The Maruti Alto has been India’s largest selling car for 15 consecutive years. It has gone through various avatars and all have set a new benchmark in the entry level segment. For many in India, the Alto has been their first set of 4 wheels and apart from affordability trust has been a major factor. Now Maruti Suzuki has given the hatchback a new look in addition to more safety features and of course an engine that is BS VI compliant nearly a year before the regulations kick in. In addition to the new Alto country’s largest car maker has also given key updates to two of its very popular cars, the Ertiga as well as the Baleno.
A new grille and sharp headlamps bring a fresh appeal to the new Alto, while the hatch also gets a newly designed bumper and side fender. Inside the car gets dual tone interiors and seats. There’s a new dashboard and the new Alto also gets the Smart Play Dock which transforms your smartphone into a touch interface to access calls, music, navigation and more. The Alto also gets a keyless entry feature.
The BS-VI compliant engine means a nearly 25% reduction of Nitrogen Oxides in vehicular emission. To achieve this, the company has upgraded engine hardware and software with technological advancement of exhaust system. The 793cc petrol engine churns out a maximum 47 bhp and gives a peak torque of 69 Nm. Maruti is claiming a high fuel efficiency of 22.05 kmpl on this new engine. In terms of safety the new Alto now comes with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake Force Distribution System (EBD). Other standard safety features in the car include reverse parking sensor, driver airbag, speed alert system and seat belt reminder for both driver and co-driver. Maruti says the Alto also complies with upcoming crash and pedestrian safety regulation.
Prices for the new Alto start at Rs 2.93 lakh (ex-showroom) and go up to Rs 3.71 lakh for the VXi model. Maruti says the price hike is owing to factors such as additional safety features, new technology and design and compliance to BSVI regulations. With these changes, the Alto becomes the first entry level segment car to be compliant with the contemporary safety and environment regulations.
Ertiga’s new Engine
Barely a few months after the launch of its new generation Maruti’s 7 seater offering the Ertiga has seen a big change with the introduction of a bigger, more powerful diesel engine. The MPV that was first launched with a 1.3 litre diesel offering has now 1.5 litre diesel engine called the DDIS 225. Unlike the earlier engine that was supplied by Fiat, this 4-cylinder mill is developed in-house by Maruti Suzuki. Mated with a with 6-speed manual transmission, this engine gives a maximum power of 94 bhp while providing a peak torque of 225 Nm. According to Maruti the high efficiency turbo charger optimizes peak torque generation from a lower RPMs. An impressive figure is the mileage where the company is claiming a fuel efficiency of 24.20 kmpl. Maruti says this new engine on Next Gen Ertiga uses “Dual Mass flywheel” that helps to reduce engine fluctuations. The pendulum type engine mounting adds to superior ride quality leading to refined NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) performance. Prices of Ertiga variants with this new 1.5 litre diesel engine start at Rs 9.86 lakh (ex-showroom) for the VDi variant and top at Rs 11.20 lakh for ZDi+.
Baleno gets Smart Hybrid tech
The newest car in the Maruti Suzuki portfolio to get fuel saving Smart hybrid technology is the updated Baleno. Along with improved fuel efficiency the technology also helps in reducing vehicular emissions. Maruti says the Lithium-ion battery is compact & designed for long service life. A major characteristic of this technology is the Torque assist function where the energy stored in the battery assists during acceleration delivering better acceleration and performance without compromising on fuel efficiency. In Idle start stop function the engine automatically stops when idle and silently starts when the optimal conditions are met. This helps in increasing fuel efficiency. Finally in brake energy regeneration when the vehicle decelerates, the system charges the batteries which in turn assist the other two functions.
The Smart Hybrid technology will be offered in two variants of Baleno, Zeta & Delta priced at Rs 7.25 lakh and Rs 7.86 lakh respectively. Along with this update the existing 1.2 litre petrol engine variants of the Baleno will also be BS VI compliant and available in all variants including CVT. With this update Maruti says the Baleno will now deliver a fuel economy of 23.87 kmpl.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars