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  • gms

    You’d be crazy to buy the Alto over the Micra. The extra size, capacity, features + the fact it isn’t made in India is got to be worth at least $1500. I don’t know what’s wrong with your eyes. The Alto is fugly and dirt cheap looking while the Micra is good looking and looks more expensive then it is.

    • G

      Well, the Micra is made in Thailand. Big deal.

      • John West

        Call me slack but in 2011 there is no way I’d buy a car with manual mirrors…..that would be a deal breaker for me. Commercial utes are the only vehicles to beable to get away with this.

        • G

          …and the Kia Rio.

      • gms

        I wouldn’t have a problem buying a car made in Thailand. India is a true third world scum hole. It’s like comparing a Mahindra ute thing with a Ford Ranger. Check the side profile of the Alto yuck!

        • figo

          wow,u truly do hate india.

        • Kandan

          I hope my taxes are not paying for your dole. If you are going to get castrated, I am willing to put money into it

    • Kandan

      another first world jackass where nothing is made, but ready to point fingers without stating facts as to what is wrong with the car

  • Ethan

    To me somehow the front of the micra resembles a little too much of the mini…

  • Hung Low

    The torque specs (rpms) do not match what written in the review. The Micra is the go here, better finished especially with the paint in comparison and real world difference that 200cc can make with little cars and engines is amazing!
    But at this price point you cannot go wrong with either I reckon, more reason that the upcoming Chinese light cars need to be priced under $10k to get traction in our market!

  • crouchy

    What about that manual shifter in the Micra! Looks like its lifted from a 90’s corolla!!!

    • j

      What’s wrong with that? I found my late 90’s corolla shifter to be very ergonomically friendly and a joy to use.

  • Ross

    I’m surprised you can recommend the Alto, we test drove one recently and it was terrible. The car was very tinny, gutless and every time you go for the brake pedal it felt like it was going to snap off…

  • Sam 300TD

    4 star safety rating sounds ok but it depends what you run into doesn’t it.

    • adrian

      4 stars is pretty good when compared to cars of the early 2000s that cost more

  • http://www.google.com google

    hice one man

  • filippo

    Maybe it’s time for the government body to create a new category for light-light cars, because in Europe the Suzuki Alto competes with the smaller Nissan Pixo and the Swift competes with the Micra.

    What’s interesting too is that when Ford offered a 1.4 litre 4-speed automatic Fiesta, journalists and bloggers wanted to burn down Ford’s headquarters. Yet here we have two cars with an even more gutless engine/transmission combination and somehow it’s barely worth mentioning.

    • Shak

      While the Gov Bodies dont have a classification for this type of car yet, most road testers and journos seem to classify them as sub-light or city cars nowadays.

      • http://caradvice.com.au Anthony

        I’d call a Tata Nano or a smartfortwo sub lights, not an Alto.

    • RickyC

      And do you know how much that 1.4L Fiesta cost? $17,950 when it was first released. Absurd. These are $12,990 cars we’re talking about.

    • RickyC

      Um, the Suzuki Alto doesn’t compete with the Nissan Pixo, because they are exactly the same. The Alto is sold as the Pixo in some European countries, where the Suzuki brand is not as strong, but the two are not sold together anywhere, and don’t compete.

      • filippo

        Ricky, a quick look at the websites of Nissan and Suzuki in the UK, Italy and France tell a different story. In all of these countries, both the Alto and Pixo are sold, so do indeed compete.

      • Karel Smouter

        O yes, they do. Here in the Netherlands Alto and Pixo are both available. As are Toyota Aygo / Citro√ęn C1 / Peugeot 107. Another identical market leading sibbling in this class.

  • Jacob Martyn

    Alto only has 4 seats! How many does Micra have?

  • vti07

    There are now so many players in the light car category. Daihatsu would have had that market almost to itself when they were around.

  • CX7ened

    Thanks, but I’d rather spend my hard earned 12k on a used Impreza, Civic EK or Mazda 3 ….

    • mmmmmm

      for $12k you’d have to go back far enough back in those cars to before stability control was standard and probably only get 2 airbags.
      Is that really a better car for a p plater?

      • imrankhan

        Both are good.I am looking at this same Micra once my current one is fully paid off now to raise the money but will get an Automatic.The Made in Thailand thing isn’t an issue for me.I would buy one over a Fiat 500 as they are charging practically Top of the Range Tiida Money for something I can’t fit into.

  • darkone

    As a former alto owner, an 88 model years ago, I would buy another,the most motoring fun you can have on a budget,and reliable,cant kill the engine with a nuclear bomb,mine had over 200k on it and still ran good,yes it was the same motor in it!!!!.You could also drive it like you stole it and never break the speed limit!

  • nickdl

    I’d have the Micra any day of the week. The Alto hardly has ‘class leading styling’ inside or out. That grey interior actually looks very average. I haven’t sat in one with the lights on but is the backlighting pink? Doesn’t look good at all in the photos.

    The Micra probably has better real-world economy anyway with more torque available at lower revs, especially in a manual. Why anyone would buy either of these in an auto I cannot fathom. Having driven a 63kW Combo in a wide range of conditions, little engines like these need all the driver input they can get, especially out of town. It would be downright dangerous to have an automatic Alto even if it was just in town.

  • Nath746

    I didn’t know Torque was measured in kW Now…

    The Nissan Micra has 100kW of Torque… Just a small error I noticed, but a good review none the less.

  • RickyC

    Heh, funny that Nissan gave you a black Micra, which perfectly hides it’s black plastic door handles and body-colored B-pillars, while Suzuki sent you a silver Alto, which shows off the new standard body-coloured door handles and mirrors ūüėÄ

  • Ovr40

    “If we wind the clock back just 10 years, there was no way on earth that this class of car would have come equipped with standard features such as …”

    The 2000 model Daihatsu Sirion GTVi had pretty much everything that was available at the time as standard.

  • Warren

    Good Review.

    These are simple, budget buying vehicles with some unexpected features and safety. Remembering that there are a myriad of things that go towards the owning and running cost of a vehicle – and in 2010, the NRMA found the Alto to be the most affordable to own and run in Australia. For mine you buy a vehicle of this size, fundamentally for fuel economy. Alto clearly has the edge and by memory, reviews at the time of release, had road tester’s economy sub 4L per km.

  • Warren

    Good Review.

    These are simple, budget buying vehicles with some unexpected features and safety. Remembering that there are a myriad of things that go towards the owning and running cost of a vehicle, and in 2010 the NRMA found the Alto to be the most affordable to own and run in Australia. For mine you buy a vehicle of this size, fundamentally for fuel economy. Alto clearly has the edge and my memory, reviews at the time of release had road testers economy sub 4L per km.

  • ryan bane

    interested in this reviews assertion of the nissan having a capable (perhaps class leading) chassis. UK Autocar has recently described the nissan’s chassis as “mediocre”.
    (in fact the whole car as a step backwards from the previous Micra – a car they were generally positive about, so dont think it is the general anti-non european car thing)

    Does Oz get a different state of suspension tune to europe?

    • nickdl

      Well it was runner-up in Wheels COTY as well and they were complimentary of the chassis, especially because it’s priced so low (not sure if it’s comparatively as cheap in Europe). Most cars do have a different suspension tune in Australia to Europe.

  • Jacob Martyn

    How about a diesel engine for both of these cars then.

  • megod

    Suzuki Alto GLX is a great car. Recently drove a Auto GLX from Singleton to Dubbo and back. It is Brilliant. I would not have known it was a 3 Cylinder unless I looked under the bonnet. Driving position is great, brakes are great. I am used to driving a 1.8 litre car and loved the 1 Litre 996cc engine.

  • http://caradvice OSU811

    I have driven a couple of new Alto’s and found
    the rough idle hard to accept!
    The performance and character of the engine to be terrible,
    The build quality to be very average compared to the Japanese built other Suzuki models (The swift is worth every extra cent and more)

  • ra

    where is toyota yaris?

    Exterior nissan micra is better but interior suzuki alto is better . so equal !!!!hehe^^

    • James

      Toyota Yaris is also very good, My friends mum and also my Grandma have them, I think The Barina Spark would win if there was a compition called Nissan Micra V.S Holden Barina Spark,LOL

  • James

    There the same but i prefer Nissan

  • Makes

    Hi i have owned an Suzuki Alto manual for around 12 months now and have been very happy with it. No problems and very good value for money. I can vouch for the fuel economy claims, I am getting just under 5Lt/100km in real world conditions driving normally with aircon on regularly. Biggest downside i have found with this car is fairly small size of the boot and high loading lip, but once rear seats fold down flat carry space is pretty good.

  • franz chong

    I haven’t driven the new Micra yet but based on this report it’s the one to have I have the previous model though which as an automatic would have costed me the same as the Alto but get this I have a 1.4 in there whereas the Suzuki is only 1 Litre or about the size of a milk carton.I had a Tiida before that which explains why I chose to go back to nissan

  • Maca

    In my country the Alto GLX costs $17.000 while the extra full version of the micra (built in mexico with airbag but without ABS) costs $19.600. I think its not worth the difference of price.

  • James

    Well in My Opinon, The Micra is bigger and alot cheaper where i come from but anyway If i had the chance if I wanted to buy a Micra or The Alto, Id say the Micra it has more room inside it and a fairly good engine.

  • myo aung

    I bought an auto transmission alto about 6 months back, hoping to save running costs and maneuver easily. However, I regret my decision to choose alto. the fuel economy is quite close to 7/100, and what’s worse, when parking, the power steering is very much unresponsive and sluggish, very much similar to using a non-power steering car when turning left and right. the power steer just starts to act a few seconds later when the motor gets revved up. Apart from that the car drives fine. I’m very much disappointed by the power steering issue, as I find it annoyingly hard when parking the car in a tight spot. I ever had it looked at by the suzuki service centre where I bought the car but they said it’s the car’s characteristic. Anyone owing an alto has the same experience?

  • AndrewD

    Just bought a 1.5L Auto Micra for the wife. We looked at the alto but only 4 seats was a deal breaker (we have 3 kids!). She loves it and we have always driven powerful 6cyl cars. Great economy, about 7.5L in the city with the auto (better on freeway) and really nice to drive, no regrets yet (and 5 star safety, bonus). But for anyone being critical of these cars remember the price and compare apples with apples.

  • http://Caradvice foxy

    Yeah I think people are confused by car manufacturers!
    They should scrap these little sardine cans that crumble like butter and cost more to replace parts. Reduce prices of other better made small cars and offer better warranties. People don’t waste your time comparing the value of little cars you won’t get what you paid for, not like the eighties and nineties where cars were low and better value for money. The fact that car manufacturers cut costs and risk lives by going to countries like China, Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, India, Turkey, Africa where they are poorly educated and have no idea about quality cause they run on cheap slave labour…. well that says it all!!!

  • demo destroyer

    You’d be safer in
    either of these cars than you would be in a used twin bag Corolla/Mazda or god forbid, a crusty old Commodore or Falcon. Hard to accept for the average bogan so they often turn to racism regarding place of manufacture. Cars can be built anywhere by anyone if the same QC checks are made, which they are, in this case strictly supervised by Japanese owners. If you think the people at Elizabeth bolting your Commodore together are any more educated, trained, skilled or even care any more than those at Suzuki or Nissan’s plants then you’re deluded. In fact, the Indian and Thai employees probably have more commitment to performing their jobs well as they have more to lose if unemployed. Of course, both cars have a full three year warranty. Suzuki often offers five years as a sales incentive so push your dealer for five.

    Anyway, I’ve driven both and they’re both great commuting cars. When using them for what they are designed for, city/suburban stop-start commuting, there’s practically no advantage of one over the other. The Alto looks better and fuel economy is incredible, the Nissan has more ‘grunt’ if you’re a natural leadfoot. Both will cruise happily all day at 110 on the freeway with the aircon on. Just leave plenty of room when overtaking on single lane roads. There’s no point testing a manual Micra against an auto Alto though. In reality the manual Alto has just as much ‘go’ as the Micra due to it’s lower weight but the Alto thrives on revs and doesn’t like being lugged along in the wrong gear, something the Micra will tolerate slightly better. This trait confuses a lot of bogan test drivers who whinge and moan that these small hatches don’t have the ‘pull’ of their V8. Idiots. As for the guy who is looking to comfortably load up the wife, 3 kids and gear and use one of these tiny things as a general family car…just a thought, perhaps the small hatch market isn’t for you, even if the price is right.

    • Binnull

      Very well said!
      I recently bought Alto Automatic for my wife. And i must say I am always looking for an excuse to drive this instead of my top of the line X-Trail.  All that leather and comfort does not beat the zippiness and fun this car has to offer. The engine is awesome and very happy to rev hard, the suspension is firm and there is no body roll what so ever.
      1L engine? what 1L engine?

  • Ldhateley

    Well today I drove the Nissan Micra 1.5 the 1.2 wasn’t available and the Suzuki Alto and frankly to be honest I found the Micra a bit gutless and wine in the manual gearbox, also found on engine overrun on gear changes reminiscent of the first Camira where it would rev up once the clutch was disengaged and made smooth up changes difficult for a 1.5 ¬†4 cylinder it was rough at low revs I thought it would have been significantly better but no. I took the Alto for a drive and found it much quieter than the Micra and frankly there wasn’t much of a performance difference especially considering the Micra engine was 50% larger it was that much better. And the Holden Spark seems to unavailable at the moment so have to wait to drive it. But for the moment Suzuki Alto seems the go.

  • Makes006

    Hi, some comments based on my “real world” experience¬†with¬†the Suzuki Alto (manual) over the¬†past two years. I can confirm that fuel economy is awesome !.¬†I am getting just under 5l/100km each week just driving normally with aircon on fairly often. This driving is probably around 60% highway & 40% local streets. I have had zero problems with the car after 70,000kms with just routine servicing required every 15,000kms, still no noticable rattles or squeeks. I think it’s fun to drive,¬†you have to¬†use the¬†gearbox a fair bit up hills etc. but absolutely no problem keeping up with traffic.¬†Some not so good things; the boot cover thing¬†gets in the way when loading things in the back (i have just removed it), rear view mirror doesn’t dip (annoying when 4WD is following you at night), the paintwork is quite thin and seems to scratch pretty easily, doesn’t have much ‘street cred’ haha….¬†However, in summary i have been very happy with this car and would buy one again.¬†

  • Gdt

    I also own a Alto manual. I chose it because an optioned-up Micra (the car closest to my Mazda 121 bubble) was touching $20K, and if I wanted to spend that much I’d get a Polo.

    The engine is fine around the city, although you do have to be willing to push down the accelerator and move through the gears. If you are in the right headspace that can be a lot of fun, and the light chassis makes it quick enough off the lights. Outside of the city it struggles in big hills (on the Hume Hwy between Gundagai and Yass it ascended hills at the same pace as the B Doubles) and coming up Bulli Pass you had to change the gears at exactly the right moment to maintain any speed. The RPM dial is absolutely essential for that sort of work. Going down Bulli Pass the brakes were fine, with little fading.

    The suspension is drum tight. You either love that or hate it. You get a few bumps where the light car glides across a pothole and then whacks into its side, rather than dropping in and climbing out. Handling on dirt should be terrible, but is actually nice. Clearance is more than you expect, but this is in no way a farm car.

    The lack of a flip dimmer on the mirror is one cost cutting too far.

    A set of thin roof racks is a worthwhile option, as it gives you a way to get home items from the hardware store that you might fit into longer cars. The Prorack Whispbar is the bar optioned by Suzuki, should you not wish to be stung by dealer pricing and source it elsewhere.

    The boot space in the Alto isn’t worth the name. It will hold maybe five shopping bags, but that’s about it. This also means that flipping down the back seats doesn’t give as much room as in other cars. The boot cover isn’t strung to the hatch, which makes it painful to use.

    The back seats are cramped, but you can fit four adults in the car for an hour or so. The back seats have two of the new baby seat hooks. Driver visibility (usually very good) is compromised when there are two adults in the back, but the side mirrors are huge.

    The airconditioning is absolutely essential, as it’s a small car and so heats up quickly. The airconditioner is adequate — it’s cold but not freezing. The car doesn’t get excessively hot when parked, as the near-vertical rear window doesn’t let in a huge amount of heat, leaving a folded out sunguard on the windscreen to work well in summer. The car’s heater works well.

    It takes premium unleaded. If you are in a country town the price of that might be an issue. Although if I had to do country driving I’d move up a size in car to the Swift/Polo/Rio.

    There’s no way the Alto is going to tow anything, not even a trailer to the tip.

    If you know what you are getting, then it’s a great car. It’s my big city household’s second car and it takes the kids to school and me to work. I think you could be readily disappointed if you bought the wrong class of car for the driving you do.

  • Watcha

    The Micra we get in Europe is made in India, whereas the previous models were made in Britain. these were durable reliable cars, hopefully the current Micra is the same.

  • Altos rule

    Best small car I have ever owned Рthe Alto. Very tall gearing Рwhich I kinda like, as when you do get it rolling Рyou are not forever changing gears. Fuel economy is fantastic Рas fuel is only getting more expensive. This is our second car. We have a Tarago for heavy lift. In saying this though we are a family of 5, at any one time it is rear to have more than three in any of the cars at one time. I did not like the NIssan Micra. Fuel economy let it down Рbut more importantly was the historic performance of reliability that Suzuki has been known for for many years now. Not flash in any one area Рbut trouble free with reputation.

  • Toy Pupanbai

    I bought the 2014 March, keyless entry, a year ago.
    It doesn’t have a BOOT LIGHT!
    The showroom one did.
    What mean penny pinching idiotic idea.
    It’s a damned nuisance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!