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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Review: Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 AMT - World cheapest gearless car

Introduction

The new K10 AMT
In India, one name that resonates when it comes to cars is Maruti Suzuki which has created a niche for itself in minds of every Indian for their affordability & excellent service network and lastly the value for money and not to forget the resale value too.  Amongst the various model Maruti 800 & its successor Alto had sold over 2.6 million units in India since its introduction 14 years ago. Alto has been unbeaten player in the entry-level car segment in India till date. Maruti is launching a new avatar called all-new Alto K10 which is going to be first automatic (gearless) car at entry segment. 




Also Read: Review of new Maruti Suzuki Celerio Diesel  2015 Edition



Getting to know about new Alto K10 

The new K10 will adapts Alto 800’s body-frame, redesigned headlights & chrome grille which is smaller compared to its predecessor. As alluded about one stark difference will be this version will come in "Gearless" mode just like the Celereo.


Build & Quality

Let’s get into the basics of car like the exteriors, interiors and engine to understand the overall build and quality.

Exterior
The new Alto is complete makeover of the outgoing model. To be frank we did not find the new looks to be really charming, Hyundai beats all when it comes to exterior looks of the car. The front comes with a small grille edged by swept-back headlamps with chrome inserts which makes it look wider than the old Alto. The sides and the rear looks quite similar to that of the Alto 800. There is also a large tail-lamps along with the outside rear-view mirrors (ORVMs) which is a new welcoming addition.
The Plush Dashboard
Interior
Let’s divert our attention to vital stats of the car. It is 75 mm shorter in length, but intelligent designers kept the cabin uncompromised. Also the new Alto K10 is taller and wider, gives enough headroom even to tall incumbents using this car. 

The revamped dashboard gives a more premium look, and credits goes to the new upholstery and the plush silver inserts with dual-tone dash. Literally everything underwent a pleasant change be it the steering wheel or the audio buttons, door handles or the armrest etc.

One good thing about this car is that there are several utility cubbyholes. However there is one short coming, which is a lack of enough legroom and hence having five adults fit easily is going to be painful. The top variant comes with a driver side airbag, front power windows, integrated audio system, internally-adjustable ORVMs, keyless entry, gear shift indicator, fog lamps and more.

Engine
The Alto K10 is comes with an all-aluminum 1.0-litre K-Next petrol engine. The drive-by-wire technology generates a power upto 67 bhp and a torque of 90 Nm. The engine is quite peppy & upbeat which gives a fuel economy of a 24.07 kmpl. The gear-shifts in the manual model are even, steering is smooth & soft with the ventilated disc brakes at the front and drums at the rear which adds to overall appeal
The rear of new K10
Auto Gear Shift
This is the best feature of this new Alto K10 i.e. it is going to be the world’s cheapest ‘automatic’ car which will come with Auto Gear Shift technology which is not an auto transmission as the name suggests but a manual transmission that has been robotised—it uses a regular manual gearbox and a clutch (no more clutch pedal), but behaves like an automatic, changing gears with the help of a ECU and actuators (the robotic arm). There is no torque convertor unlike a traditional automatic car. Now that’s a high end feel in entry level segment.

The gear-lever unit, placed between the front seats, resembling like a traditional automatic transmission unit. It comes with three slots—‘R’ for reverse, ‘N’ for neutral, ‘D’ for drive. At the left there is one slot marked ‘M’ for manual. And in the ‘M’ mode there are options of ‘+’ to upshift and ‘-’ to downshift gears.

Acceleration
Prior starting the engine, kindly check if the gear lever is in the ‘N’ mode and the brake pedal is pressed.
Once the engine starts, put the gear lever in the ‘D’ mode and release the brake. The car will start moving, but slowly. Step on the accelerator gradually and the car will pick up speed. Based on how much you press the accelerator, the car will move to a higher gear, the highest being fifth. Similar to the traditional automatic transmission unit, the Auto Gear Shift comes with the manual mode—put the gear lever in the ‘M’ mode and then shift gears by pushing the lever to either ‘+’ or ‘-’ modes.

Deceleration
When the brake is applied it reduces the speed and the gears downshift automatically until the car comes to a stop. Then you need to shift the lever to the ‘N’ mode, switch off the engine and engage the parking brake. Unlike traditional automatics, the Auto Gear Shift does not have a ‘P’ mode—which indicates ‘parking’


Cheat-Sheet

3cyl, 998cc, 67bhp, 90Nm, 5A, Boot: 177l, fuel tank: 35 litres, 24.7kpl (claimed)

Also Read - 2016 Review of Maruti Suzuki Ignis



General Observation & Verdict

The new Alto’s with Auto Gear Shift technology, fuel-efficiency and refreshed look is going to rule this segment for sure. Suzuki loyalists will definitely want to try piece of it especially those who are planning to buy car for the first time. The expected price of AT version should be in between INR 3.4 Lacs to INR 4 Lacs ( Under $6,500) can be a great preposition for its success.

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