This is a contest between India’s best-selling car and its challenger. The contenders may be small, but their battle is one of monumental proportions. The Maruti Alto squares off against Hyundai’s new kid on the block- the Eon.
One glance at the Eon is enough to notice the up-to-date styling of the exteriors. Where the Alto has carried forward its modest, “straight-edge” design through the years, the new Eon has some neat curves that make it stand out among the crowd of hatchbacks on the streets. Coming to size, the Alto is longer but the Eon is wider, taller, and has a slightly wider wheelbase. The Eon’s interiors are well-designed and give a classy feel to the small car, whereas those of the Alto seem a little lackluster in comparison. The cabin space is also more in the Eon and there’s better legroom too. The Alto, though not exactly cramped, is less roomy inside. The boot space of the Eon is also higher than the Alto’s, more or less a result of the larger body size.
One thing the Alto can boast of is power- its 996 cc, 67 bhp K10 engine beats the Eon’s 814 cc, 55 bhp. The Alto engine is smooth too – vibrations are minimal even while accelerating. The Eon’s engine on the other hand is a bit shakier, more so when flooring the gas pedal. The Alto’s acceleration is better, especially through the higher gears where the Eon struggles a bit to keep up. Handling is superb in both cars, and as expected, both are in their element when it comes to tackling the nuances of city driving.
In the much-anticipated test of fuel efficiency, both cars are almost equally matched. The Alto is just ahead in the city traffic at 14 km per liter compared to the Eon’s 13.7, but the Eon makes good ground on the highway, offering 17.2 km per liter vis-à-vis the Alto’s 17.
The Alto offers power steering, front power windows, central locking and side view mirrors that are adjustable from inside the car. The Eon Magna, in addition to these, comes with tilt-adjustable steering, but lacks a tachometer and parcel tray, both of which are present in the Alto VXi. The Eon Sportz offers more bling, namely a driver’s side airbag, keyless entry and a CD player with AUX and USB ports.
Looking at the price, the Eon is predictably more expensive, with its retail value starting at Rs. 3.16 lac (Eon Era) and going up to Rs. 3.71 lac (Eon Sportz). The Alto stands at a modest Rs. 3 lac (LXi model) and goes up to Rs. 3.2 lac (VXi variant).
So all in all, the two cars seem to be evenly matched when taken at face value, but the Alto’s stronghold on the small car market is sure to influence the competition. It wouldn’t be surprising if buyers are apprehensive about trying out the Eon when a more time-tested option is available, speaking of which, it would only be prudent to let time decide the better car.
-by Abhishek Neeli