Suzuki Alto 1.0 GLS

Suzuki quality from the fog lamps...

The new Alto combines chick style and easy urban mobility with great performance in terms of fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions, thereby meeting the lifestyle needs of today's motorists and the pressing global need for environmental compatibility. Plus, it is one of the most fun-to-drive city cars available - a great new example of Suzuki's "Way of Life!" philosophy.
The new Alto is aimed mainly at urban people who want a small car that offers style and enjoyment together with great environmental credentials, and it reflects the ideals of the second phase of Suzuki's world strategy. At the heart of the concept for the new Alto is Suzuki's belief that people should be able to enjoy economical, eco-friendly motoring without sacrificing style, comfort, practicality, or performance... That was Suzuki's blurb.


to the exhaust

My blurb is... Mmm, impressive indeed. When they first dropped off the Suzuki Alto 1.0 GLS I was pleasantly surprised, surprised by the great looks, size and feel of the one-litre Alto. Was expecting a really small car, with no omph, after-all the Alto is only powered a tiny 996cc, three-cylinder mill, but instead was impressed by the internal size of the cab and the power of the little fuel-injected Suzuki engine (then again Suzuki does make some very strong and powerful motorcycle engines). Okay, you have to rev the motor to get the most out of it, but once you've reached cruising speed its quite easy to keep it there. Brakes are excellent. The Suzuki Alto GLS comes standard with safety SRS Air Bags, ABS, EBD, Power assisted Steering, Central Locking, Air-Con, and a good anti-theft Radio/CD Player.


 Suzuki Mags with disc-brakes on the front hub

and drums on the rear

Driving the 996cc triple-cylindered Alto immediately shouts 'quality motorcycle builders'. The motor revs effortlessly and has that distinctive three-cylinder, turbine-smooth pitch about it. If you close your eyes while revving it you would be forgiven for thinking you were revving a larney, six-cylinder, German saloon.


good-looking rear end

nice, compact little car

With a wheel in each corner the Alto handles sure-footed, although the 155/14" tyres are thin, they can handle the meagre 50 KW of power easily. The drive it fun, smooth, predictable and very economical, Driving light-footed I managed to squeeze just on 600 kms out of the small 35 litre fuel tank.

neat clear layout of the simple dash

Looking into the cab, under the bonnet and in the boot, its evident of the build quality - what you'd expect from Suzuki.

I initially thought 120 big ones for the 1-litre Alto was expensive, but after looking at prices of other comparative cars, like the similarly priced and powered three-cylinder, 998cc Daihatsu Charade and Citroen C1, I concluded that this little Suzuki Alto was worth it... one very nice little four-wheeler commuter from Suzuki.


Suzuki Alto 1.0 GLS

Engine 3 cylinders, 996cc, 50kW Transmission Manual Type Hatch

Engine & Gearbox

Accel 0-100

16 Seconds

Bore x Stroke

73.0 x 79.4 mm



Compression Ratio




Engine CC

996 cm3

Engine Design

Transverse Inline

Engine Location


Fuel per 100km

5.7 Litres

Fuel Supply

Multipoint Injection

Fuel Type






Max Speed

145 Kph

Power KW

50 KW @ 6000 rpm

Torque NM

87 Nm @ 4500 rpm

Valves per Cyl



Air Con




Central Locking


Power Steering


Safety & Security







SRS Airbags



Boot Max

345 litres


3500 x 1600 x 1470 mm



Front Track

1405 mm

Gross Weight

1250 Kg

Ground Clearance

150 mm

Kerb Weight

895 Kg

Rear Track

1400 mm

Tank Capacity

35 Litres

Tyre Size



2360 mm

Suspension & Drivetrain

Brakes Front


Brakes Rear


Front Suspension

MacPherson Strut With Coil Spring

Rear Suspension

3-Link Rigid Axle With Coil Spring

Plans valid from Vehicle First Registration

Service Intervals

15000 Km

Warranty Period

36 Months


R119,900 (August 2010)

Words and photos by Kenn Slater


Thanks to Suzuki Auto South Africa for the drive,

the Alto is a cute and very economical little car... lekker!