Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good Arriving Down Under in July 2009 the Suzuki Alto features an attractive design, slightly muscular wheel arches and a sure-footed stance with each wheel pushed into the corner. Looks good on the road.
Not so good Doors feel a little 'tinny' and the candy-like Pink exterior of our test car produced a few smirks from other road users (because most of the team here are male...which Suzuki knew before they lent us their pink Alto!).
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Great design layout up front with plenty of space on offer. The Suzuki Alto has a two-tone dashboard that works well; controls for the driver and dashboard are all well laid out and easy to operate.
Not so good No glovebox for. Base model Sound System only has 2 speakers (the GLX grade has 6); the shiny, hard plastics are an unfortunate but justifiable trade-off for a car built at such a low price. Small boot and limited rear legroom (though hard to criticise when the Alto is only 3.5m long).
Performance

Performance

Good Believe it or not this is an enjoyable car to drive; the 1.0 litre engine loves to rev high and feels sufficiently fast enough in the real world. Drive it briskly and fuel economy still stays impressively low.
Not so good The engine is noisy which is unlikely to be appreciated by the target market; lacks torque so the Manual transmission is definitely the more fun choice for spirited driving.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good The ride is impressive for such a light hatchback (approx 850kg) and it felt stable on a variety of roads (driven during a week of wild Melbourne winds); the tiny turning circle adds to the ease of negotiating tricky narrow city lanes or shopping centre car parks.
Not so good The Suzuki Alto is not as competent as Suzuki’s larger (but more expensive) Swift.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good Good build quality; even the entry level grade comes with six airbags and active safety features as standard. A technical update from July 2010 saw the already frugal Alto become even more economical. Offical combined fuel economy for the manual grades is now 4.7L per 100kms and 5.3L per 100kms with the optional four speed automatic transmission.
Not so good The rear hatch on the GL grade can only be opened from the outside using the ignition key (however, the more expensive GLS grade has an interior boot release switch).