Review: 2017 Maruti Suzuki Alto 800

15 December 2017, Neil Parkhi


The Suzuki Alto is a kei car built by Suzuki. It’s selling points have long included a low price and good fuel economy. A new version of the Alto called the Alto 800 was released in the Indian car market on 16 October 2012. Besides being exported to Europe from 1994 to 2004, it has also been exported to several other countries. A new Alto was introduced in 2012, giving it all-new bodywork and interiors. The price of the Alto, already India's best-selling car, was actually lowered with the model change. Various methods were found to lower the price, including the lowering of the weight of each individual component by one gram each, and also by building their own robots for manufacturing the car. This is also sold as the Suzuki Alto 800 in many export markets. In May 2016, refurbished version of Alto 800 has been introduced with notable changes to the exteriors, interiors, features and specifications.


The Alto, currently in its eighth generation, was first introduced in 1979 and has been built in many countries worldwide. The Alto badge has often been used on different cars in Japan and in export markets, where it is considered a city car. In Japan, the Alto badge was originally meant to be for the commercial use version of the Fronte passenger car. When introduced, the Alto was only available as a two-door "light van" and with bare-bones equipment. However, Suzuki had never used the "Fronte" badge in export, and chose to call all versions "Alto" abroad. Most early export Altos were thus technically speaking rebadged Suzuki Frontes. These were exported with changes such as enlarged engines, sometimes modified bodywork. Thus the Japanese SS40 Fronte became the SS80 Alto with a 796 cc engine abroad. The Alto badge gradually took over in Japan as well, as the distinction between kei commercial vehicles and passenger cars was diminished in early 1989. The Fronte line was retired in March 1989. The Alto plate has been used on export versions of various Indian-built derivatives since the early 1990s, as neither cars are restricted by the kei rules and Indian cars are also considerably cheaper than Japanese-built ones. The fifth-generation Alto (HA12/22) was introduced in October 1998. The styling was generally more rounded, the shape of the cabin showing the Alto's relationship with the new Suzuki Kei. The Maruti Alto is the Indian-built version of the fifth generation Alto, manufactured by Maruti Suzuki. It was launched in the local Indian market on 27 September 2000 although the Alto nameplate had been successfully used to export the Maruti Zen to Europe from India since around 1994 having captured over 40% market share in Belgium and 33% in Netherlands by 1998. It is the best-selling hatchback in India. Since 2006, it is India's largest selling car and crossed the 1 million production figure in February 2008 becoming the third Maruti model to cross the million mark in India after Maruti 800 and Maruti Omni and fourth overall joining Hyundai Santro.


Steering and Transmission
Steering Type Electric Assist, Rack and Pinion Power Steering
Transmission Type 5 Speed Manual
Wheels and Tires
Front Wheel Type 12 inch steel wheels with 6 twin spoke wheel caps
Rear Wheel Type 12 inch steel wheels with 6 twin spoke wheel caps
Front Tire Type 145/80R12
Rear Tire Type 145/80R12
Front Brake Type Solid Disc
Rear Brake Type Drum
Front Suspension Type MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Type Tri-Link Rigid Axle
Suspension Features Coil Springs, Gas Pressurized Shock Absorbers
Length (in, mm) 135in, 3430mm
Width (in, mm) 59.6in, 1515mm
Height (in, mm) 58in, 1475mm
Wheelbase (in, mm) 92.9in, 2360mm
Weight (lb, kg) 1532lb, 695kg
Engine Specifications
Engine Type 0.8 litre 12 valve petrol inline 3 cylinder
Power (bhp, PS, kW) 47bhp, 48PS, 35kW @ 6000RPM
Torque (lb-ft, Nm) 51lb-ft, 69Nm @ 3500RPM
0-60 mph (0-97 kmph) 18.9 seconds
Top Speed (mph, kmph) 87 mph, 140 kmph
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Fuel Tank Size (gal, L) 9.2 gallons, 35L
Fuel Type (AKI, RON) 87 Octane/AKI Petrol (92 RON)
City Fuel Economy (mpg, kmpL) 54mpg, 23kmpL
City Fuel Economy (mpg, kmpL) 59mpg, 25kmpL
Cargo Specifications
Cargo Space (ft3, L) 6.3ft3, 177L
Max. Cargo Space (ft3, L) 6.3ft3, 177L