Positive steering and predictable handling add to the fun element, should the mood take you.
The Suzuki Alto SZ3 also has manual air-conditioning and pollen filter and apart from that, it has the same features as the base model, the SZ2.
Another similarity is that they all house a 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder, petrol engine. Boring it is not, even though it produces just 68PS at 6,000rpm and 90Nm of torque at 3,400rpm. It is surprisingly quiet and the only time the engine attracts attention is when the driver is getting used to the high clutch bite-point. The manual gearbox is a 5-speed and there is a 4-speed automatic transmission available.
I have long been a fan of small, 3-cylinder engines; their whizziness never fails to surprise. For sure, with a top speed of 96mph and a 0-62mph time of 13.5 seconds, it doesn't produce blistering pace but the willingness is far more fun.
Clearly built for town use, the Suzuki Alto can and does hold its own on motorways and the only slight concern comes from sidewinds in exposed areas. That aside, the Suzuki Alto seems just as happy with four adults on board and offers a very pleasant drive.
The same can be said of minor roads and country lanes, where the Suzuki Alto continues to surprise with its sporty attitude and agility. Positive steering and predictable handling add to the fun element, should the mood take you.
Small engines usually provide excellent fuel consumption figures and the Suzuki Alto is no different. On the urban cycle, the manual version returns 51.4mpg, the extra-urban is 74.3mpg and the combined is 64.2mpg with emissions of just 103g/km. The combined for the automatic works out at 54.3mpg and the emissions are just outside VED Band B, at 122g/km.
There are plenty of city-cars on the market - some, like the Citroen C1, are more expensive and some, such as the Kia Picanto, are cheaper. In terms of equipment and driveability, the Hyundai i10 is close, but for me, the pick of the bunch has to be the Suzuki Alto.29 July 2009
Suzuki Alto Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Suzuki Alta SZ4|
|Colour||Fortune Rose Pearl Metallic|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||13.5 seconds|
|Top Speed||96 mph|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||74.3 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3 years / 60000 miles|
|Price (when tested on the 29/07/09)||£7,960|