The Alto from Maruti Suzuki has been the best-selling car in the country for more years one could imagine. For those not aware, the Alto 800 just passed the 40-lakh milestone in a period of 20 years, since it has been soldering on the homegrown carmaker’s brand image all the way back since the year 2000.
Just a few months back, the Alto was available in two versions. The first one, which just crossed the abovesaid milestone, is the Alto 800, which, as its name implies, comes powered by a small 800cc engine. Its other derivative, touted as the Alto K10, came powered by a sprightlier 998cc motor. Maruti Suzuki, however, discontinued the Alto K10 just a few months back.
This was due to the fact that the homegrown carmaker already had the S-Presso in the same price bracket. Well, for those who still haven’t come across one on our roads, the S-Presso was launched late last year with the same K10 engine. However, unlike the Alto K10, this one is set high off the ground, which allowed the carmaker to term it as a ‘mini-SUV’.
While the S-Presso might not be an SUV at its core, it did sell well for a car that was styled, erm, rather funky. So, with the S-Presso onboard, the homegrown carmaker decided to axe the older Alto K10. This leaves the Alto 800 and the relatively new S-Presso in Maruti Suzuki’s portfolio of small hatchbacks.
So, if your budget is lesser than the price of a WagonR, and you’re only going to shop inside the country’s most trusted carmaker’s walls, the Alto 800 and the S-Presso are your only options as of now. So, which one should you grab?
The Alto 800 has enjoyed supremacy in sales numbers for many years now. This is down to the fact that it’s a very well-priced car and it’s quite easy on the pocket even after a few years. It is also quite easy to drive. However, as for its design, it’s neither elegant nor contemporary. It’s just plain and simple, something you can easily forgive for a car in this segment.
Talking about forgiveness, the S-Presso features a design which no one could easily forgive. Be it for its tall stance, out of the box proportions, puny wheels, or the cheeky headlamps, the S-Presso grabs quite a few eyeballs on the road. But not for good reasons. In a bid to make it look like a small SUV, Maruti Suzuki has given it a faux skid plate treatment and huge wheel arches, but the small proportions only make it look like a mismatched hatchback.
So, the Alto 800 seems to be a better one going by the exterior styling. However, step into the interior of both the cars, and things seem to take a U-turn. For one, the Alto 800’s cabin has remained unchanged for over the years. The only visual difference now – in comparison to when it was launched – is the addition of the maker’s 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system in the top-spec trim. Space and the seats are quite average.
In the interior department, the S-Presso more than makes up for its funky exterior. Based on the Heartect K platform, the S-Presso has lots of interior room, even though the seats are quite modest themselves. It also packs the maker’s new Smartplay Studio system, which, in both the cars, get Apple Carplay and Android Auto support. The S-Presso also gets some more features in comparison to the Alto, like steering-mounted audio controls, and more.
Under the hood of the Alto 800 is a 796cc engine, which is good for 48bhp and 69Nm of torque. The S-Presso, on the other hand, gets the 998cc K10 motor, which produces 67bhp and 90Nm of torque. Both cars also get the option of CNG as an alternate fuel. Given its larger engine, the S-Presso, of course, performs better than the Alto. The ride quality and handling, however, are almost the same for both the models.
Therefore, if you can go past its looks and are willing to spend a bit more, the S-Presso is the perfect city runabout. However, if your budget is a bit tight, you can close your eyes and pick the Alto over the S-Presso. Regardless, you can not go wrong with either of these models. To read more like this, be sure to visit us at autoX. Also, read the latest car comparisons, only at autoX.