Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 LXi - Performance Review
Expert Reviews : DesignUser Experience Performance Safety
Performance Review of Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 LXi
Last Updated at 03:13 pm, May 20, 2013Rating :
The Alto 800 gets an improved version of the proven 800cc engine.
The Alto 800 uses a revised version of the 3-cylinder 800cc engine that has been doing duty under the Alto’s hood for ages now. Though still referred to as the F8D, the revised engine boasts of a higher compression ratio, shorter piston skirts, lighter con-rod and camshaft, low-friction bearings and a lighter plastic intake that replaces the aluminium one. The resultant revision also gives the new engine better power and torque output. While the outgoing model churned out 47 PS of power and 62 Nm of torque, the new F8D engine produces close of 48 PS of power and 68 Nm of torque.
While the engine has undergone a weight loss diet, the rest of the car has gained weight – up to 15 kg over the outgoing model. The engine will be available with a choice of petrol and/or CNG propulsion. Despite the weight gain, Maruti Suzuki is claiming an ARAI certified fuel economy of 22.74 kmpl for petrol and 30.46 for CNG. The engine comes mated to a 5-speed gearbox that gets a wire-actuated mechanism similar to the one seen on the Estilo, Wagon R or Swift. The result is quick shifts that do not feel clunky like the outgoing model.
The engine still feels peppy to drive but the refinement levels are better. The engine noise isn’t as pronounced either. The low-end torque provides quick initial response and the good mid-range helps in extracting good fuel economy even in the city. Overtaking though requires frequent downshifts, but with the improved gearbox, cycling briskly through the gears can be fun at times! Add to it the reduced length of the car, a well weighted steering wheel, a large windshield that aids with better visibility and the 4.6m turning radius, which all sum up to make the car very easy to maneuver in city traffic. Out on the highway though, the engine suffers from a drab top-end and over 100 km/h the Alto 800 feels skittish.
Around the twisties too, the 145-section tyres do not inspire much confidence. The suspension setup however is slightly stiffer than the older Alto and therefore body-roll has reduced to an extent. The ride quality is decent on our regular roads, but on slightly rough surfaces, the ride feels harsh and noisy.
On the safety front, the Alto finally gets the option of an airbag (only driver side), which can be had at a small premium over the top-end LXi trim. ABS is still not available on the Alto, however its inclusion in the option pack would have been a responsible move and a benchmark for others to follow. The Alto 800 doesn’t set any other benchmarks either, but manages to take an already popular product to its next level.
The Alto 800, frankly, doesn’t set any new benchmarks like its predecessors. However, it still manages to mate relatively new yet conservative styling to a set of improved mechanicals from an already potent product. And that is exactly what it is expected to do – carry forward the tradition of success in a way that no room is left for newcomers to excel. The Alto 800 brings to the table a low cost of ownership; a strong service network and the much need option of CNG propulsion, which will help it maintain the lead over its rivals. As I mentioned at the beginning, the Alto 800 will take over the reigns from a car that is still one of the highest selling models in India – and therefore its success is imperative!
First Published on 07:18 pm, September 24, 2012
but..... MSIL must come with LPG model with same cost... -10k