I have owned the new shape Suzuki Alto for around 18 months now after trading in my previous car whilst the scrappage scheme was ongoing.
No frills motoring should be expected, especially as the base model costs just shy of £6500 (model name - SZ2), whilst the top model costs just over £7500 (model name- SZ4), with an automatic costing slightly more.
All the Alto models have 5 doors which seat 4 people, with all offering remote central locking, electric front windows and a wma & mp3 compatible cd player (I thought this meant a port for an mp3 player would be installed, it actually means it will play copied CDs!) as standard.
I am an owner of the mid range model, the SZ3, which has all the above features but also includes air conditioning. Admittedly this was not one of my musts when purchasing the car, and for over an extra £700 would not necessarily recommend this model. I had very little choice as I was informed if I purchased an SZ2 one would not be available on the scrappage scheme due to their full order books at the time.
The top model (the SZ4) offers extras such as as a rev counter creatively mounted onto the dashboard, alloy wheels and colour coded handles & wing mirrors, but to mention a few. Its hard to make a judgement on these extras as I have no experience of them, however they were things I didn't think were necessary for what is essentially an affordable run around.
Metallic paint is also an added extra on all models, I personally opted to save that money, leaving me with a choice of red or white. Not the best colours, however its the inside of the car where you spend the most time, isn't it?
The interior of the car is not of outstanding quality, there is plenty of plastic, a mixture of silver and black. It looks ok to start off with but does become worn and dated relatively quickly, I would have liked less silver, however this is subjective and just a matter of preference.
The audio quality can sound a little bit tin can like at times, especially when the volume is increased slightly, however this is not a major gripe. The aspect which most frustrates me are the electric front windows. Its not that they don't work, they do, its something which at first glance shouldn't be an issue but over time becomes slightly more noticeable. On the drivers side there is only a button for the drivers side window, the passenger has the only control for the other window. Not something thats easily apparent, only something which comes to light when you want to open the passenger side window for any reason.
I guess its easy to get caught up on little problems like that because mechanically there have been no problems with the car so far (touch wood), granted its only 18 months so not much could be expected to go wrong at this stage in its young life. The 1 litre engine not only gives out low CO2 emissions, causing the tax to cost as little as £20 for the year (at the last renewal). You also get a good 300 miles from the 35 litre tank whilst it's surprisingly nippy and fun to drive. It drives very smoothly and provided you use a registered service garage (and not the dealer) the services are reasonably priced.
I would recommend the Suzuki Alto to a friend, and although I own the SZ3 model, would suggest the SZ2, as I don't feel the extra money spent is justified by only receiving air conditioning. Its cheap to run, insure and tax, and if you're willing to overlook the minor issues with the interior and the audio quality, it offers very good value for money. If you're looking for a reliable and cheap first or second car, or you're just after a nippy city car then the Suzuki Alto may be for you!
This is my first car, i've had it a year, right from the day that I had passed my driving test. There are so many good points to it that I just don't know where to start! Firstly, £35 a year to tax it! You couldn't go wrong with that if you wanted to. It's cheaper to insure than the other little cars (like corsas) because it's less stealable to boy racer types. It's easy to drive and good on the petrol. If you are just looking for a little run around to get from a to b then this is the perfect car, however if you're just worried about looking stylish then probably look elsewhere.
I do agree that some of the older versions aren't great and the inside is seriously just a stick and a wheel, but mine (2005) is quite adequate for my needs. All my student friends are jelous then they have to fork out £150 tax for their cars and pay more to fill up the tank!
Space, comfort and ride: Ok, i'm not going to make out that it's amazing on any of these. Space is adequate. It isn't really suitable for a family (well, not mine anyway!) but is fine if it's usually only going to be one or two people, in which case, the seats go back quite far. It has electric windows which is always a nice touch! This car does handle much better on less than 60mph roads, when it goes past this it does get a little jittery, but anything under 60 and it handles really well. Boot space is limited, again, it's adequate but not really suitable for putting pushchairs and the like in, although perfectly capable to hold your shopping!
Long live the Alto!
Bought my first Suzuki Alto in 2002 and never looked back. Most reliable car Ive driven in 40yrs of driving. I used to think the Nissan Micra was reliable, and it was but when that broke down it was hell. The suzuki Alto how-ever has never broken down on me so far and is cheap for insurance and Ive managed to get 72mpg on it. People who don't like this car obviously have not driven for very long or probably drive it to excess, ie 80mph in 1st gear. This car may look cheap, may look basic but if you want reliability, low cost maintenance, cheap insurance payments and great MPG, go get this baby!
I have driven Alto for quite some time and some other cars too. When I say its good in bad times and bad in good times, I mean when you are in a bad financial situation, Alto wont be a great additional burden but when talking about having good time like comfort and fun in driving, Alto probably is not designed for that. Like any other car Alto has some good points and some bad points. Good points first. ECONOMICAL Here Alto will beat almost any other car and probably this is the factor for which most budget conscious people will opt for this car. The reasons that contribute towards Alto being a budget friendly car are:- * Low Cost. Though it does have many other limitations, still people who cannot afford purchasing another spacious car will stick to Alto. * Fuel Consumption. An excellent mileage. You will get the best miles against your fuel. So Alto will be a friendly name for people who have to travel more miles per day in connection with their job or for other reasons. * Low Maintenance Cost. Cheap spare parts reduce its maintenance cost to a great extent. The car is otherwise not very demanding on care and maintenance. Mostly mechanical design and functioning, so you hardly face much of electrical complications. COMPACT * Good in Bad Times. Due to its compact size you will fell much easier with Alto than any other car, to make your way through a crowded street or at times traffic jams. * Easy Parking. You only need a walking space between two cars and you can fit your Alto between them. * Easy Retrieval from a Bad Parking. Well, what you do when you find your car trapped between footpath and another car that some one parked just behind your car? You wait if you have another car but Alto ca get out from most of such situations. Its smaller size from head to tail and from left to right will only need a little of movement space. A couple of forwar
d and reverse moves will get you out of a bad parking. RELIABILITY * Can say very reliable. You wont have many troubles along road side. And when it does occur, a little knowledge of automobiles or any road side mechanic will put your car on the road again. Now some things bad about Alto. * Driving Experience. You hardly have anything to celebrate about it. No power steering and even gears, brakes and other controls will not give you a very enjoyable or comfortable feeling when driving. * Comfort. Its better to take some other car when you go for long drives. I have already talked about power steering and brakes etc. A poor suspension and kind of seats Alto has, will add to discomfort in long drives. You cannot drive it to very high speeds too, so duration of your journey will also increase when travelling by Alto. * Looks. Just average. And below average if you have been driving some other cars of recent models. This applies both to exterior and interior of the car. Colours quality (non-metallic) and choice isn’t attractive too. * Space for Passengers and Luggage. That’s the worst about Alto. Hardly a comfortable space for sitting and almost no space for luggage. If you or some one in your family are tall, Alto is just not for you. After all where will you keep your legs while sitting inside car? Similar problems you face if you have company of over weight people. You may not be able to accommodate three persons on the back seat. And don’t carry more than a small bag with you if you have company. A larger bag or even your brief case will find its place on back seat. So carry luggage or people with you at one time. * Safety. Don’t depend. Very light and soft structure coupled with absence of any special safety features will make you depend purely on your driving skill. In nutshell, your budget will be the major factor for your decision
whether to buy Alto or another car. If you can afford, go for another car and if you are tight on finances, you can settle for Alto.
My mum bought this car about two years ago for no other reasons than that it was cheap and it was wide enough to fit into (unlike a Daihatsu Cuore). Now, before you read this review, be under no pretences that this is a car you will look trendy in. If you are below the age of 40, chances are that this car is your worst nightmare. However, if you're just looking for something reliable and cheap, this is a great car. Why? Because my mum's Alto has traveled 63,268 miles and has never broken down.
This car is made in India, not Japan, and is very old fashioned. The car was off the road for six months!!! waiting for a new bonnet after a smash. Suzuki were not interested in helping speed things up, and the insurance company said this was normal response from Suzuki in their experience. It has only been used as a city run-about and is a complete rattle can. Fuel economy seems to be very poor for a one litre engine, although it is an automatic. You can buy a lot better for the same money.