The Peppy Pot Maruti Alto K10 Comes Home


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The story so far
Back in December 2015 I wanted to buy a new car. Then I had mentioned somewhere on this forum that I hoped to write an ownership review in 2016. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Yet, I managed to get delivery of the car on December 31, 2016 and now here I am, writing my first TAI ownership review barely days after 2016 ended. Ha ha!

I had been driving an Alto 800 since February 2013. Before that I had been driving the first-generation i10 Sportz in 2008 which I sold to a cousin when I bought the Alto 800. The reason was he wanted a car but tight on budget. It was good riddance for me.

The Alto 800 served me quite well -- parking has always been a big concern at home and office. But in Delhi summer I felt the need to buy a car with a bigger engine when, after turning on the AC, I could barely make any uphill climb on a flyover without losing my dignity or getting foot muscle pain. The 800 was a dud whenever the AC was running. And 80% of the time in a year the sun is always screwing up people in Delhi. Those two months of winter was when I really enjoyed the 800 petrol grunt when driven without any passenger and the AC turned off. I shudder to think of the plight of people who bought the Kwid 800 when the proven Maruti 800 engine itself was so inadequate with today's needs.

The research
Tata Tiago (petrol)
Honda Brio
Kwid 1.0

Budget
(Earlier)
Rs 6 lakh
(Reality)
Rs 5 lakh (on road)
No finance.

The test drive (note: My 800 experience is the baseline that I used to judge my test drive, hence all cars that I drove that's above 800cc were good. The deciding factor then was the budget and other minor, shiny stuff)

Tiago
Great cabin, good engine performance, great looks, but I wanted the top end ZX which overshot my budget. In my next buy four years down the line I will seriously consider a Tata car.

Brio
Peppy engine, comfortable driver's seat, Honda 'reliability', but they hiked the prices in the facelift and I got screwed. I was almost getting the older V MT with ABS (but no airbags) for OTR Delhi Rs 5.5 lakh. But they killed the V MT and kept only VX MT at over 6 lakh. The S MT without ABS and airbag was at Rs 6 lakh, which anyway was beyond my budget. I could have easily got Tiago XZ in that with all the safety features, but Tiago was already ruled out if I have to spend on cash. My plan was if I have to stretch my budget on cash I wanted Brio, not Tiago. So, farewell Brio. But Brio is something that I will miss everyday. Next time baby! (I did get an offer for the pre-facelift VX MT. On closer inspection at Samara, Lajpat Nagar, the VIN showed it was July-made and the vehicle clearly did not look new. I followed my gut feeling and declined, although I was almost about to get it.)

Kwid 1.0
Nice cabin for the price, but I'm not very fond of touchscreen ICE. I like the good old tactile buttons and knobs. Looks good too from the outside. The boot space is to die for at this price. However, the SUV-ish looks did not get me sold. It's after all a small hatch. I can't force myself to pretend otherwise. The 1.0 engine, however, when compared to the K10 test drive, was not at all exciting. It was slow to respond to throttle input and sounded coarse compared to the K10. Also, I have a major parking issue at my place. There are three cars squeezed into a small space blocked by a neighbour's XUV 500. I had to choose a hatch with a smaller footprint. I really wanted to Kwid 1.0 but gut feeling was three weeks down the line I would struggle to find parking space at home and office. If I could ever afford a big car I wanted to buy a big car -- not a fake big car. So I let it pass. Someday then when I have enough jingles in my pocket.

Alto K10 (manual)
It fits in the parking space at home and office. The engine was peppy enough for a single me even with the AC on. Driver's seat was firm and comfortably. Plus, I could afford it with cash right out of the pocket. Ride above 50 kmph till 80 kmph was surprisingly smooth as a four-pot engine. Got it for Rs 3.60 lakh OTR after exchange of Alto 800 (25,000 km run, 2013 March model, in top shape, True Value for Rs 1.8 lakh). Got December cash discount of Rs 25,000 and exchange bonus of Rs 10,000. Lastly, damn corporate discount of Rs 5,000. It was like winning a lottery.

Buying experience
I went to Bagga Link Maruti in Defence Colony, from where I got the Alto 800 (also by cash) back in February 2013. I looked for the same salesperson, who was a nice fellow. But he had gone to Toyota. I somehow ran into the same accessories guy, who recently got promoted and got the entire accessories shop floor to himself. Some greetings later, he referred me personally to a saleswoman who was apparently a much nicer person than the average salesmen there.

It turned out true. The rest of the guys were busy and not giving bhao since it was December and the crowd was quite big. And Alto K10 was a small fry anyway. But this girl assigned to me helped me in every possible way, even calling me at 9.30 pm from her home to give update about the car delivery and paperwork when I SMSed her.

I took the test drive, paid by cheque and a week later, the white Alto K10 VXi came. Went for PDI to the Bagga stockyard a day before delivery. VIN was December 2016, checked the tyre date (got JK Tyres), etc. Zero-dep insurance was from Bajaj for Rs 15,000.

k10.jpg

Paid accessories
1) Fog lamp
2) LED sill guard
3) Gear lock
4) Remote central locking and alarm (Nippon, Alto VXi comes default with key central locking)
5) Philips Xtreme Vision headlights
6) Body side moulding

Free kit
1) Floor mat (hard fabric type with Velcro)
2) Perfume (it had a horrible chemical smell, I threw it away and got an organic dry leaf packet instead)
3) Mud guards

Miscellaneous note
1) Chose white colour because I was bored with the Granite Grey Alto 800 before. Also, I drive on Ring Road late at night after work and there are lots of truck on this road. White may be more visible to the sleepy drivers.
2) Safety in Alto K10 is zero (except for driver side airbag)
3) I can't go for car finance as I have a home loan running and marriage might happen year-end.

I named the car Roadrunner after my handle on TAI :-)

The cabin is much better than Alto 800. The plastics are good for the price, especially the upper dashboard portion, but nothing that merits a genuine praise. In fact while fixing a gear lock the plastic broke by an inch near the gear lock keyhole. The steering is a wee bit heavy, which I like. But it's a pain while tight parking and turning. I do feel something is wrong with the servo, and have kept a mental note to get it checked in the first service. There's a heavy steering and an abnormally heavy steering -- mine is the latter one. The steering has no active return function, and there's some play in the centre.

The ICE looks nice but the sound quality is poor. The doors vibrate at even medium volume. I wanted to add two rear parcel tray speakers and keep the stock ICE, but the accessories guy said it's not possible. Is this true? If I want total four speakers I will have to buy a new ICE head unit with four speakers.

In idle the three-pot shakes the car, though not as violently as in Alto 800 with AC on. I can live with this for the money I paid. You get what you pay for, right. That said, it's in the third and fourth gears between 60 kmph and 80 kmph that this aam aadmi rocket shows its true face -- the car is blazing fast. It can easily reach above 100 kmph (which I have not tried) but it won't be fun; 80 kmph is the best cruising speed for this pocket rocket.

A week after I got the car I got MGA 13 inch alloys installed; did not upgrade the stock tyres which were JK Tornado. The alloys look plain but not that bad also. They go well with the pocket rocket. The accessories guy said it's probably Enkei make, which I also believe as Enkei on its website has listed Maruti as one of their clients.

On the overall scale I'm quite happy with the car. It ticked all the needs on what I expected from a car at this point of time. I definitely wanted to ride a premium four-pot hatch, but the cost did not justify my running and expenses for now.

Pros
1) Small footprint, easy to park, easy to ride in day-to-day heavy traffic
2) Peppy 1-litre engine, decent power for self-drive in city, does not strain the leg
3) Does not gulp large quantity of fuel
4) Maruti service network

Cons
1) Zero safety
2) Vibration
3) Crammed rear seat
4) Not stable on high speed
5) Subjective: Somehow I felt from using two Maruti cars by now that they tend to develop rattles fairly early in their life. Two weeks down the line this time I can hear disco music from the dashboard, the same happened with Alto 800 just after I bought it four years ago.

Next up: Will buy a dash cam. Any advice would be appreciated. I want a discreet cam. Saw a couple of Transcend but they have chrome rings near the lens and will attract thieves and unnecessary attention.

PS: Will post more photos soon.
 
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Re: The peppy pot Alto K10 comes home

Congrats on the peppy pot !
Wish you many happy & Safe miles with this little boy.
Awaiting more pics.
Do post about accessories also.
 
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Beep Beep Roadrunner,

Congrats on your new car. Nice to notice that you are keen on safety. Knowing the car's weakness will help you focus on safety, while on road. Keep it up. Though Alto can reach 120 kph, better drive within 80-100 kph. Say a BIG NO to the 5th passenger, and enjoy many a safe and comfy limes.

A new car is a new car and it should not have "disco music from the dashboard in just 2 weeks". Maruti's QA might have failed to notice a loose assembly. Do NOT accept it; shout and get it sorted out. Cabin should be silent to the extent possible irrespective of the cost of the car.

Bagga Link --- my own memories come back. My first bike was taken from Bagga Link at Karol Bagh, way back in 1993.
 
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Congrats roadrunner on your new purchase, all White K10.[clap]

I too have same car (ofcourse Granite grey colour) and so far did 550kms but I haven't noticed any such noise from dashboard..?

Also on ICE, I feel satisfied with the sound quality getting from just two speakers. Check the sound settings/ speaker balance etc..
 
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Congratulations roadrunner on your new ride.
Wishing you many happy miles with him.
Glad you had an opportunity to look into Tiago. One of my relative had the dilemma between Tiago and Alto K10.
He went ahead and bought Tiago XZ for about 5.7L and it was some six months back. I think the rate might have increased a bit.
 
Thread Starter #9
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Beep Beep Roadrunner,
A new car is a new car and it should not have "disco music from the dashboard in just 2 weeks".
Bagga Link --- my own memories come back. My first bike was taken from Bagga Link at Karol Bagh, way back in 1993.
I agree something must be loose there. The sound is a brief high treble noise, as if two sandpapers have been rubbed, whenever I accelerate. It doesn't come if the car has not been pulled hard. I suspect the gear lock guy forgot to tighten the plastic after fixing the thing. I am cynical whether the service guys would be able to pinpoint it out [:)]

So far I have had a good experience with Bagga guys at Defence Colony. Their service centre in Vasant Kunj is also decent. Has a friendly, transparent air about it compared to other Maruti dealers and service places. Managed to build a rapport with their people over the years and they recognise me well. I don't push them hard and get the job done with some courteous diplomacy. It works every time. Cheers!

...but I haven't noticed any such noise from dashboard..?
Also on ICE, I feel satisfied with the sound quality getting from just two speakers. Check the sound settings/ speaker balance etc..
Congratulations to your new ride too buddy. I will get the dashboard noise checked in the first service, which is due this month-end.

This morning I lowered the bass to level 1 a bit and increased treble by two steps. Now it's fairly good. Choice of songs will be limited to ghazals and soft music, else the door still vibrates a bit. By any chance do you think I could still keep the stock head unit and link two rear parcel tray speakers, in addition to the two already installed on the front doors? I ask because Maruti accessories guy said it is not possible -- he said I have to remove the stock head unit and get a new one in order to add the two rear speakers (plus the two already in front). I am looking to get some clarity on this.

...One of my relative had the dilemma between Tiago and Alto K10. He went ahead and bought Tiago XZ for about 5.7L...
Thank you buddy. Your relative has made the right choice. There is no comparison between the all-rounded Tiago and K10 -- the former is miles ahead in all parameters, except service experience, perhaps, but that too is subjective. I was also on the same fence, but I had to jump on the K10 side on budget constraint. If I had to buy by heart, it would have been Brio though [:)] But head won this time [anger]

BTW, I've never seen a similar alloy in any of the K10's here.[confused] Maybe a new refreshed design for the Alto series.
Initially I looked for Neo 13 inchers on its website and they had some decent ones. But the reliable Neo dealer I had in mind is in Karol Bagh, a place full of traffic, and I was a bit pressed on time to go there.

So offhand I asked about MGA 13 inchers and Bagga showed me they had about 10 in stock. I checked with Enkei website and it showed Maruti as its client, in addition to Bagga vouching the alloys are Enkei make. I was told that currently, Maruti is offering only one design, which is the one I have, for 13 inch wheels. So choice was out of the question. For 14 inch and above alloys there is some choice in shade (gun metal, etc) and spoke designs. I'm not sure it's a refreshed design or has been around for a while, though I have rarely seen 13-inch MGA alloys in K10 in Delhi too.

I got them for Rs14,000 (five pieces, one for the spare). The guy quoted Rs 16,400. I played the old customer card and the accessories guy agreed. He's a nice fellow, Mr Ravindra, has been with Maruti dealers (including Bagga) for 21 years. Can provide contact details in case anyone in future ever deals with this Bagga chap.
 
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This morning I lowered the bass to level 1 a bit and increased treble by two steps. Now it's fairly good. Choice of songs will be limited to ghazals and soft music, else the door still vibrates a bit. By any chance do you think I could still keep the stock head unit and link two rear parcel tray speakers, in addition to the two already installed on the front doors? I ask because Maruti accessories guy said it is not possible -- he said I have to remove the stock head unit and get a new one in order to add the two rear speakers (plus the two already in front). I am looking to get some clarity on this.
I have asked the same question with my Show room guys (prior taking delivery of the car) who in turn checked with thier Accessories guy (both offices are different & far away from each other) and got reply that we can accommodate two rear speakers also with the stock HU. However, I did not pursued this matter further. When I got the car delieverd to me, I checked the System and found the sound quality is good (for the money we paid).

As far as the excess vibration sound you getting on the door/speaker - I too was getting similar sound on one side of the speaker. Checked the settings and found that the guys kept the BAL and FAD at '2' which I changed to '0' and the vibration gone.!
 
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Guys, I saw some rust on the brake rotor in both the front wheels. The rust on the disc looks normal as it goes off after a while of driving. But the rust on the rotor is what looks hideous. Should I be worried or is this normal? I asked the service guy and he said it's normal. The rust on the rotor will return in a matter of days even after scrubbing it clean. Still, another opinion would be nice. It looks quite bad.
 

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Rust on the rotor is normal. It's made up of cast iron and there is nothing to worry about. I would say that alloys really do look good and make the car stand out among the rest.
I had driven K10 and indeed it's to peppy and can give a run to the cars of higher segment.
Few let downs which i noticed is low slung seats and seats are on the firm side which are not at all comfortable on long drives. Another major is the brake bite which does go down well compared to the way this car takes off. It really need some good brake bite as this car have a lot of potential but it can't upgrade then paly safe.
 
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Congratulations on your new ride and I appreciate your practical thinking in choosing your ride. Wish you many happy miles with it.
Will buy a dash cam. Any advice would be appreciated. I want a discreet cam. Saw a couple of Transcend but they have chrome rings near the lens and will attract thieves and unnecessary attention.
I have been using the A118C stealth cam for 7 months in my Tiago and it does a good job in daylight. Night time recordings won't help much other than showing us what's going on. I ordered from Amazon.com (US) and a friend of mine carried it to me in his luggage. Being Chinese made, these are available in aliexpress.com as well if you like to check them out. The latest version is A119C which looks a bit sleeker and with minor improvements. Below is a picture of mine:
IMG_20170118_075000.jpg
 
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Three years went by just like that. Never got around to writing about my K10 properly. But it served me well. Did quite a lot of long trips. Today, I sold it off to Cars 24 for 2.2L, had run 25k km. Have booked an Ignis Delta, the BS 6 model. Delivery tomorrow. Will write a new ownership then and what has changed in the Delta since BS 4 model. The Delta is the value for money trim for Ignis. Also, here's a farewell shot of my trusty K10. Hope the new owner treats her well.
 

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