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2009 Suzuki Alto GL
Suzuki Alto Road Test

By Ken Walker

14th December 2009

Mighty mouse is back. Suzuki started with small cars back in the seventies or was it the late sixties (you know, last century) following the growing trend of the then Morris Mini, also with the name Alto. Lo and behold it is here again but better than before (as it should be). And who will ever forget the Suzuki 4 x 4 with the 3 cylinder engine?

On this occasion we have driven the Suzuki Alto GL 5 door hatch. This is the latest entry level offering from the long standing Japanese manufacturer of capable, affordable motor vehicles. 

Fitted with a 1.0 litre 3 cylinder petrol engine with 4 valves per cylinder and naturally a double over head camshaft, this magic little hatch cruises the F3 Freeway with the big boys. And whatís more, does it admirably.

The 5 speed manual gearbox was easily manipulated along the way with short shifts and a very light clutch, not a lot of down changing occurred. But if necessary it was only back 1 cog. This was very impressive
.

Driven through the front wheels the 3 cylinder DOHC power plant develops 50kW at 6,000rpm and 90Nm of torque at 3,400rpm. Yes it does like to rev and needs to be revved as well. Oddly enough, I believe Suzuki manufactures motorcycles with larger engines!

2009 Suzuki Alto GLThe Alto offers fuel efficiency with consumption of just 4.8 litres per 100kms and also gives low emissions of just 113g/km. These numbers are very good and comparable to ever popular, yet expensive hybrid and diesel models.

Small by most standards the diminutive Alto does not take up a lot of space in the family garage. Overall length is just 3500mm, while it is not very wide either at a little under 1700mm. Parking spaces in the city are also easier to find and occupy.

But being a small vehicle does have some other drawbacks, it only has seating positions for a driver and three passengers and those said passengers occupying the rear seat will need to be children under the teenage years. There is not a lot of leg room in the rear if a male driver of average height (175cm) is behind the steering wheel.   The interior is quite functional with trim and fabric designed for a lot of use. It appears that it will be long lasting and take any abuse that youngsters might throw it in the way of spilt drinks and food. The rear seat backrest is split 50/50 to enable an extension to the luggage area.

Electric power windows are fitted to the front doors only with manual winders operating the rear door windows. The exterior mirrors are also adjusted manually; fortunately the driver can easily adjust the left hand mirror also as it is within reach. Air conditioning is a standard inclusion as is the audio system with CD player, MP3 playback function and an auxiliary input socket for iPods and the like. Suzuki has seen fit not to fit an ashtray or cigarette lighter, a move we at Next Car applaud. SRS airbags are fitted, 2 front, 2 side and 2 curtain, a total of 6 making the most of technology for enhanced occupant safety. Entry is by keyless remote control central locking.

We mentioned the package was driven through the front wheels giving mighty mouse a top speed of 155kph and it achieves the 0-100kmh in sub-sub sonic time of 14 seconds.  These figures were supplied by Suzuki and itís doubtful anybody would want to drive this vehicle at 155kph.  

2009 Suzuki Alto GLThe Alto GL has steel wheel rims fitted with 155/65R14 radial ply tyres. A rare feature in current times is a spare wheel the same size as the road wheels but this package has one. How good is that, given the size of the Alto?  With weight and space saving the flavour of the day at present, it is good to see this convenience surviving in the Alto.

Steering is rack and pinion with electronic assistance. Front suspension is MacPherson strut and coil spring, while at the rear end is a 3 link rigid axle with coil springs and this system works very efficiently with good ride quality. The steering is responsive with a positive feel with very good tracking. Front brakes are ventilated discs with drums at the back.

The little Alto is priced very keenly with prices starting at $12,490 before on road costs. Adding automatic transmission adds $2,000 to the price. The higher spec GLX model is priced from $14,490 plus on road costs. Metallic paint adds $475 to the price of either model.

Suzuki produces quality vehicles and certainly the Alto GL Hatch is no exception. We liked the attention to detail with quality control outstanding. This marvel would be ideally suited as a gofor (go for this, go for that) or a students runabout, but not as a long distance tourer.

In our opinion the Suzuki Alto is most definitely worthy of consideration.

 


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