The Suzuki Alto hatchback is one of the most famous Japanese kei cars: since 1979, 5.26 million cars of eight generations have been produced. And now the ninth generation Alto enters the local market. At the same time, the eighth generation Mazda Carol hatchback-twin also appeared. Suzuki manufactures these cars for Mazda as part of an OEM collaboration, which is common in the Japanese market: since 1989, the Carol model has been technically completely repeating the Alto, and since 1998, these two cars differ only in emblems and nameplates.
2022 Suzuki Alto
With the change of generation, Suzuki Alto has lost its originality. The outgoing 2014 hatchback was inspired by old Suzuki from the seventies and eighties, but the new car has only hints of this image, such as frowning headlights and clipped window corners in the rear doors. The image has become more “average”, although Japanese buyers will certainly like it.
The body has become rounded, the windshield is installed more vertically. The height of the car was increased by 50 mm (up to 1525 mm), and not so much for the sake of increasing the space in the cabin (the ceiling became 45 mm higher), but for increasing the doorways and increasing the convenience of getting in and out of the car. After all, the Japanese nation has long been the oldest and one of the fastest growing in the world.
The length (3395 mm) and width (1475 mm), of course, have not changed, because they have already reached the legal limits for kei cars. The wheelbase is also the same: 2460 mm. However, the length of the cabin has been shortened by 25 mm. It is still a four-seater, and the rear sofa in all trim levels has a one-piece folding back, and head restraints are put to it only in the top version.
Simple modifications retained the 658 cc R06A three-cylinder engine, which produces 46 hp. and 55 Nm. And more expensive options now proudly bear the nameplate “Hybrid”, although we are talking only about the “soft” hybrid. These hatchbacks have a more modern and long-stroke R06D engine (657 cc) with a VVT phase change system, its output is 49 hp. and 58 Nm. The starter-generator (2.6 HP, 40 Nm) helps it in the first seconds of acceleration and works as part of a start-stop system, and a compact lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 3 Ah is located under the front passenger seat.
All hatchbacks have a CVT. Any modification can have both front and four-wheel drive. In the second case, instead of a semi-independent suspension, a continuous axle is installed at the rear. But there are no modifications with a turbo engine in the Suzuki Alto range. And in this generation they will probably no longer be.
But the new Alto and Carol already “in the base” have an automatic braking system with a stereo camera under the windshield. Options include climate control and LED headlights. In all trim levels, a plug is installed by default instead of a media system: you need to pay extra for it, and this is still the norm for the Japanese market, where buyers of inexpensive cars are given the opportunity to install the head unit to their liking.
The new Suzuki Alto hatchback here starts at $ 8,200 for a version with stamped wheels without caps and black door handles. Mazda does not have such a poor version, the range starts from the “second” configuration, so Carol costs at least $ 8,700. At the same time, prices for comparable versions of hatchbacks under the Suzuki and Mazda brands are the same.