Maruti Suzuki India gave the Alto hatchback a significant makeover earlier this year that brought with it a tweaked design, a BS6-compliant powertrain and structural enhancements to clear the stringent safety norms. In June, the company re-introduced the option of a factory fit CNG kit in the budget offering. And before the end of the year, Maruti has now introduced a new range-topping VXi+ variant at Rs 3.80 lakh, which makes it about Rs 13,000 dearer than the previous top-end VXi trim.
For the additional outlay, buyers get the company’s SmartPlay Studio infotainment system with a 7.0-inch touchscreen that’s compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and gets Bluetooth connectivity (a first in the history of the humble hatch). This should come as a delight to customers on a budget who aspire to own a set of wheels with all the trappings of a modern vehicle.
Except the enhancement of the media interface, there are no other changes to the model. Like the VXi, the new VXi+ variant gets dual tone interiors, a manual air conditioner with heater, power steering, front power windows, remote locking and manually adjustable wing mirrors. Safety is taken care of by ABS, EBD, reverse parking sensors, seatbelt reminders, speed alert system and dual front airbags (passenger airbag is optional on trim levels below the VXi).
Powering the Alto is a BS6-compliant 48hp, 800cc, three-cylinder petrol engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission as standard. Customers can also opt for the CNG-equipped LXi trims which put out 41hp when running on the cleaner fuel.
Maruti Suzuki has reigned over the budget hatchback segment with the Alto for a long time now. However, Renault upset the apple cart with the launch of the Kwid back in 2015. The French offering, which also received a comprehensive facelift recently, found success owing to its rugged looks and a long equipment list. Maruti’s latest move should help the Alto better rival the Kwid 0.8-litre RxT variant – priced at Rs 4.13 lakh – which gets a similar 800cc powertrain setup along with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.