The charm of the previous generation Alto Eco was its thorough lighter weight. However, even if they filled the eco tire with air to increase its rolling resistance, it did not sacrifice its riding comfort.
Although they intentionally removed the title ‘Eco’ from the new Alto, it is just the advanced version of the Alto Eco.
Being 60kg more lightweight, in both its FF/CVT models, compared to the previous generation with, its total height being lowered by 45mm, and increasing its fuel tank capacity from 20-liters up to 27-liter (weight increased by 5kg) are some of its biggest highlights. It achieved an excellent fuel efficiency, 37.0km/liter, similar to the HV Aqua declared as the ‘the world’s best mass-produced, gasoline-powered passenger vehicle with fuel economy’. This was done through by reducing the weight of the R06A engine and making it more compact.
However, its riding comfort is sacrificed to some extent when you pursue gas mileage. Many compact cars with gas mileages are like that.
However, the new Alto uses a newly developed platform. It is surprising because it achieved a balance of riding comfort and maneuverability, surpassing the previous generation which was reputable for its riding comfort. This was achieved by increasing the body rigidity and flexibility by 30% compared to the previous model.
Well, for its styling, they gave it a facelift both in its facade and the rear section; this was in pursuit of a certain characteristic. They aimed for the reinstatement of a light sedan system which gives the impression of inferiority compared to the capacity and height systems represented nowadays by the Spacia and the Wagon R respectively.
Its packaging has also evolved. It became possible to set the front seat further in front and the back seat further behind, due to the compact engine room. By lowering the total height, the overhead has been narrowed by 45mm in the front seat and by 25mm in the rear seat. Moreover, the leg room space in the rear seat is 172cm height, the standard for driver seats. The 140mm of the previous generation increased to 430mm, similar to the second row seats in the current LL class minivan Elgrand. It has a surprising space where adults can cross their legs.
The seating comfort offered in the rear has improved because its seat length has also been extended (ogether with the back seat height). Apart from the grade (F/L) where the headrest is not mounted, I want to declare that this has become a light sedan which offers incomparable comfort when sitting in the rear, incomparable even to an S grade.
The power performance of the engine is the same as that of the previous generation’s. However, as it was lightened by 60kg, there is a natural reason for it to increase in acceleration performance. This time, its transmission is the basic CVT. Also, it has the 5MT typical of Suzuki instead of the previous generation’s 4AT. They also provided a single-clutch semi-AT=AGS used earlier in the Carry and in the F grade base vehicle.
The tire size is basically 145/80R13; meanwhile, for the luxury grade called X, it is 165/55R15 only .
I test drove the FF/CVT luxury X grade.
The development team explained that even if four adults were to ride on it, its acceleration force would still be the equivalent to that of the previous generation’s since it is 60kg lighter; it also keeps a light feel due to this weight. However, honestly, it was not by much. Indeed, the vehicle moves forward quickly. However, it is hard to feel since the engine noise, rotational feel, and acceleration feel have a three-cylinder impression. For example, why the run of the Peugeot 308 feels lighter after being made lighweight, is associated with the smoothness of the machine and the lightness of its rotating parts.
That said, indeed the lightness is produced when re-accelerating from 60km/h. When this feeling of lightness is reduced, it produces noise. It may be because the vibration is cancelled by the running noise. Of course, there is no doubt that it surpasses the previous generation’s CVT vehicle in acceleration performance.
Despie that, its quietness is still excellent. I was in a state where I could only hear the road noise while cruising at a speed of 60km/h.
As a result of the lowered height and center of gravity, its footwork has also improved. Changes in the posture were very minimal. The level of stability when gradually turning corners show off its good nature. Regarding the power steering, Suzuki is proud of its type-changeable steering force that was inherited from the Swift. However, there were impressions like, “isn’t it a little heavy?” in sluggish road situations.
However, its lightness was not what impressed me the most.
Rather, it was its riding comfort. The air pressure of the 15-inch tires was appropriate at 240kPa. Moreover, the body and vibration were steady, the sound was low and bumpy, and the unpleasant shock were mostly not felt even when going over the zebra zone, road’s cat’s-eye and other different road levels. It is far more comfortable than a poor eco-special compact car.
The actual fuel economy in the city test driving was around 25km/liter (see photo). I can expect that it can go further if it were in the suburbs. I also heard that its actual fuel consumption is equivalent to the Aqua. In line with the Aqua and among the vehicles in the world, it is a vehicle that has the possibility of lessening the frequency of going to gasoline stations (since fuel tank was also increased). Therefore, it is okay to say that this reflects yet another of its achievements as a pure gasoline vehicle and utility vehicle.
â– Five Star Rating
Naoki Aoyama| Motor Journalist/ Dock Life Journalist
He became a freelance motor journalist after working as an editor for an automotive magazine. He started as a writer, a specialist for automotive magazines, then general news magazines and websites. He also worked on publications concerning pets (dogs) and overseas travel, pets and drive-related television programs as well as events. He is currently, expanding his career as a producer for lifestyle shows involving dogs.
(Translated by Natassia Jeronne D. Martinez)