels also deserve a special mention as radial tires have been installed which have high durability and traction control.
Thus, in terms of safety, Maruti Alto 800 might have missed out on a few features but then we shouldn’t complain as the company is already giving enough at a meagre price. Thus, when it comes to safety, we can still give thumbs up even if a hesitated one.
Maruti had to preserve the legacy of 800 and thus even with many more upgraded features on board, the base price has been kept at Rs. 2 Lakh. This is the reason why more and more people would be going for Alto 800 as of what has been expected by the company. Thus Maruti is keeping its fingers crossed for the opening of the vehicle on the Indian roads.
Maruti Alto 800 would surely be a head turner whenever it makes its way to the Indian roads owing to the fact that the looks have been changed for better and the car has been upgraded ergonomically as well. Thus, as per our verdict, thus will be a rage amongst the middle-class people.