Whoever is slight bit knowledgeable about the auto industry would know that 10 years is a long long time for a car to be the best seller in the market and 10 years is also a long time for car to do so without any serious update. But that scenario has now changed. This is the Maurti Alto 800 which has been launched to take the place of the legendary Maruti 800 and the Alto, which we all know almost, revolutionized the automobile industry in India. But filling in those shoes would be very very difficult for a newcomer.
But before you jump to any conclusion, let me tell you that although it has the number 800 in its name, it hardly has any similarity with the earlier Maruti 800. It has been put there just differentiate it from the Maruti Alto K10 and the Maruti Alto 800.
So what's new in the Maruti Alto 800 after all? We firstly it has an all-new front. But wait! The front may uncannily remind you of the Maruti A-Star. Yes it looks very much similar to Maruti A-Star. In fact it is not just the front, a lot of design features of the A-Star has been used in the Alto 800. But it is certainly not an out & out copy of the A-Star. So you will not be wrong if you call the A-Star an inspiration for the Alto 800.
The headlights are located a little higher compared to the earlier Altos and comes with black detailing inside. The grille looks much like the one you see on the Ford Figo, with a chrome strip running across it in the middle. Under the grille is the all-black air dam. Overall, the front looks quite sporty and gives a good appearance to the hatch.
Did we not tell you that a lot of inspiration has been taken from the A-Star? Come to back and you will see the A-Star like taillights and bumper. But it does make the rear look a lot different than the previous Alto. In fact it hardly looks like an evolution of Alto from the back. Rather it looks like a completely new car.
The side profile is again similar to what you see on the A-Star. While the size of the rear windows have gone smaller, overall the car has grown in size somewhat.
Because of this tallness, the headroom in the Alto 800 is significantly higher. And it is not just headroom, legroom have also increased quite a bit, 15mm to be exact, with the scooping out of the front seats. This feature you can also see in the Alto K10.
The dash and the interior overall is sensibly designed and looks all-new. The steering wheel in completely new and the side aircon vents are now circular. But the aircon controls are same as the previous Alto. The high-end LXi model you will get a driver airbag and an optional ABS system.
Under the hood, the Alto 800 gets Mauti's well-known F8D engine, but with some improvements. The improved engine gives a max output and torque of 48PS and 69Nm, which is 11% more than the previous model. Mileage is also encouraging with 22kmpl.
You can feel the improvement in the Alto 800 engine as it feels much smoother compared to the older one. The starting judder that was felt earlier has been completely eliminated. It handles quite well in both straight drive as well as in tight turns. Ride quality of the Alto 800 has also improved and feels less bumpy this time. On the negative side, the steering feels a little heavier. But with time one will get used to this I guess.
So overall, the Alto 800 looks fresh and has been well packaged. If you want to go for this one then we recommend that you do. But will it be able to fill in the shoes of the Alto and the Maruti 800. We don't think so. Simply because there are too many options available in the market this time.