Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Most affordable Automatic: Tata Nano AMT vs Maruti Alto AT

Once launched, Tata Nano Genx AMT will be replacing Maruti’s Alto AMT as the most affordable automatic in the country. All these days I hadn’t bothered going to a Maruti showroom and checking out the celerio or Alto AMTs.  But after driving Nano AMT, I felt that I won’t be able to do justice to the review if I don’t check out Alto AMT and offer a comparison with Nano AMT. So I went to nearby Maruti showroom and asked for a test drive, which they offered promptly. In this post, I am giving a brief comparison of the two most affordable automatic cars in the country, to help you decide.

Alto is India's top selling car and comes from the stable of Maruti Suzuki. Maruti is offering a Rs 10000 discount on manual version of Alto, but is not giving any discount on AMT. Alto K10 AMT carries a waiting period of about one month. It will be about 1-1.5 lakhs expensive than Nano AMT, so let us see what extra we'll get for that money and see how it fares with Nano XTA.

Disclaimer: This comparison is based on a short 20 min test drive of Alto K10 AMT and a half day drive in Nano AMT [Detailed review of Nano AMT here]. I couldn't test the cars for all parameters, so if you feel the need for a second opinion, do consult an existing owner or check other reviews on the net.

Exteriors: Alto is longer by about 45 cm but 175 mm shorter than Nano in height. Width is by and large same. Alto looks pretty conventional and doesn't catch attention, but nano can certainly turn heads.
Inside, Nano AMT (left) is a bit easier to operate than Alto. Nano's shift involves only forward and backward movement (for reverse and A, probably stands for Auto), while Alto's D mode involves moving the stick to the left and then down. A little safer to prevent from accidental movement, but needs more hand movement. Alto doesn't have a sports mode. (But Nano's sport mode is not magically peppy either, it is more a marketing trick). Maruti salesman said Alto doesn't have a creep mode, but car does move forward when brake is released slowly, so it effectively has the creep function.

Alto is more powerful with a three cylinder 1 litre, 68 PS engine, while Nano gets a twin pot 624 cc that generates around 37 PS. Even torque is about half its rival. But Nano gets a rear engine, so it is easier to push, than pull (Remember Volvo buses also uses rear engine configuration). The power and torque difference doesn't pose restriction on Nano during normal driving, unless put to heavy duty conditions (more load, highway cruise etc).

Below I have drawn a simple comparison that can help you decide between the two most affordable automatics in India today.
Reasons to go for GenX Tata Nano AMT
Reasons to go for Alto k10 VXi AMT
  1. You already have a car in the family which can be used for long drive, luggage hauling etc and looking for a second car for simple city usage
    2. You want your car to be both affordable and stylish looking
    3. You’re little taller than average and won’t feel very comfortable in other small cars with low roof
    4. You’ve been a fan of Tata Nano and wanted it in an automatic and or more practical way (longer range, open-able rear door etc)
    5. You’ve no intention of putting the car through extreme situations like high speed driving, heavy luggage hauling or loading it with lots of people
    6. The price difference between Nano and its nearest competition- about a lakh or so is tempting to you
  1. You want little more power at your disposal for occasional long drives, uphill drive or luggage hauling
  2. You’re not tall- you prefer a wider and longer car than a taller one
  3. You’re not very particular about looks and style of your car. It is perfectly fine if it doesn’t stand apart in the crowd.
  4. You need more luggage space
  5. You’re worried about resale value (I am not saying Nano won’t give you resale value, but since Nano AMT is a new model, how successful it will be and what kind of resale value we can expect after say 2 years is not very clear at this point. Maruti wins couple of points more in this department)
  6. You’re not constrained by budget and are willing to spend a lakh or two more
Alto VXi AT costs almost 5 lakh rupees in Chennai, on road. Nano's pricing are not known yet, but for sure it will be cheaper by a lakh minimum. (Don't go by the Delhi- Ex showroom price for cheapest variant called in press release, check for on road price of AMT variant in your city)

Both cars have some pros and cons and their own value proposition. Do decide for yourself..


Mohan said...

Just thought of bringing it to your notice. The comparison table that you put, has the same set of points on both columns!

kings holiday said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for bringing it up. I have corrected it now.