The eighth-gen Suzuki Alto kei car has entered the Japanese market. Unrelated to the international Alto we know, this little thing sits on a new platform that allows it to weigh up to 60 kg less than before.

In the case of the base 2WD 5MT variant, the vehicle tips the scales at just 610 kg, helping it claim an unbelievable JC08 fuel economy figure of 37 km per litre! Suzuki says this makes it the most frugal of all non-hybrid petrol vehicles in Japan.

L, S, X, F and VP variants are offered. The 660 cc three-cylinder R06A engine, featuring an upped compression ratio, exhaust gas recirculation and a re-designed intake and exhaust, drives either the front wheels or all wheels, through five-speed manual, CVT or Auto Gear Shift (AGS) gearboxes.

The AGS, available on the top F and VP variants, is a kind of AMT, featuring an electro-hydraulically operated clutch and gearchange. Ene-Charge (regenerative braking), auto stop/start and Eco-Cool (keeps air-con cool when engine is off) are also available on select variants.

Suzuki says the new Alto boasts the longest cabin length in its class (2,040 mm), thanks to a 2,460 mm wheelbase. The tandem distance and distance between driver and front passenger are 900 and 620 mm respectively.

Available safety aids include Radar Brake Support (a collision-mitigation braking system) and hill hold control, while stability control is standard across the range.

You can choose from 12 body colours, including two new shades – Pure Red and Chiffon Ivory Metallic. Also, the X variant can optionally be had with a grey tailgate, creating a unique two-tone look for the rear. Prices start from 847,800 yen (RM24,600).