Most of the motoring reviewers can the three cylinder, 1000cc engine, but I bought the car for price and I’m impressed. It does struggle with four people on board, but if I wanted a people mover I would have bought something that weighed more than 800kg and is longer than the Alto’s tiny 2.5 metres.
I regularly get under 5l/110km fuel efficiency, but it is very sensitive to my lead foot. If I drive at 100km an hour consistently, it runs at about 4.8, but sitting on 130km/h with occasional bursts of speed it starts to nudge 5.5. If you race, rather than potter around town, it really starts to suck on the juice. I occasionally crack 6 when I am zipping in and out of the traffic a lot.
The car has also copped a lot of flack for its miniscule boot. I mostly drive around with the back seats down. That makes it very roomy. In the eighteen months I have owned my Maruti, I have moved house twice, carrying everything from two drawer filing cabinets to rolled up futons in the little hatch back with the back seats down.
A couple of times I have had to move the front seat forward and lean the back forward as much as possible and once, I have had to leave the hatchback open when I was carrying some 2.7 metre timbers which we recovered from the Brisbane flood.
The reviewers who dislike the Maruti mostly seem to forget they are talking about a car that is the cheapest on the market and the cheapest to run. They compare it unfavourably with cars that cost two to four thousand dollars more, and argue that it should really carry three people in the back seat, have a larger boot, or wider wheels.
Why? I simply cannot imagine that anyone buying a car on price, as I did, is going to be the least interested in those sort of useless extras, when the obviously bump the price up. The Alto is a brilliant compromise on features, to keep the price down. I would have gone even more basic if it was within the law, I don’t care about electric windows, rear windscreen wipers or six airbags, though I’m perfectly happy to take advantage of them when they are provided.
I certainly do not suffer any disappointment over having no lid on my glove box, a small boot that will only fit my supermarket shopping and an overnight bag, or a car that goes slowly up hills when it is carrying four people.
That’s my Maruti.
One review that is reasonably positive and has attracted lots of feedback is The Motor Report’s