I started with the baby of the range the Alto 1000cc 3 cylinder 50kW 90Nm that has been called a sewing machine on steroids, somewhat unkindly and as it turned out quite erroneously.
I wasn’t originally going to drive the baby Suzi, but Gordon Holland kindly lent it to me so was able to reacquaint myself with what I always felt was a town only Quad. How wrong can you be? It does handle open road speeds and surprisingly is more comfortable on the open highway than some city streets. That’s due to better surfaces with less irregularities and the tall gearing. Still the lack of power is only evident on the steeper hills where the engine does work noticeably harder. That said, I managed to squeeze 5.2 l/100km out of the Alto on the highway and had I been kinder on the throttle, could have bettered it.
There is room for five as there are five belts, the rear passengers need to be good friends or they will know each other well by journey’s end.
I liked the cute styling of the Alto that with a wheel at each corner design, allows for maximum space and stability. Colours such as the pink I drove will endear it to some and are likely to be spurned by others. Available in manual at $14,990 it is one of NZ’s cheapest vehicles. The auto; add $2000.