Suzuki Malaysia Automobile (SMA) has added a new model to its local range – the Alto, which is an A-segment rival to the Perodua Viva and Hyundai i10. This subcompact is imported CBU from Maruti Suzuki in India, which is the global production hub for this model.

Powered by a 996cc three-cylinder engine, the lightweight Alto (880 kg for the manual, 915 kg for the auto) is pushed on by 67 bhp and 90 Nm of torque. For comparison, the Viva EZi weighs 810 kg and has 60 bhp/90 Nm from its 989cc triple. The Alto’s K10B engine is paired to either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic gearbox. The latter features a gated shifter, just like in big brother Swift.

I remember seeing the Alto in concept form (it was called A-Star) at the Delhi Motor Show, and it looked nothing like this finished product. While the basic shape is there, crisp and bold styling gave way to a cute and cuddly image that should go well with the ladies, who we presume will also dig the Fortune Rose Pearl Metallic colour shown here. Five other hues are available.

The Alto’s 3,500 mm length is 75 mm shorter than the Viva, while its 2,360 mm wheelbase is 30 mm shorter than the Perodua. The locally made car also has a 60 mm taller roof. All these are obvious when you see the Alto in the metal – its shape is more rakish and “sportier” (0.30 drag coefficient) than the box-like Viva. The Suzuki is also significantly wider. Under the skin, the Alto sits on MacPherson struts up front and a 3-link rigid axle at the back. The front ventilated discs brakes work with rear drums. It rides on 155/65 R14 Goodyear GT3 tyres.

The super basic RM44,888 (OTR without insurance) GA manual variant has a folding rear bench, dual airbags and a pollen filter, but misses out on the automatic GLX model’s fog lamps, coloured wing mirror caps, tachometer, front power windows, 50:50 split folding rear seats and ABS/EBD. The GLX costs RM49,888. There’s also a RM54,888 GXS spec that adds window tint, leather seats, door visors and a bodykit.

Rear windows are self winding and wing mirrors manual in all variants. The Alto has only 2 sets of seatbelts at the back, making it a four-seater officially, but there are two ISOFIX child seat anchorages. Live images from the launch after the jump.

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