Suzuki Alto Works

Suzuki Alto Works Review: “This is a kei sports car” by Takahito Nakamura

When the Alto Turbo RS had its debut, I admired its exhilarating performance and affordable price.
However, it only had a 5AGS transmission, so the Alto Works was created.

It can be said that it was already planned ahead, but they say that the development Alto Works began right after the Alto Turbo RS had its debut.
Suzuki also guaranteed that the Alto Works would be equipped with the AGS transmission, so drivers who are not good at driving manually can still follow, just as expected when I started the car. As of now, 90% of was done driving manually.

Even so, it did a fantastic job. In other words, they did not just simply equip manual mode to the Turbo RS. Its every part, such as its engine, suspension, transmission, handling and the like, were improved, so it has properly adopted the Works settings. First, its engine. Numerically, its maximum torque was only higher than the Turbo RS by 2Nm from 98Nm, making it currently at 100Nm. However, the response of its accelerator is totally different from that of the Turbo RS.

Next, its suspension system. It has been equipped with wider wheel rims and KYB dampers that were exclusively tuned. As for its steering operation, it has a more linear performance and lesser rolling speed.

Its transmission, which is its highlighted part, was set at 5MT, which has a complete 1:4-speed close ratio with a short stroke exclusive for the Alto Works. In order to enhance its manual moderation, its second gear was changed from a single cone synchronizer to a double cone synchronizer. On the other hand, 10% of it is performed by the exclusively tuned AGS system; thus, it is said that it performs a more direct acceleration.

Other exclusive parts of the Alto Works include the Recaro full bucket seats. Compared to the Turbo RS, the height of its side support is greatly improved, so you can enjoy driving as if your whole body was being wrapped up.

After listening to the presentation, I finally test drove this car. Its transmission certainly has a short stroke, and if you try to press your thumb down a bit, it fits into first gear. Hereafter, when you turn your wrist, you can shift brilliantly.

Above anything else, I was surprised by its sharp response. When I stepped further on the accelerator while shifting up, its rev counter instantly reached its limit. Even when merging in the highway, it exceeded the response and speed of the Ignis, which I also test drove at the same period. Since it has close-ratio gears, I instantly shifted to 5th gear without the rotation dropping down. Even so, I still wanted to keep accelerating even more, so I unconsciously searched for its 6th gear.

When I asked if the 5th gear is a direct gear, the engineer said that it was. However, when I went back to check its specifications, the ratio of the 5th gear was 0.897, making it an overdrive ratio. Please give accurate information. But then, this overdrive ratio somehow feels good with 0.7 on its front and rear gears, even though it’s not totally enough.

As for driving at high speed towards winding roads. Its electric power steering has been exclusively tuned up, so it turns sharply. That setting was also brought about by the wider size of its wheel rims, from 4.5J to 5J. It rolls instantly at once, but its form doesn’t change. Anyway, its overall behavior is sharper and more dynamic than the Turbo RS. The Honda S660 comes into my mind when I think about this kind of sharpness. Because of that, it’s not an exaggeration if I say that the Alto Works is completely a kei sports car.

However, even if I want to loosen it up a little and drive comfortably, its firm wheels wouldn’t let me do so. To be honest, this model often made me nervous when driving it. Nevertheless, it felt comfortable to sit on the Recaro seats, and even though I didn’t feel at ease, it didn’t mean that it was uncomfortable either. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a footrest. It can’t be equipped even just as an accessory, so that’s somewhat of a failure. It would be great to really have it equipped with a footrest. Another thing is that its Recaro seats were set at a higher position. It has a great field of vision but for a sporty model like this, I think it would have a greater ambiance if its seats were at a lower position. Anyhow, its price is 200,000 yen higher than the Turbo RS, but it is reasonable.

â–  5 Star Rating
Packaging: ★★★★
Interior / Comfort: ★★★★
Power Source: ★★★★★
Footwork: ★★★★★
Recommendation: ★★★★★

Takahito Nakamura | AJAJ Member
Born in 1952. He loves cars that adorned the pages of car magazines, even at the young age of four. He started working part time at a Super Car shop. He also has experience being an apprentice mechanic for Nova Engineering. After that, he went to Germany to continue his pursuit of knowledge about cars. He entered the journalism industry in 1977, and has been a fixture in it for the last 36 years. He continues to be active as a freelance journalist.

(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)