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New Suzuki Alto
Cute 3.5-meter, 5-door hatch in Europe very soon

New Suzuki Alto: front static view.

Indian-made new Suzuki Alto in Europe this spring.

APN

10 February 2009.

It was first shown in January last year in India, as the Concept A-Star, at Auto Expo 2008 in New Delhi, before exports to Europe started earlier this year.

Manufactured in India by Maruti Suzuki, yesterday's Concept A-Star will be arriving within the next weeks to European showrooms where the "A-Star" name becomes Suzuki Alto, representing one of a growing number of low-cost offers (the same platform is also the basis of the new Nissan Pixo).

New Suzuki Alto: back static view.

Urban hatchback for four passengers.

The new Suzuki Alto will be the lowest-emitting five-door petrol car in the UK for instance, at 103 g/km CO2, becoming the fourth model in Suzuki line-up to boast CO2 emissions of 120 g/km or below.

Of course, you're not expecting a 400-bhp V8 in a five-metre sedan. The new Suzuki Alto is an A-segment (below the small car category, the B segment, or sub-compact), 3.50metre-long, 5-door hatchback, with a three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine (to the Alto preliminary specifications page).

New Suzuki Alto: steering wheel with instruments view.

 67 bhp from a 3-cylinder 1-litre petrol engine.

Going on sale in the UK next month, the new Alto will be one of the lowest emitting five-door petrol "family" cars on the market. It is the fifth global strategic model in the Suzuki line-up and is powered by a 67 bhp petrol engine producing emissions of just 103 g/km.

Alto will join three other models in the Suzuki range boasting emissions of less than 120 g/km, including the newly-introduced 1.0-litre Splash GLS variant.

With an on the road price starting at GB6,795, a combined fuel consumption of 64.2 mpg (imperial gallons, provisional figures, equivalent to 4.40 litre / 100 km, or 53.5 mpg, US) and 35 annual road tax (VED Band B), the new Alto can be considered a cheap car to own and run.

New Suzuki Alto: front driving picture.

Fuel consumption of 64.2 mpg, imp., or 4.40 litre/ 100 km.

Being of this size also, the new Alto reflects the Suzuki long experience of small cars, with mini-vehicles in Japan and sub-compact, B-segment cars like the Swift all over the world.

As the smallest of Suzuki's world models, Alto aims to achieve annual sales of 60,000 units in Europe.

Although Suzuki calls it a "family" 5-door car, the Alto will mainly transport one or two persons in general, with one or two kids on the rear seat, or occasionally, an adult or two.

Hence, the cabin layout apportions most of the space to the front seats, with storage spaces for small items.

New Suzuki Alto: dashboard and front seats picture.

The cabin layout apportions most of the space to the front seats.

Despite the modest exterior dimensions, luggage volume capacity starts from 129 litres, to 367 litres with the rear seatback folded, up to a maximum volume of 774 litres.

The new Alto has an overall length of 3,500mm, width of 1,600mm, height of 1,470mm and a wheelbase of 2,360mm. Minimum turning diameter is 9.0 metres.

The three cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine (launched in the Splash in some markets) is light and compact with low friction characteristics. Maximum power output is 68PS (67 bhp, 50kW) with maximum torque of 90Nm. Standard transmission is a five-speed manual, but a four-speed automatic transmission with gate-type shifter is available as an option.

The front suspension is of MacPherson strut type and the large, high-rigidity suspension frame is complemented by further strengthening in the strut mounting areas to enhance handling. The rear suspension has a 3-link rigid axle design. Coil springs and dampers were tuned through extensive testing on roads in Europe.

Safety features include six airbags (SRS dual front airbags, SRS dual front-seat side airbags and SRS dual curtain airbags), with an available (optional or standard, to be checked depending on markets and versions) Electronic Stability Program (ESP), which corrects traction problems, including oversteering or understeering risks, through brake application on specific wheels, with engine torque reduction when necessary.

In the event of an accident, the Alto body applies what Suzuki calls as the "Total Effective Control Technology" (TECT) concept, in the form of crushable structures that absorb impact energy, frame members that disperse impact energy away from occupants and a strong cabin structure. Use of high-tensile steel for major body parts helped enhance occupant safety without adding excessive weight to the body.

More market-specific details with versions and prices will be announced very soon.

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