Maruti launched the new Alto K10 which is an upgrade from its biggest success, India’s most selling car, the Maruti Alto. The Alto k10 is powered by the K-series 1000 cc engine, the same that powers the other Marutis viz. A-star, new Wagon R, Zen Estilo.
The most tempting aspect is the 67bhp that the engine produces for a car whose kerb weight is 760 kg’s. That’s an astonishing 88bhp/tonne which puts not only hatchbacks in B1,B2 segments but also the C segment sedans to shame. It’s indeed more power than the SX4. This one is definitely targeted at the car enthusiasts on a lean budget. The Alto800 though is the best selling car, was never fun to drive which the K10 is all about.
The K10 is priced competitively between 3.06-3.13 lacs, ex-showroom price, Delhi which is just a 50k premium vis-a-vis the Alto800. This car caters to the people who found the old Alto under-powered and stressed under loads.
That’s what the car is all about on paper. Now, lets see what it is about on the road.
Press the accelerator and you will feel the power of the additional horses instantaneously, the car is quite a breeze. The initial pick up is very good and the engine feels very relaxed. The noise levels are also on the lower side and there is negligible power lag when you switch on the AC. The AC is quite a chiller by the way. The car reaches 100kmph very comfortably but that’s where you see something’s not right. The car isn’t stable at high speeds. The steering though feels very good to hold isn’t really impressive and has no feedback at all. The gear shift is rubbery but afterall this is just an A segment car and you can’t expect anything more at this price. It’s perfect for city driving and you will feel glad that you can show your back to most of the cars under 15 lakhs. On the highways, anything above 100kmph isn’t safe and yeah the car understeers at high speeds.
On the outside, Maruti made sure it distinguishes the K10 from the regular Alto with a facelift. When viewing head-on you will instantaneously notice the larger grill and the long angular headlights which give this car a more matured look. It is to be noted that the K10 is 125 mm longer than the regular Alto and also 55 Kg’s heavier, thanks to the 1000cc engine. The rear is also redesigned with good looking tail-lights. This car definitely has more road presence than its predecessor.
Step inside and you will find most of the things familiar if you have seen an Alto800 before. The K10 gets a chunky steering wheel which is very good to hold and also adjustable OVRM’s. The cheap plastics from the Alto800 find their way into the K10 also. The K10 gets an additional MID(Multi Information Display) and the overall view of the dial & cluster is appealing to the eye. Though the car is a bit longer, interior space is still a problem especially at the rear and if you are above 5 feet 5 inches, get ready to bruise your knees. The seats do not have an adjustable head rest but are fairly comfortable. The fabric quality is also quite good. The low stance of the car considered, it was always a problem to get in and get out of the car and the same continues with the K10. You need to struggle to get in if you are anything near 5 feet 10 inches.
Well, whatever features the car may have and however it may look the Indians always ask “kitna dethi hai?” and the K10 scores in this asoect. The ARAI certified figures are 20.2 km/litre which is quite an achievement by Maruti. Given the aggressive pricing, the powerful engine which can even put sedans to shame and the matured looks Maruti sure seems to have another winner in hands. I feel that this is the true successor for the Zen, which was fun to drive, and which the Estilo never was.