Maruti Suzuki Alto800 Features & First Drive

Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 Overview

Maruti Suzuki Alto till date is the most preferred entry level car with its high reliability, best mileage, decent styling and above all the dense service network. Maruti Suzuki Alto and 800 both have the same 796 cc 3 cylinder engine. However, the one in Alto produces 47PS while that of the 800 makes 36 PS. Undoubtedly Alto has grabbed a huge market with its power and mileage. Maruti 800 is in market for more than 20 years and has been a very successful throughout its tenure. It recently got discontinued from the metros with the application of the BS4 emission norms.  Maruti Alto 800 On road price starts from 2,63,370/-. Check for price details of Maruti Alto 800 in CarzPrice.

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Earlier this year, Hyundai entered the mass car segment with its fluidicly designed Eon featuring a 3 cylinder 814cc engine delivering a power of 56PS. Eon banked on its fluidic design in addition to a more powerful engine which is a fresh change in the entry level segment.Hyundai Eon and Tata Nano were the fresh entry level cars compared to the ones Maruti Suzuki was offering. As Maruti Suzuki was losing market to the newbies, they decided to reincarnate the 800 cc segment. Cashing on the brand of Alto and offering a car with better styling than the conventional 800, the Alto 800 was launched. Will the Alto 800 set a new benchmark for entry level cars is what we find out in our review.

Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 Design

The styling of the Maruti Alto 800 looks far from impressive. The old Alto looked cute even thought it has been around for more than a decade. With the Alto 800, Maruti Suzuki has just tried to bring styling from the Japanese Alto and the A-Star, which doesn’t give the Alto 800 an identity of its own. The Alto 800 has very compact dimensions and the company has added new bits to make the vehicle look modern. A new and lighter roof has been added with corrugations to boost stability. New outside rear view mirror has been picked up from the Alto K10 but its shocking too see no left side rear view mirror as standard. The door handles are body colored but the rear view mirror is not. The full wheel caps look good and the wheel arches are slightly flared too. The increased height and high ground clearance makes the Alto 800 look odd. The Alto 800 is thus, no match for the well styled Hyundai Eon. The conservative styling doesn’t appeal much and the Alto 800 ends up looking very disproportionvate.

Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 Cabin

The interior of the Alto 800 has been improved too. The dashboard central panel is now oval in shape which scores more than the simple design of the earlier version of Alto. Also, the cabin is more spacious now. Between the front seats, an additional provision has been given for storage which can now hold a 1 liter bottle.Inside the new Alto 800, passenger comfort and convenience has been given due importance. The 3 spoke steering wheel has silver accents, which give it a premium feel. The front dashboard has easy pockets for keeping small items like mobile, remote of music system etc.

Compared to the Alto, the new car features better headroom and legroom and also a better lumbar for front row seats. Fabric upholstery is used in the LX and LXI variant while double vinyl upholstery can be seen in basic variant.Contributing to the nice overall fit and finish of the cabin are the upholstery texture of seats and that on door panel. Top of the line variant LXI also features optional Airbag which is fantastic especially as the Alto never had one.

Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 Engine

It has a 3 cylinder 796cc engine which produces a power of 48PS at 6000 rpm and a torque of 69Nm at 3500 rpm. Alto 800 comes with a 5 speed manual transmission with an all new cable type gear shift. Also going with the latest and strict emission norms all the variants not come in BS4 versions.The first most prominent change that one notices seated inside the Alto 800 is the improved height of the car. Thus even for taller passengers, it is not that difficult to get in and move out. The headroom and the legroom have been revised and also the seats have been made wider and offer greater seating comfort.The driving view has also been improved with a taller ride height. The new engine gives a very positive feedback with its peppy performance. Also the new engine promises of a better fuel efficiency.

Gear shift has been made smoother with the new cable type gear shift. Handling of the Alto 800 has been improved even if not substantially but then one can feel the difference while driving the new car. The Alto 800 with its design boasts of a better street presence.Call it smart marketing or a true attempt, Maruti Suzuki deliberately chose not to name the car as an all new product but instead name it under the Alto brand. The Alto from the time of its inception has been a runaway success. The connect and the loyalty that this brand enjoys is unparallel. On the other hand the 800 too has enjoyed a cult following. So with the Alto 800, Maruti Suzuki wanted to retain the support and confidence of its buyers in the new model too.

Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 Driving

The Alto 800 has a feedback rich steering though it feels a bit heavy at crawling speeds. However, the steering is very direct and despite being such a small car, the Alto is quite fun to drive. Thanks to its small footprint, you can easily drive it around and tackling too much traffic doesn’t get easier than this. The ride is very flat at low speeds and it tends to get uncomfortable when you hit broken or uneven surfaces at even moderately high speeds. The car remains decently stable at high speeds but it’d be best if it is driven below 90 km/hr. The body feels very light and the super thin tyres have questionable grip levels. View offers on Maruti Cars from Maruti dealers in Hyderabad at Autozhop

Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 Price

Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 Ex-Showroom Price in India ranges from 2,63,370/- (Alto 800 Standard) to 3,89,701/- (Alto 800 LXI CNG Optional). Get best offers for Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 from Maruti Suzuki Dealers in India

Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 Verdict

Maruti Suzuki hasn’t made many changes to the Alto 800, which is essentially the Alto in fresh clothing, with slight upgrades here and there. What this results in, is a much better Alto overall but is it enough considering this is the first facelift to the Alto in 12-years. While Maruti Suzuki’s brand name is more than enough to keep the Alto’s sales flying high, we were hoping for a vastly improved Alto to compete with the likes of the Hyundai Eon. However, the changes to the Alto are more than welcome and the refreshed exteriors, new dashboard, marginally more space, slightly more eager engine and better quality of plastics is enough to justify the Rs. 30,000/- price hike which is expected on the new Alto

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Performance & Price

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Overview

Maruti Suzuki Baleno is a new premium hatchback that sits above the Swift. This is the first product that is based on Maruti Suzuki’s new fifth-generation platform. This is a revolutionary platform for the company as it is lighter and even stronger than the existing Maruti Suzuki platforms. The Baleno is placed above the Swift and will be Maruti’s product for the premium hatchback segment.The Maruti Suzuki Baleno competes with the Honda Jazz and the Hyundai Elite i20. The Volkswagen Polo and the Fiat Punto Evo could also be considered as competition to the Baleno. Maruti Suzuki Baleno On road price starts from 5,42,411/-. Check for price details of Maruti Suzuki Baleno in CarzPrice.

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Maruti Suzuki Baleno Design

Honestly, I wasn’t very impressed with the interior when I first saw it at the Frankfurt Motor Show last month. And Maruti executives confirmed that the cars given to us in India are closer to production, which explains why it seems a lot more likeable now. The smart all-black cabin looks upmarket and sporty, but there are plenty of parts carried forward from other Maruti Suzuki models, which steals some of the freshness away. We expected the premium-positioned Baleno to use some soft plastic parts on the dashboard and maybe leather upholstery options, which could have made the cabin even better. Apart from this there’s not much to complain about, as the fit and finish is pretty decent for the segment

The front seats are large, comfortable and well bolstered. Thankfully, the driver’s seat is height-adjustable, which helps get a good driving position. In fact, the tilt and reach adjustable steering further helps this cause. The icing on the cake is the positioning of the switches and buttons, all of which are well within reach, making the cabin ergonomically sound.

As desired in this segment, the cabin is spacious and there’s plenty of space at the back too. What’s most impressive is the excellent knee room for the rear seat passengers – something Maruti car buyers were always left desiring more for until now. India being a predominantly chauffeur-driven country, this will not go unnoticed. There’s a spacious boot too, with a very useable 339 litres of storage space.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Cabin

The front of the Maruti Baleno is quite stylish and gives a unique presence to the car, one that sets it apart from the crowd. There are daytime running LEDs, but these come only in the top end Alpha variant, which is quite a dampener. The headlamp design reminds one of the Swift. The black honeycomb grille is smart looking and has chrome garnishing on the lower end, which adds some flair. The bumper gels well with rest of the body

From the side the car looks very contemporary and long as well. The side profile does look much better than the competition despite the fact all of them are under 4 metres and the same length hatches. The hood has a nice curve to it and the silhouette looks beautiful. This is certainly the best angle of the car

The rear is also appealing and muscular. There is a rear spoiler as well which is neatly integrated. Maruti follows the liquid flow design for Baleno, which makes it look trendy. The paint job on the Maruti Baleno is of good quality and makes it premium looking. The Maruti Baleno looks longer than the competition and even more premium in styling

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Engine

The real changes are under the hood. Baleno RS comes with a 998cc, 3 cylinder turbo charged DOHC petrol engine, which produced a healthy 103 bhp and 150Nm of torque. This setup is mated to 5 speed transmission, the same unit as the standard Baleno. Maruti Suzuki has stiffened suspension to minimize body roll, and help minimize acceleration and decelleration pitch. On the first lap, I went easy to warm up with the gearbox and braking, and the Baleno RS feels right. There are disc brakes, and an effective ABS system, which works rather well at higher speeds.

Gearbox is smooth to shift, and precise. Baleno RS weighs 950 kilos (dry) and that means agility is not a problem at all. The problem is weight distribution. Maximum car weight lies around the front axle than the rear where only the torsion beam and spare wheel weighs things down. So, while taking corners with lift off, and turn right, before I hit the apex, the rear starts rolling brutally, causing spin outs now and then.

Maximum power is at 5500rpm, so, it really isn’t a rev happy engine. This rev sadness also slows you down while down shifting as you have to go down the rev range to downshift to a lower gear whilst braking. Baleno RS is electronically limited to 170 kmph and on the back straight of the Buddh International Circuit, it really could have done much higher speeds than it suggests. Brakes are effective at such high speeds but power braking makes the rear end go loose even before you’re halfway through

0-100 came at a lazy 10.8 seconds, which isn’t the fastest in the segment. Acceleration from standstill is linear, and there is no prominent shove off the turbocharger, which should be excellent for city driving

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Driving

The Baleno is lighter than the Swift due to a new platform and while the lightness is a boon, it’s not at the cost of rigidity as the new platform is 10% stronger. This Maruti has been softly sprung (remember, this car is made to please those who find something lacking in the Swift) and comfort is what the Baleno is aimed at. Thus the ride quality is excellent and the car absorbs almost everything in its stride, save for sharper bumps. Even on bad roads, there is little noise which is transmitted to the cabin, the suspension working silently to iron out bad tarmac. But out on the highway, road and tyre noise does get inside the cabin and in the case of the diesel, the engine’s drone further makes things noisy

The top-spec model rides on lower profile, 16-inch wheels while the lower models with higher profile 15-inch rubber is even better in the ride quality department. The Maruti Baleno features a long wheelbase which does help in giving the hatchback very good high speed stability. The handling is good and body control is excellent too, although not in the same league of the sportier Swift. What is really impressive is the steering wheel that weighs up quite well at speed and is quite quick too, feel and feedback being good enough to put a big smile on the driver’s face. Braking performance left us a bit disappointed as the Baleno doesn’t inspire confidence to brake hard and even though it’s light, the car feels a bit twitchy under hard braking, the lower trims more so with the 15-inch MRF ZVTV rubber lacking grip. The top-end model using 16-inch wheels gets Apollo Alnac 4G tyres which offer much better grip than the MRFs. View offers on Maruti Cars from Maruti dealers in Hyderabad at Autozhop

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Safety

Maruti is offering the Baleno RS in a single variant and hence the car is loaded with top spec safety features as standard such as dual front airbags, ABS, EBD and ISOFIX child seat provision. Additionally, the Baleno RS comes with all-four discs for better stopping power. In terms of after sales, we all know that Maruti has a very renowned and wide network across the country. The NEXA channel is growing with each passing day and the ownership cost of the Baleno RS will definitely be the lowest compared to the other performance hatchbacks in this segment.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Cost

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Ex-Showroom Price in India ranges from 5,42,411/- (Baleno Sigma Petrol) to 8,62,135/- (Baleno Alpha CVT Petrol). Get best offers for Maruti Suzuki Baleno from Maruti Suzuki Dealers in India

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Verdict

The Baleno is based on the new, Suzuki fifth-generation platform that is lighter, rigid and safer. Designs are subjective and the Baleno doesn’t top the list when it comes to styling, but what it gets is a complete package from the country’s best-selling car maker. The interior quality, the space and the drivability is one of the best in its segment. Maruti is ticking all the correct boxes with the Baleno and this is what the customers need. This is the new-generation Maruti and it stands strong, sending a signal to the competition that it is not going to stay quiet and it will not give up its market share. It is there to lead and hold on its market share. The Baleno is the first one and many more are coming in.

Maruti Suzuki is once again flexing its muscles with the Baleno and this is the segment that is already on a rise. The brand value adds on to it and it makes it a great option to buy, especially the petrol. Once the price tags are revealed that is when we can give a clear opinion. The only think that will stop buyers from getting a Baleno is the badge value that Maruti Suzuki holds in the premium segment at the moment in the premium segmen