Suzuki Alto Inverness

Few city cars can match the Suzuki Alto for long-lasting appeal. The tiny Japanese machine first appeared in 1979, and this all-new version marks the model’s seventh generation.

Highland Audi
01463 232255
35 Harbour Road
Inverness

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Delmore Cars Ltd
01463 231214
Inverness

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Donald Mackenzie Ltd
01463 235777
62 Seafield Road
Inverness

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Top Car
01463 713880
1 Harbour Road
Inverness

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Highland Car Crushers
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Inverness

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Cattanach Car Dealers
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13 Carsegate Road
Inverness

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John R Weir
01463 238008
Longman Road
Inverness

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Bannerman Seat
01463 222841
44 Harbour Road
Inverness

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Corrie Motors
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52 Harbour Road
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Charter Flights Ltd
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66 Harbour Road
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Suzuki Alto

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Few city cars can match the Suzuki Alto for long-lasting appeal. The tiny Japanese machine first appeared in 1979, and this all-new version marks the model’s seventh generation.

There’s no doubt that the Suzuki looks more distinctive than the Hyundai. Large swept-back headlamps, a gaping grille and sculpted flanks help the Alto stand out from the crowd. And despite its bargain basement price, our range-topping SZ4 model gets big car touches, such as alloy wheels and front foglamps.

Climb aboard, and you’ll find further luxuries, including air-conditioning and electric front windows. Yet even these additions fail to disguise the fact that the cabin has been designed down to a price.

There’s nothing wrong with its solid construction, but the plastics used throughout the interior look and feel cheap. Further evidence of cost cutting is plain to see. For example, the rear windows pop out rather than wind down, the glovebox doesn’t have a lid and the door mirrors are manually adjusted. It’s certainly no match for the quality and equipment found in the Hyundai.

The Alto trails its Korean rival in terms of packaging, too. Occupants in the rear will feel more cramped, while storage space is in short supply – the tiny door pockets can hold nothing more than a couple of CD cases. Opening the tailgate reveals a disappointing 129-litre boot, which is nearly 100 litres smaller than the i10’s.

You’re aware of the Suzuki’s other capacity disadvantage as soon as its 67bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine fires into life. With 10bhp less than the 1.2-litre Hyundai, the Japanese car was left trailing at the test track.

It’s in the mid-range where the Alto suffers the most, recording a 50-70mph time of 23.2 seconds – that’s 6.4 seconds slower than the i10. In the real world the difference is harder to detect, as the Suzuki’s smooth and tuneful engine is happy to be worked hard.

One deficit that can’t be glossed over is the poor braking performance. Despite tipping the scales at only 885kg, the Suzuki took 57.7 metres to stop from 70mph in the dry. Worse still, minor bumps caused the Alto to hop and skip during our test. On the plus side, stability control is standard –it’s a £345 option on the Hyundai.

The Alto displays more composure when cornering. Its steering is well weighted, the skinny tyres provide a surprising amount of grip and its compact dimensions make it easy to place on the road. The ride is surprisingly comfortable, too, particularly around town, where the Alto soaks up bumps and potholes.
At £7,960, the Suzuki is the cheaper car of our duo, and it certainly feels it. Is the price advantage enough to secure it victory?

Suzuki Alto