Used Suzuki Alto Hatchback 1997 - 2006 review

Category: Small car

It's cheap but not very cheerful

Suzuki Alto Hatchback (97 - 06)
  • Suzuki Alto Hatchback (97 - 06)
  • Suzuki Alto Hatchback (97 - 06)
Used Suzuki Alto Hatchback 1997 - 2006 review
Star rating

What's the used Suzuki Alto hatchback like?

If you want a car for as little money as possible, and you're prepared to pluck one straight from the bargain bin at your local dealer, the Suzuki Alto might just be worth a look. If you want anything more from your transport, then there's no good reason to choose one.

For your tiny investment you'll get a city car that'll get you from A to B along city streets. However, it'll perform this function with no flair whatsoever. The drive is just about acceptable in town, but venturing outside the city limits will quickly show that the Alto's dynamic ability is way off the pace in every other area. It's not fun, it's not comfortable and equipment is stingy. And, to cap it all, the cabin is tight in the rear, it looks boring and it feels cheaply made.


It's cheap but not very cheerful

  • You can buy one with pocket change and it's reliable
  • Unfortunately, it's inadequate in every other area - it's noisy
  • cramped and boring

Ownership cost

What used Suzuki Alto hatchback will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Suzuki Alto hatchback?

A bargain is only a bargain if the car suits your purposes, so think carefully about how you'll use your car to make sure you're not buying into a false economy.

At least you'll pay a pittance to fuel your car. The 1.0-litre engine will return an average of 49.6mpg, and the later 1.1 does even better: an average yield of 57.6mpg, which is impressive for a petrol-powered car. If you're after cheap insurance bills, you'll be much better off going for the 1.0-litre, which qualifies for a group 3 classification. The 1.1, which isn't much more powerful, commands a high group 5 premium. Servicing costs will also prove quite costly, not least because the 1.0-litre needs routine maintenance every 6000 miles. The 1.1 is lightly better, with 9000-mile intervals.

Our recommendations

Which used Suzuki Alto hatchback should I buy?

The Alto is one of those cars that doesn't major on choice. At any one time there's only been one engine and one trim level.

At launch, the Alto came with a four-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine with a modest 53bhp. The solitary GL trim level was similarly basic, and provided a rear wiper, an immobiliser and front head restraints. The only choice you had was between the three-door or the five-door version. In 2003 Suzuki narrowed the choice even further by binning the three-door car altogether. The old engine was also shelved, replaced by a new 62bhp 1.1-litre. While it gave the Alto a bit more strength, it still couldn't cope with anything other than urban roads. GL trim now provided power steering, electric front windows and central locking.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Suzuki Alto hatchback?