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By Bruce Fraser | Aug 26, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

IF SPEED is your thing and you measure your masculinity by the size of the car you drive, stop reading this right now!

IF SPEED is your thing and you measure your masculinity by the size of the car you drive, stop reading this right now!

For the new Suzuki Alto is every petrolheads' worst nightmare ... a car powered by a tiny 3-cylinder 1000cc engine that has a maximum output smaller than many motorbikes and a top speed just more than the national speed limit of 120kmh.

In all honesty, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt will be quicker over 100m than the little Alto.

Trouble is, I love it!

Deciding it time to expand their local range of vehicles, Suzuki has gone the practical route and introduced a vehicle for these recession-hit times. A vehicle that will get you from point A to B - finish and klaar!

Let's take a look at my little "urban warrior", which will be available in two derivatives (GL priced at R104900 and GLS priced at R119900).

As you have probably guessed the GLS comes with a number of extras. These include a rev counter, radio with single CD player, tilt steering, electric windows in the front, ABS brakes, electronic brake distribution, front fog lights and body-coded side mirrors.

Let's take a look at the exterior.

For a vehicle with such a small engine the car thankfully does not fall into the "dinky toy" category.

It's a reasonable size (3,5m long) but compact enough to make around-town driving and parking a breeze.

The boot space is in proportion to the rest of the vehicle ... politely put, it is compact!

Interior-wise it is quite attractive. The seats - front and rear - are in a practical colour and material while the instrumentation panels are large and clear.

Where the Alto caught me by surprise, though, is just how perky the tiny engine is.

It's not a case of having to drive with your foot flat to the floor to gather speed. No ways, this little gem will keep up with the best of them when it comes to in-town commuting.

The five-speed gearbox works a treat while the power steering makes manoeuvring a breeze.

Perhaps best of all with the Alto is the impressive fuel figures.

Around town expect just under 7litres per 100km, while on the open road this will drop to an impressive 5litres per 100km.

Oops, I almost forgot. It also comes with a couple of airbags for the front passengers and its CO2 emissions are a very respectable 133g/km.

The little Alto will be no doubt be going head-to-head with Hyundai's i10. Should be an interesting clash!


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