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Suzuki Alto Hatchback review

2009 - 2014 (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 53.0

At a glance

Price new £7,199 - £10,349
Used prices £954 - £4,948
Road tax cost £0 - £160
Insurance group 4
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Fuel economy Not tested to latest standards
Range 423 - 500 miles
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types


Pros & cons

  • Cheap to buy
  • Cost-effective to own
  • Robustly built
  • Lacks charm
  • Boot isn't particularly practical
  • Three-star Euro NCAP safety rating

Written by Dan Harrison Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019


The Suzuki Alto is a small car that’s designed to cut costs to the bone. It’s cheap to buy and even cheaper to run.

Those on a tight budget will appreciate its exceptional fuel economy, low insurance costs (it’s in group four) and cheap road tax.

The Alto also feels robustly built, while the interior boasts a reasonable level of equipment. What it does lack, however, is the ‘fun factor’ that you get with so many other small cars. The Citroen C1/Peugeot 107/Toyota Aygo are cheap, but very cheerful, while slightly more expensive options like the Ford Ka are in a different league. The Alto is built to a budget – and feels like it.

Keep it simple

The Suzuki Alto made its appearance in March 2009 and immediately impressed with its low running costs and equally low pricing. Built in India, the Alto offers a five-door city car for those not so concerned with enjoying every last gadget.

The Alto does without wind-down rear windows, preferring ‘pop-out’ windows, and even the rear parcel shelf has to be lifted manually when you open the boot, though this also means you have to remember to lower it too – usually when you’ve just got into the driver’s seat and noticed the shelf is still raised and blocking vision in the rear view mirror.

Straightforward model range

In keeping with its simple approach to the Alto, Suzuki has made the model range easy to understand with four models. The SZ provides the entry point to Alto ownership at just over £7000, while the SZ3 adds a few luxuries such as air conditioning. Then the SZ4 offers the top of the range experience with ESP and a split/fold rear seat as standard.

The SZ4 is also available with a four-speed automatic gearbox in place of the usual five-speed manual transmission, but every Alto uses the same 1.0-litre petrol engine. With the manual gearbox, the Alto’s engine delivers strong 65.7mpg average economy and 99g/km carbon dioxide emissions, but the auto pushes emissions up to 118g/km and economy down to 55.4mpg to make the manual gearbox the one to have.

To find out whether this the car for you, read on for our Suzuki Alto review.