LATE LAST YEAR TMR reported that the Suzuki Alto supermini will hit Aussie shores this year, and we first caught a glimpse of it in the flesh at the 2009 Melbourne International Motor Show back in February.
Suzuki has this week confirmed that the Alto will hit showrooms in Australia on August 1, and unlike the lower specification European model ? which recently achieved only a three-star Euro NCAP rating ? the Australian-delivered Alto will feature six airbags as standard and should achieve a four-star ANCAP rating.
Suzuki Australia General Manager Tony Devers said the Alto tested recently by Euro NCAP and reported on by foreign news services was not indicative of the Australian specification model, which will include head protecting side curtain airbags among its six airbag complement.
?Our engineers have converted the Euro NCAP data to the specific ANCAP criteria for local customers and we?re confident the Australian specification Alto will achieve a four star safety rating.
?We are working closely with ANCAP to have that result verified very shortly.?
Devers said safety is a key priority in every Suzuki vehicle. In the smaller and more competitive Australian market, this would seem a wise approach.
?Every passenger car in the Suzuki Australia line-up has achieved a minimum four star rating, and we are confident the Alto will maintain the company?s proud safety record.?
While the Alto will feature six airbags as standard, the higher specification model will also offer ESP stability control as standard.
With a tiny 50kW 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol engine ? not unlike the Suzuki Swift of days gone by (when just about all hatches were about the size of the Alto) ? the Alto achieves a hybrid-like fuel economy of just 4.5 l/100km, releasing a tiny 103g/km of CO2 emissions.
?Not only will the new Alto offer the fuel economy of a hybrid for around a third of the price, it will also be one of the safest cars in its category.?
TMR spoke to Suzuki Australia Communications Manager Andrew Ellis, who confirmed that the Alto should slot in at under $13,000.
?With the Swift already such a good value buy, pricing of the Alto will be critical, and we expect it to come in under $13,000.
While the average Swift buyer tends to be late 20s to 30 and beyond, the Alto will appeal more to younger buyers [such as] university students, as well as empty nesters; people downsizing to a smaller, more efficient car that suits their own needs rather than family needs.?
The 2010 Suzuki Alto goes on sale in Australia on August 1.