The Alto was crash tested in 2009 under Euro NCAP's more stringent criteria. This is one overall rating (from one to five stars) that covers adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection and a new area of assessment - safety assist. It only managed a three-star rating, which is far from impressive.
According to the crash experts the score was limited by its performance in adult occupant protection and child protection.
Standard Suzuki Alto Safety equipment is reasonable for a car of this size, with dual front and side airbags, ABS and Isofix child seat anchor points. The top spec SZ4 gets a little more in the way of safety kit with curtain airbags and an electronic stability programme, which helps to bring the car under control in the event of a skid.
The Alto’s boot is an odd shape and size. There’s a high sill, which items have to be loaded over, plus there’s not much depth (or height with the parcel shelf in place) to the load area.
The seats do split 50/50 on the top-spec SZ4 (other models have a folding rear bench) and fold almost flat, increasing its practicality, but due to the shape of the rear hatch it is awkward to load.
Elsewhere in the cabin, there are a number of cubbies – one in the centre console is large enough to stack CDs, while the shelf under the stereo is the right size and shape to hold an MP3 player or – as it’s padded with a non-slip material – to hold coins for parking.
One omission is a glovebox. It’s replaced with a storage bin that’s big enough to hold six 500ml bottles.