Maruti Suzuki, ever heard of this company name before? Well, I know no one would not even forget the brand, not even the cars they have in the market in their dreams. One such car is the iconic ‘Maruti Suzuki Alto’. The small car is known for low maintenance costs, high fuel efficiency, versatility and of course doesn’t dig a deep hole in our pockets while buying it. Due to these positives ‘Alto’ survived for about 2 decades with some awards here and there. Why people just bought it with eyes closed? What magic did Maruti had up its leaves? Let’s find out.

Maruti Suzuki Alto | Insights 

It is hard to miss this fact that the car ‘Alto’ first let foot into the world in 1979. The car was launched as a 3 door small hatch from Suzuki in Europe, with a bare bore interior and a small 800cc engine. The car was intended for low everything so that a common person could also drive.

First Generation Alto | Year 2000

First Alto in the year 2000
First Alto in the year 2000 | International Version

But it wasn’t later that the company launched ‘Alto’ in the Indian automotive market. In 2000 the car first came to our shores with the same 796cc engine in the Maruti 800.

  • Like its other sibling, the car made the same amount of power and peak torque figures, but this time around it had 5-speed gearbox instead of the 4. Along with that the car also came with AC in the upper variant.
  • Later, the very next year the car was also offered with the 1-litre engine from Wagon R. The motor produced 64ps of power and about 80Nm of peak torque.
  • In its first year, the car came with no luxury features inside what so ever. Even outside of Alto was plain without any excitement.
2000 Maruti Suzuki Alto
2000 Maruti Suzuki Alto

First facelift | Year 2008

First Alto in the year 2008
2008 | First Facelift

This was when the car received its first facelift. Well, to be honest Alto only came with some cosmetic changes.

  • For starters this time about this Maruti was offered with clear headlight lenses rather than smoked ones. The same was updated at the rear to the taillights too. At least the company thought of upgrading the car.
  • With that, the car also featured the new instrument cluster with digital odometer with trip function. I must say that was worth the upgrade.
  • Through the same year, ‘Alto’ crossed 1 million production mark and became the third car from the same brand to cross the barrier.
First Alto in the year 2008 | Interior
First Alto in the year 2008 | Interior

Alto K10 Second Facelift | Year 2010

2010 Alto K10 2010 Maruti Suzuki Alto K10
2010 Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 | Picture Credits: Team-BHP

It’s good when the company thinks something about their customers, here is when they gave the car a decent facelift.

  • The car gets new headlights and taillights housing, with that re-designed bumpers front and rear.
  • There could be seen some changes on the inside too, with better and easy to read instrument cluster, new AC controls and redesigned dash.
  • The major changes were done under the hood. This is when the car got its first engine upgrade. The new K10 engine first made its mark in Alto 2010. The motor was capable of producing 67bhp and about 90Nm of peak torque.
  • Yet again the car was mated to a 5-speed gearbox for better drivability. It can easily be said that the car was finally worth buying.
2010 Alto K10 2010 Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 | Interior
2010 Alto K10 2010 Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 | Interior

Updated Alto 800cc | Year 2012

2012 Alto 800
2012 Alto 800

It was evident that with new engine Maruti Suzuki will increase the price of the K10 Alto. To fill up the very gap they decided to bring back the updated 800cc engine with new Alto.

  • It cannot be said that this was a tweaked K10 alto, as the new 800cc didn’t share the size of its bigger brother. The car got all-new exterior and interiors with different side panels.
  • This 800cc engine made about 47hp and the same peak torque as before.
  • This time the car new 800 was better in every sense to be it ride comfort, reliability, and engine. The suspensions were also tweaked for the same purpose.
  • Even so, the price of the vehicle went down instead of going up.
2012 Alto 800 | Interior
2012 Alto 800 | Interior | Picture Credits: Team-BHP

Updated Alto K10 | Year 2014

2014 Alto K10
2014 Alto K10

In the year 2014, the old K10 was discontinued to bring its updated model in the very same year.

  • The new Alto this time didn’t get any changes under the hood for that matter. The new Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 boasted of only aesthetics changes, inside and outside.
  • The only major addition the 2014 K10 got was an AMT (Automatic Manual Transmission) gearbox. In addition to that, the Alto also got driver-side airbag but only was available in the top-end trim.
  • Apart from that, the new cosmetic changes included all-new dashboard, plush seat upholstery, new music system, better read-outs for the instrument cluster, and many more.
2014 Alto K10 | Interior
2014 Alto K10 | Interior

Also Read: Tata Safari | The Evolution of an Icon

Yet Another Alto 800 Update | the Year 2016

2016 Alto 800
2016 Alto 800

Like the K10 in 2014 got only the cosmetic updates, in 2016 the same happened with the Alto 800.

  • There were only cosmetic changes and no major changes as such.
  • The changes include a new dashboard, better seat upholstery, fairly good music system, and new colour schemes for the vehicle.

Fun Read: Ford Ikon | The Josh Machine of India

It was not until the first quarter of the year 2019 that Maruti Suzuki discontinued the legendary small yet cute hatch for the Indian market. This was done due to the new BS6 emission norms. Though it might come back, as the alto legacy seems to be neverending.

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11 COMMENTS

    • Hi Naphish,
      Alto K10 1st generation, as well as the second generation, was a good car but it did lack on the safety front. Being a budget car company was not able to equip it with all the safety features. Stay tuned!

  1. The article has numerous mistakes, looks like no proper fact checking was done prior to publishing.

    1. “In 2000 the car first came to our shores with the same 796cc engine in the Maruti 800”

    So many people get this wrong but just because the bore/stroke length was the same does not mean that the engine was the same as that of the M800. The M800 used an F8B engine with the 6V cylinder head and a different cylinder block than the F8D(available as a different version on the M800 DX/EX 5 speed versions for around 1-2 years in that era) engine which had a 12V cylinder head. It would be fair to say that there were far fewer differences between the 1.1l 4 cylinder F10D in the WagonR/Alto VX/VXi and the 0.8L F8D engine from that era. The F8D was simply 1 cylinder chopped off from the F10D with all the valvetrain components being more or less the same. Even the transmission between the F8D/F10D had the exact same primary ratios except for the final drive ratio which slightly taller on the F10D due to higher wheel horsepower.

    2. “With that, the car also featured the new instrument cluster with digital odometer with trip function. I must say that was worth the upgrade.”

    Not true. The first generation Alto had a digital ODO/Dual Tripmeter.

    Photograph shown is not from a domestic Alto sold in India, its from an export version. You must clarify that.

    3. “This 800cc engine made about 69hp and the same peak torque as before.”

    The F8D never made more than 47BHP on the crank. Drivability was improved between revisions though.

    • Hi Nilay,
      Thanks for pointing out the errors. I have made the necessary changes. The first generation was not equipped with a digital odometer, it was from the second-gen that the Alto came with one. Stay pinned.

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