As a brand new initiative, we at Daily Auto Fix have enjoyed sharing with you news from the auto world, our (now famous!) video of the week and coverage of some of the best motoring events staged throughout our journey so far, however it is now our pleasure to add another informative feature to our site and launch our vehicle reviews!
To this end, Suzuki Queensland offered us the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a car we really hadn’t paid much attention to before but grew to quickly appreciate over the week…the Suzuki Alto.
For those of you who haven’t been watching The Block (Channel Nine weeknights at 7pm if you want to check out the cars)…and those into specs… it has a 3 cylinder 1.0litre engine which produces 50kW of power through its front wheels.
This compact little car also surprisingly has a 5 Star ANCAP rating. This is no doubt partly thanks to 6 Airbags, ABS brakes, and ESP (Electronic Stability Program) which all come standard.
Whilst there is no leather to be found in the car, you are met with super comfortable seats plus a 3.5mm audio jack to plug in your iPod or any music device. All of this has been crammed into a package priced just a touch over $12,000…which is a whole lot of car for what you are paying. Not to mention the Alto comes with a 3 year/100,000km warranty…great peace of mind for buyers.
Initial Impression – 4 out of 5
When I got the call from Suzuki inviting me to test the Alto, I have to admit I was a little worried. The only information I could find about the car kept highlighting a car painted quite a distinct pink. Here I am a 21 year old male, not too small in stature, contemplating arriving at events in what I at the time perceived could be a small pink car!
True to form, as you would already know if you have been keeping up with our Facebook page, yes…I did get a pink Suzuki Alto. But I was soon to be reminded you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover alone!
When I was handed the keys and jumped into the driver’s seat, I was really comfortable and had great visibility all around the vehicle. The interior surprised me with the fullness of features including Air-Conditioning, MP3/WMA CD Player, 3.5mm audio jack and plenty of headroom in the front.
After driving the first few kilometres I knew immediately that this would be a great first car.
Target Market – 3.5 out of 5
The marketing of the Alto suggests it, and it was confirmed to me again when I picked up the car, that despite its broader applications, it has a feminine slant. If you’re a 16-22 year old female this car has been made for you. The design of the headlamps, the subtle pink highlight over the speedometer, seat adjustment limits and choice of paint colour says it all.
During the week I garnered opinions from friends, family and the general public and they all agreed…if the car wasn’t so orientated towards being a feminine car, they wouldn’t be so intimidated to explore it further. I think it is here that Suzuki could have avoided alienating a number of their entry level customers and made it more gender neutral.
Practicality – 5 out of 5
Practicality, no matter the size of the vehicle is important. It has to be able to achieve what it sets out to achieve, in a fashion that isn’t awkward or unnatural for the vehicle. The Alto is there to get you from Point A to Point B, and it does this really well. Whilst it is the smallest four-door car I have driven, I was able to get myself and my three similarly sized mates into the car in pretty comfortable fashion.
Whilst there is no huge boot to rave on about, there is enough room to fit a small amount of shopping or a flat packed office chair which I picked up. You can also fold the rear seats down with a split of 60/40 if you want more space.
Drivability – 4 out of 5
This is what most surprised me. If you have ever driven a small car, when travelling on the highway you don’t feel comfortable at 100km/h or even 110km/h. However, the Alto was solid and able to respond to changing conditions at that speed. No wobbles or moments of terror when a large truck washed past in the opposite direction either.
Fuel economy is where the Alto really stands out. Suzuki states that the latest model is able to achieve 4.8litres per 100km thanks to the VVT (Variable Valve Timing) which was introduced; the introduction was an in-line update bringing down the previous figure of 5.7litres per 100km.
Were we able to achieve their figures? We got very close. When the car was first picked up we managed to only achieve 7.9litres per 100km, but in fairness we were testing the car and weren’t being very economical. When we decided to see how far we could stretch the fuel, we achieved an average of 4.97litres per 100km making just short of 604km with 30litres in the tank. It is certainly great for stretching your dollar and the distance between fuel stops, and we think that we could have probably got an even better result.
Cost – 5 out of 5
One thing which catches a lot of people when purchasing a car is the running costs, especially for first car buyers. You can though rest easy with the Alto as it has won numerous awards for being the most affordable car to own and run in Australia.
NRMA concluded that the Alto GL with manual transmission would only set you back $89.81 per week taking into account the purchase price, depreciation, petrol prices, maintenance and insurance. Considering the Alto’s competitors came in at more than $200, that’s quite a saving, so it’s big points for that.
Conclusion – 4.5 out of 5
The Alto proved itself to be a very capable car, achieving what it wants to be…that is, it is a vehicle that will get you from Point A to Point B comfortably and affordably.
In the week we had it at Daily Auto Fix, yes we wished that it had cruise control or that it came to us in a more masculine colour, but overall it’s features still really impressed us and secure it as a great second hand car alternative that is good to drive and cheap to run.
The safety features are outstanding for the price point of the vehicle and it made us rethink the value which you’re getting from other manufacturers.
So our verdict is…we like the Suzuki Alto.
If you’re looking for a first car, an economical run about or something to fit into tight shopping centre car spaces, we’d strongly recommend that you consider the Suzuki Alto!
Daily Auto Fix would like to acknowledge and thank Suzuki Queensland for providing the vehicle tested and for the opportunity to make an independent review.