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The Top Gear car review: Suzuki Alto

£7,144£10,294
2/10
Overall verdict

For: 

Er, it's cheap. And we can't think of much else

Against: 

Er, it's not as cheap as the Nissan Pixo
There are other, better ways of getting from A to B. Like walking.

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Our choice

Suzuki

1.0 SZ3 5dr

£8,344
N/A
66mpg
13.50s
68bhp
99g/km

What we say: 

If this rather bland car has any USP, it's that you can't fit four adults in it

What is it?

Suzuki has spotted a not-quite-wide-enough gap in its line-up between the Swift and Splash and filled it with this. A Tata Nano for people who value their legs.

Driving

It’s best to remember at this point that the Alto is a cheap, urban runabout and not a hot hatch. With that in mind, the sloppy steering, excess body roll and a tendency to crash over pot holes become less of a sin. It does have plenty of grip so it’s not all bad.

The Alto comes with a one-litre petrol engine producing 67bhp. It’s hardly a ball of fire, taking 13.5 seconds to reach 62mph. That feels just about perky enough through town, but it does need to be driven quite hard to get the most out of it, thus provoking the three-cylinder into becoming loud and thrashy. The five-speed manual is slick, or there’s the option of an automatic transmission.

On the inside

At 350cm in length, the Alto was never going to be palatial for rear leg room. Adults will find head room lacking as well, but it’s no worse than you’d find in budget rivals.

The boot is on the titchy side even for a city car; at 129 litres that’s 100 less than the Hyundai i10’s.

Owning

The Alto has excellent fuel figures on paper - over 60mpg - but that tails away quickly if you over-work the little engine. And while the C02 figure for the manual of 103g/km is excellent, putting it in VED Band B (£35), it’s just three grams away from Band A, which would have been free.

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
1.0 SZ 5dr
13.5s 99g/km 65.7 68 £7,144
The cheapest
1.0 SZ 5dr
13.5s 99g/km 65.7 68 £7,144
The greenest
1.0 SZ 5dr
13.5s 99g/km 65.7 68 £7,144