Driving the 2022 Maruti Alto K10: Fresh but familiar!
Even with the growing popularity of SUVs in the Indian market, hatchbacks still have a rather difficult position in the market, especially due to their affordable prices. Maruti Suzuki Alto has been around since most of us were born. Recently, the brand introduced the all-new Alto K10, which was discontinued a few years ago. What does the all-new Alto K10 bring to the market? We’ve been driving around Kerala and here’s what we think of the all-new Alto K10.
Looks like a Japanese Kei car!
The all-new Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 looks like a Kei car. The hatchback has a new HEARTECT platform that makes it larger than before. While the size has increased a bit, the all-new Alto K10 also offers a new design. The new car has a much larger grille than before and a clamshell-style bonnet. You can see traces of the old A-Star design on the front end.
The bumper is also newly designed and the strong bends add to the youthful look of the car. There are no provisions for fog lights in the bumper. However, the headlights have been updated and are larger than before.
The new Alto K10 uses 13-inch steel rims with wheel covers. Not much to say about the side design. There is a single crease running through the body of the new Alto K10. The flap door handles and side turn indicators are located on the bodywork instead of the ORVM. The ORVMs are available in all black and there is no body color option.
The rear of the all-new Alto K10 has new taillights. Square tail lights. Turn signal lights, reverse lights and brake lights are all integrated into this unit. There is only one reverse light on the car. The rear bumper is quite large, similar to the front bumper. There are two parking sensors but no factory installed camera.
A bigger cabin
With the increase in size, cabin space has improved significantly – this is a much-needed refresh and it has been fulfilled here by Maruti. There’s 251 liters of boot space, which is roomy to fit two people overnight. The rear seats are wide and have good support. However, the headrests are fixed. Fixed headrests do not provide sufficient lightning protection. The space is spacious for two people but the transmission tunnel will make the third passenger uncomfortable.
The back seat does not have much utility space. On the door there are small pockets and a bottle holder in the middle. There’s no seat pocket or space in the door to hold bottles, though. In addition, rear passengers will have to operate the windows via the old lever system. There are no power window options, even with the highest trim.
The front seats have side cushions. The driver’s seat is not height-adjustable and the handlebars are also fixed. However, I did not find any difficulty in establishing a comfortable driving position. The front seats are also well padded and fully supportive. During the more than 100 km of driving, we did not feel any discomfort. The front door liner has a large bottle holder. There are two cup holders in the center console and more to hold items like phones and other small items.
The new Alto has an all-black dashboard. Sitting in the middle is a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that works with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The infotainment system plays through 4 speakers located in all 4 doors of the car. Sound quality is adequate and is what you can expect in a car in this segment.
The steering wheel has many buttons including a switch to control your phone. The instrument cluster is fully digital and displays basic information. We miss a tachometer in the delightful Alto K10.
However, the new hatchback doesn’t have an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror. A feature that a lot of people use in India due to the unprecedented use of high beams on the road.
How is it to drive?
Alto K10 is not a heavy vehicle, especially the new model using the light HEARTECT platform. It is powered by a three-cylinder 1.0-litre K10C petrol engine. The engine produces a maximum capacity of 66.6 PS and a maximum torque of 82 Nm. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed AMT.
The three-cylinder engine doesn’t feel like one while driving. It is smooth and even when idling, there is almost no vibration. We drove a manual transmission first and loved the acceleration and power delivery. The engine produces a lot of torque at low levels, ensuring that you don’t need to shift gears while traveling in heavy traffic.
The gearshifts themselves feel a bit clunky but they run very well. The lightweight clutch and manual transmission variant are fun to drive. The Alto K10 feels like driving an enhanced go-kart. It is rough and it is fast. It can hit 100 km/h in third gear and can still accelerate even further.
The suspension is well tuned. We love the Alto K10’s behavior on potholes and speed breakers. The suspension is perfect for Indian road conditions. The steering, however, lacks feedback. It’s steering correctly but feedback is missing. Also, you have to work to bring the steering wheel to center every time you turn. It is not a self-centering steering wheel.
We also drove the AMT and ran the fuel-efficient 80km on the streets of Kerala. AMT has typical features. It’s smooth up and down gears but can get confusing at times and you feel a jerk from the transmission. We did, however, drive the car around the city with the manual climate control turned on and hit a realistic fuel economy of over 24 km/l, which we think is pretty good.
Should you buy one?
The Alto K10 has been a popular choice among first-time car buyers and the new one will continue to attract a lot of new customers. This is a practical car and with prices ranging from Rs 3.99 lakh to Rs 5.83 lakh, in showroom, the Alto K10 offers a good value for money.