Maruti set to launch new 1-litre version of Alto

With competition hotting up in the so-called 'B' segment, Maruti Suzuki will launch next month a refurbished version of Alto, the decade-old compact, entry-level car that has been its bread and butter.

The new Alto K-10 will be powered by a larger 1 litre K-10 engine, which currently powers the Zen Estilo. It will cost slightly more than the existing Alto, which comes for Rs2.3-2.7 lakh. Zen Estilo has an ex-showroom price of Rs3.5 lakh in Delhi.

Placed to compete with new small cars like the Ford Figo, Chevrolet Beat and Nissan Micra, the Alto K10 will sport different exteriors and interiors, and will be 125 mm longer than the vintage version and more spacious than the company's badges in the so-called 'B' segment, Estilo, the old WagonR and A-Star. It will sport 13-inch tubeless tyres, newly designed back door and rear lamps, besides new body side mouldings.

Maruti officially declined to share details about the car, but a spokesman said, ''It will be an affordable, but aspirational product.''

''The new car would be the most fuel-efficient among existing cars in the top-end-entry level compact car segment (A2). The Alto K-10 would give a mileage of 20.2 km per litre,'' company sources said.

Interestingly, Alto had a 1.1-litre variant when it was launched in early 2000. In 2004, the company discontinued this model as it was cannibalising the WagonR, which Maruti was keen on promoting then.