Pre-loved: Suzuki Alto 2009-2015

2009 Suzuki Alto 8

Suzuki has long been renowned for designing small cars and SUVs.

The Alto is a small five-door hatchback that’s built in India by Maruti Suzuki.

We’ve toured that factory and while it looks rather aged by today’s standards, build quality is up there with the best in class.

Altos hold their value well so if you do find one at a very low price it may have problems, or you have been really lucky to find a desperate seller.

If it’s the latter there’s a good chance they haven’t spent money on regular servicing.

Check the service books to see.

Alto does not look, feel, or drive, like a car in the ‘light’ segment.

Having four passenger doors is a bonus you don’t get in many cars at this end of the market. 

The turning circle is a tight nine metres making it simple to park and to make good time through tight traffic.

Obviously it’s aimed at city and suburban driving, but Alto is able to handle country trips without any real fuss.

You’re best to avoid dirt roads however as it’s not designed for these.

Specifications are on the basic side to keep prices down, but you do get air conditioning and a good array of active and passive safety features.

The lowest priced Alto, the GL is a real stripper. Alto GLX is significantly better.

The front seats are comfortable, the rear area has seating for two, with tight leg and headroom but good shoulder room for a pair of fair-sized blokes.

Three big blokes? Forget it . . .

In cars of this size compromises are inevitable and the little Suzuki has a small 110-litre boot and not a lot of sizeable storage spaces in the cabin.

The rear seats are 50:50 split units and increase the cargo area up to 754 litres. 

At the heart of the little Suzuki Alto is a three-cylinder, 1.0-litre engine .

It produces 50kW of power and 90Nm of torque, with a purposeful note that intrudes nicely into the cabin.

There’s something about the willingness of small capacity engines  to work that appeals to those who enjoy driving.

Transmission options are five-speed manual and four-speed automatic.

The auto is best left to those spending a lot of time in heavy traffic because it does affect performance. 

Suzuki has been operating in Australia for decades and has a strong dealer network.

Though the dealers are principally in metro areas there are quite a few in the country as well due to the popularity of Suzuki 4WDs in the bush.

Servicing and spare parts prices are generally reasonable and we haven’t heard any real complaints about the availability of spares.

Insurance companies generally rate the Suzuki Alto in the lower part of their scales and we haven’t found and major difference in premiums between insurers.

2009 Suzuki Alto 2



City cars live in a harsh environment.

Make sure servicing, ideally by a Suzuki dealer, has been done according to time — not distance.

There were three recalls on the Alto.

Early models had a problem with fuel pump seating on the fuel tank.

Later models were affected by stop light, shift solenoi, and heater motor faults.

Suzuki dealers can check these have been done, or contact Suzuki with VIN for confirmation.

Look for minor dings and scratches on the body, or signs they have been repaired.

Check the condition of the wheels and tyres, the front-left one is usually the first to suffer because of thumping the kerb while parking.

Look for damage within the boot due to heavy duty loading and careless packing.

Make sure gear changes on the manuals are light and easy, if not the ‘box may be damaged, or it could be a clutch problem.

2009 Suzuki Alto 4



Expect to pay from $2000 to $4000 for a 2009-2011 Suzuki Alto GL; $3000 to $6000 for a 2011 GLX; $5000 to $6500 for a 2015 GL; or $4000 to $7000 for a late model 2014 GLX.

2009 Suzuki Alto 3



Take a friend with you when shopping for a used car.

That way they can keep the chattering sales person at bay while you check out the car without interruptions.

Used car prices have generally increased during the period of new car stock shortages.

Start looking at adverts for used vehicles several months before you intend buying.

That way you can get a feel for the price being asked and whether they are rising and falling, as dealers need to clear stock due to overcrowding.

Keep an eye on adverts for new cars that say there are specials on particular models.

This can lead to a lot of traded-ins taking up too much space in yards and they will be discounted to get rid of them.

Keep an eye open for ads of unpopular cars, as there can vary greatly in price.

Owners struggling to find a buyers may be forced to grit their teeth and drop their asking price.

If checking a used car at a dealership look at other cars on the lot. 

This can provide an insight into the quality of the vehicles in which the dealer specialises.

If buying privately ask for proof of ownership and make sure the insurance covers you for taking a test drive.

Take a slow walk around any car you’re considering, looking for obvious defects.

It amuses us how many people dive into tiny details, only to discover later a major ding somewhere on the other side of the car.

Ideally any road test of a car you’re getting serious about should be done with the engine stone cold. Early morning is best.

If you’re serious about buying a vehicle, tell the seller you would like to take it for a good long test drive.

If they insist on coming that’s understandable, but try to avoid them “selling” the car to you.

Put bluntly, ask them to shut up,

In their later years, cars with a reputation for being long lived and trouble free sometimes attract buyers who have no intention of ever servicing them.

The next owner may suffer as a result.

2009 Suzuki Alto 6



To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at:



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