Suzuki Alto Review

Gumtree Rating

4.0 rating

Before Suzuki discontinued it in 2014, the Alto had been around in one form or another since the 1980s, but we’re focusing here on the final iteration that ran from 2009 to 2014. The Alto was made with one thing in mind: economy. It’s a no-frills small hatchback that would be ideal as a cheap runaround or a first car. Engine choice is simple with all Altos being powered by a 1.0-litre petrol unit that had a claimed figure of 66 mpg.

Check out the Suzuki Alto model page to learn more.

What we think about the Suzuki Alto

A no-frills, cost-effective motoring solution, the Suzuki Alto can also be surprisingly fun.



Simple and honest


Cheap to run


Nippy and nimble


Three-star safety rating

Uninspiring looks

Low spec

Buying an Alto should be fairly simple thanks to the sole 1.0-litre petrol engine and just three trim levels – SZ, SZ3 and SZ4. If you need an auto ‘box, the SZ4 was available with one – though it will drop the claimed fuel economy from 66 mpg to 55 mpg.

Driving performance of the Suzuki Alto

Our Driving Rating7 / 10

The Alto can manoeuvre very nimbly around town. Helped by responsive steering, it can nip into gaps or through traffic with ease. It’s sprightly enough too, and the ride comfort isn’t compromised by the lumps and bumps of city tarmac. Parking it is a breeze thanks to its particularly small dimensions and a tight turning circle. Taking it out of the urban landscape (and its comfort zone) makes for a different story. In that environment, its size, weight, steering and suspension lead to a more uncomfortable and nervy experience.

Safety and reliability of the Suzuki Alto

Our Safety Rating7 / 10

The Alto received just three out of five stars when crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2009, something that might give you pause for thought. On the plus side it does have dual front and side airbags, and the SZ4 trim also adds curtain airbags to that as well as an electronic stability programme to help keep the car from skidding. Reliability-wise, there shouldn’t be too many worries as Suzuki has an impressive reputation in this area, but you should always do thorough checks when buying a used car.

Under the bonnet of the Suzuki Alto

Our Engine Rating7 / 10

The 1.0-litre petrol engine generates just 68 bhp, which is good for a 0-62 mph time of 13.5 seconds. Of course, if you’re using it mainly around town, you won’t be getting up to those speeds and, predictably, it feels nippiest under 40 mph. The manual gearbox lends itself best to that environment too, but if you need or want the convenience of an automatic, the option is there. Just keep in mind that going down that route will significantly impact acceleration, dropping that 0-62 mph to a sluggish 17 seconds.

What you'll find in the Suzuki Alto

Our Design Rating6 / 10

Looks-wise, the Alto is fairly uninspiring by today’s standards – it’s not ugly but it lacks a little charm. It has cutesy appeal and some appealing curvy lines, but it won’t make your heart sing. While it may not be characterful, it’s definitely dinky. At just 3.5 metres long and 1.6 metres wide, fitting into parking spaces will be easier than with most other compact cars. The fun-size design continues on to the 14-inch wheels, which should also save costs on tyres.

Comfort and interiors in the Suzuki Alto

Our Comfort Rating7 / 10

With a car this size, rear legroom is going to be compromised for anyone except children. That said, the headroom is pretty good and being a five-door, rear access is easy. The boot space isn’t so easy to access and can only really accommodate a little bit of shopping. The interior is simple and functional, with everything easy to see and reach. There are obvious cost-cuts and the materials aren’t of a particularly high quality, but it never feels cheap and nasty.

Suzuki Alto Interior

What features you'll find in the Suzuki Alto

Our Features Rating6 / 10

The Alto is a more economy-focused choice, so impressive features and gadgets are not its strong suit. Central locking, power steering and electric front windows are standard across the range. The SZ3 trim and up adds air-conditioning, something rear passengers may thank you for as the rear windows only pop out rather than wind down. If you want alloys, go for an SZ4 – you’ll also get front fog lights and traction control.

What fuel efficiency to expect from the Suzuki Alto

Our Fuel Consumption Rating8 / 10

The Alto’s engine is efficient, boasting a claimed fuel economy figure of 66 mpg, helped in no small part by the little Suzuki’s low weight of 885kg. CO2 emissions are just 99 g/km, which will certainly help with the tax bills. If you opt for the automatic gearbox, fuel efficiency drops to around 55 mpg and the CO2 emissions go up too. Even with the auto ‘box, the Alto is still a nicely economical car.

Running costs of the Suzuki Alto

Our Cost Rating8 / 10

Good fuel efficiency and low tax are a good starting point for the cost conscious. The small Suzuki throws a reputation for reliability and a place in insurance group 4 into that mix too, making it an ideal car for younger drivers. You should be able to pick up a used Alto fairly cheaply, and servicing or maintenance won’t be expensive either. All in all, the Suzuki Alto should offer up some fantastically low-cost motoring.

Our verdict of the Suzuki Alto

4.0 rating

4 / 5 Gumtree rating

If you can avoid the automatic gearbox and overlook the safety rating, the Suzuki Alto is a cheap and very cheerful choice.