Planning to buy a car but have a tight budget?
Don’t worry! You can still get a used car in decent condition and at a reasonable price. One such car option is the Maruti Suzuki Alto.
Launched way back in 2001, as a suitable replacement for the classic Maruti 800 model, Maruti Suzuki Alto is still among the highest-selling entry-level car models in the country today.
How does the Alto perform in the used car segment? Rather good. With over 2.9 crore cars sold in the past 19 years, the Maruti Alto is among the most widely-known and recognizable cars on Indian roads. Thanks to its continued sales and good second-sale value, you can always find a used Alto from as low as Rs. 50,000/- to a few lakhs.
So, should you go for a used Maruti Suzuki Alto? Here are some used car buying tips that you should consider before getting your Alto.
Following its initial launch in 2001. Alto was available in a single model—with the choice of two engines with the power of 795cc and 1060cc. Later, in 2010, Maruti Suzuki launched its first generation of the Alto K10 model—which had a completely new design and Suzuki’s K-series 1.0 liter petrol engine for enhanced performance. For the first time, Alto was available with the option of an automatic gearbox and also the CNG variant of the hatchback made its appearance around the same time.
The second generation of the Alto K10 launched in 2014 was also immensely popular in the Indian market. While the Alto K10 has now been withdrawn from production, the latest Alto 800 BS6 model, which was launched in July 2019, has enhanced features, such as a 796cc engine, manual transmission, ABS, rear parking sensors, and driver-side airbag.
When it comes to a used Maruti Suzuki Alto car, what type of car users go for this brand? If you are looking for an affordable car or hone your driving skills, then Alto is a good fit.
The used Maruti Alto car is also a good buy if you already own a car—and are looking for a second car that can be driven by your 18-year old teenager or your wife or sister for their daily commutes. Another category of buyers is those who have been riding a two-wheeler for many years—and are looking to upgrade to a small and convenient car that is easy to run and maintain.
While the Alto 800 is not really meant for those looking for high driving power and performance, the Alto K10 can pack in a punch for such car users—thanks to its improved engine capability and ergonomic design.
What is it you will like—or will not like—about the Maruti Suzuki Alto car? For that, you need to know the pros and cons of the car. Let us start with the pros:
A completely hassle-free car is probably what makes the Maruti Alto so popular on Indian roads. A low, upfront cost—along with low operating and servicing costs—are among its many pros.
In short, even if you find a second-use Alto model, which is not in good shape, it will not cost you much to fix the problems—thanks to the high supply and easy availability of spare parts around the country.
Easy steering and manoeuvrability experience are another advantage that the Maruti Alto offers—thus making it suitable for first-time car users in cities and rural areas. Its compact and ergonomic design, along with easy steering and small turning radius, makes the Alto ideal for heavy city traffic.
On the other hand, for its rural customers, Alto offers long life and durability—along with prolonged running without servicing (although we would not recommend that).
The high resale value, which is a real advantage for buyers looking for a car for a short period—or are soon planning to upgrade to a larger car.
In short, even if you do not get a good price deal on a used Alto car, you are assured of a decent resale value if and when you plan to sell it.
The Maruti brand assurance is among the major pros for Alto cars. Maruti’s wide network of service centers around the country—along with low-cost and availability of its spare parts—makes its cars popular among Indians looking for a reliable car for their daily use.
These are among the major pros of the Maruti Alto car. Next, let us look at a few cons or disadvantages of a second-use Alto car:
If you are looking for a comfortable car with plenty of leg space, then the Maruti Alto (old or new) will disappoint you. Inadequate leg and boot space are an inconvenience, particularly if you love to travel long—or have co-passengers with tall legs or ample body proportions.
Constant changing of gears—particularly in city traffic—can be a hassle if you have another passenger sitting next to you on the front seat.
Lack of safety and other modern features are another disadvantage for the Maruti Alto as compared to the latest car models from Maruti or other manufacturers. While the newer Alto models meet safety requirements like ABS locking, airbags, and reverse parking sensors, some of the same features are lacking in the older models.
In recent years, Maruti Alto has faced tough competition in the small car segment, with competitors offering a better car design and modern interiors—at a competitive price.
Thanks to its dominance in the Indian small car segment, you will still find many Maruti Alto 800 and K10 models that are up for resale. However, that does not mean you should opt for the first used Alto that comes your way.
Be it the Alto or any other used car model, opt for a car that has good mileage and has clocked a smaller number of kilometres—not more than 50,000 kms—on its odometer. Avoid used cars that have already clocked more than 75,000 kms and are still demanding a higher price tag. Another good buy would be a Maruti Alto variant with a 1- (or 1.1-) liter engine.
Despite their good overall condition and running, used cars can still have some typical problems that you should be aware of. Here is what you need to check in a used Maruti Alto model before purchase:
Defective door latches
This problem has been common in the second generation of Maruti Alto models launched in 2014. Check for this problem on the right-side doors—that can prevent the door from proper closing or may need to be closed many times.
Maruti Alto is also prone to some engine knocking issues—which is typically caused due to low fuel quality or adulterated fuel. This is something that you should look out for if you are purchasing your used Alto car from a remote location in India.
In addition to low fuel quality, engine knocking can also be caused by faulty spark plugs or ignition timing. Another engine-related problem is a frequent misfiring of the car engines—that you may notice at high RPM speeds. Engine misfiring is mainly caused due to engine clogging that needs to be thoroughly cleaned up.
Neutral gear shifting
This is another problem that you need to check if you are buying the newer generation of Alto K10 with AMT gearboxes. Caused by a programming error in the AMT control panel, neutral gear shifting can cause heating in your clutch.
Even if you see some of these issues in your used car, fixing them is not expensive and can be done at any authorized Maruti service centre or workshop. Additionally, if you can spend an extra 20,000/-, get your car suspension overhauled—all for a comfortable ride ahead.
Thanks to the large number of Maruti Alto models running on Indian roads, it is easy to find the second-use model of your choice. On our part, we would recommend you go for an Alto 800 that has not run for more than 40,000 kms and is around two to three years old.
Overall, our best advice would be to stick to a used Alto model that has been:
Serviced regularly at Maruti authorized service stations.
Used only for non-commercial purposes.
If you have a higher budget of around 1.75 lakhs, we recommend you select the Alto 800 Lxi model that is around a year old—and is available at half the cost of a new car. A one-year-old model can also serve you for a more significant number of years and will be fitted with the latest car amenities.