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Old 13th June 2021, 18:51   #1
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Default The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10

Prelude

My earliest memory of a car is of the Ambassador Nova my father had owned in Oyster Blue. I was a kid aged 3-4 years back then, and memories of that car have almost faded by now. What I though remember is that I used to stand in the co-driver's seat every time we would go for a drive, with my mother holding me as a support. Being a kid, standing on the seat was the only option for me to peek out the window and relish the view outside. Then came a day when father decided to let go the Ambassador for a Carb Maruti 800 STD in Moonbeam Silver colour. It was 2004, and our 800 was from the last batch of carb 800s as MPFI models were introduced in the meantime. It was the 800 which made me an ardent car lover. Contemporarily, I got to watch the Fast and the Furious for the very first time. The car desire kicked in! In the following years, I was given a desktop by my parents. My cousin set me up with the NFS Most Wanted. The craze developed even further! Meantime, an Alto joined the 800 in the stable. As time marched on, my heart started longing to get behind the steering wheel. Though I had to wait for the fulfillment of my fetish till I turned 18! I remember the next day of my birthday, my father gave me the keys of the 800 and said - "This is time!".

My father was a brilliant instructor, and within some months, I got myself a DL. I was appointed as the driver for making errands. Gradually, my ventures were further permitted to National Highways. Having said that, while I was happy behind the steering wheels of our family cars, my friends were getting their own rides which were mostly two wheelers. This is the time in your youth when you want a vehicle of your own. Because of my inability to ride motorbikes, I could not ask my parents for the same. Deep down, my heart longed for a car, any car, which I can call "mine."



Covid and Nationwide Lockdown

On 24 March 2020, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a nationwide lockdown for 21 days to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. At that time, I was in Guwahati attending my university. The sudden addressal of lockdown made me rush back to my native place, Sonari, which is about 450 kms away from Guwahati. Back in home, our family would sit in front of the television and witness the calamity of the virus. As the virus had been highly contagious (it still is), our family decided to boycott any mode of public transportation for the year as much as possible. In my native place, which is a small urban area, the cases of Covid-19 were few. And then suddenly it came into my mind that I will have to move back to Guwahati again to attend my classes when the educational institutions re-open. Guwahati had been the hotspot of Covid-19 cases in Assam. Provided, we were afraid of a Second Wave of the pandemic anytime (which came to be true). These facts made me and my parents anxious. Staying away from the virus meant staying away from the crowd. Before the pandemic, I usually preferred City-buses to commute in Guwahati as the fare is dirt cheap in additional to occasional Uber and Ola rides. Now after the spread of the virus, I was no way ready hopping into buses and cabs. So eventually it indicated that I would need a personal vehicle!

Any teenager of my age would usually ask for a motorbike or gearless scooter as a ride. I would have done that too but the only two-wheeler I can operate comfortably is a bicycle! I do like motorbikes, but essentially, I am a four-wheeler person. In my opinion, at the same cost of bikes which are targeted towards people of my age, one can easily get a used four-wheeler. It has a roof, more seating, much safer and provides much more comfort. So, the equations left me with getting a car. The very next day, I decided to take opinions of my parents. To my wonder, my mother approved my proposal in a jiffy. My father had been a bit unsure but eventually he too made his mind to get me a vehicle and asked me to look for a used car before my university reopens.

Which Car?

I preferably looked for a hatchback. It needed it to be cheap to run and to maintain. Also at the same time, I wanted the car to have a feel-good factor, the car should drive well. It is no wonder that my options were mostly limited to Maruti and Hyundai.

Zen- Gosh I love the Zen! Zen is an iconic vehicle. The first mass market Pocket Rocket in India. It is compact, frugal, cheap to maintain and a hell lot fun to drive. Zen was my first preference no doubt.
The Original Alto -The Alto is a workhorse. It is a cute looking proportional car which will never leave your side no matter what. Though the performance is no match to the Zen, it still is a zippy car to drive. Fill it and forget it, that is what the Alto is.
M800 5S- We have a Maruti 800 carb in our garage. The 800 is extremely abuse friendly and I can vouch for it. While the 4 speed 800 had been just enough in the power figure department, the 5 speed was a totally different animal. Sadly, the 5 speed 800s were exceedingly rare to find.
Santro Xing- Santro is a great car without a doubt. It is practical, spacious, zippy and has an upmarket feel comparatively to the Marutis of the same segment. Though I am not an admirer of the looks of the Santro, I decided to keep in the bucket list.
I10 (Gen 1)- The i10 is a neutral car. It ticks all the boxes a first-time car buyer would want. My parents liked the vehicle. There was no deal breaker as such for the I10. It is a different thing that I could not find one specimen within my budget.


Here I would like to mention that I could have searched for Esteem, the old Baleno, the Gen 1 Figo etc also. But I wanted my first car to be simple and forgiving. Also, being a student, I lacked money and time to keep making frequent visits to garages in case something goes wrong.


The Hunt-

In Assam, the market for used cars is a mess. Sellers, be it individuals or dealers, often demand obnoxious amounts. Also, these cars are always not at the best of their condition. I started my hunt aiming at the Zen. For the first few days, I searched for a specimen locally. I could find 2-3 Zens but they were in a sad condition, making me consider OLX and other online marketplaces. In OLX, I managed to short list 3 cars. Till the time I could make my enquiry, two of them already were already sold. The remaining was a 2002 Zen LX. It looked pretty neat from the outside but when I reached out to the dealer, he sounded very arrogant and shady. I don't prefer making contacts with dusky characters, hence the car was dropped from the list.
In the meantime, I was also looking for the other cars which were in my wish list. I could actually find a Santro in clean condition, but the owner was asking an absurd amount for the car. Ultimately, this car was dismissed too. My close friends and my parents know that I am very picky. Thus, I was not pressurized by anyone to get done with this ordeal as soon as possible. Still and all almost two months went by just checking and dismissing vehicles! My university was also opening in a month, meaning that I had to get myself a vehicle as soon as possible! It was a now or never moment!

Last edited by Phukan_Tridiv : 8th March 2022 at 12:38.
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Old 16th June 2021, 19:54   #2
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Default Re: The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Alto K10

The Change in Plan!

As I had been unable to get a used car within my fiscal estimate, my parents decided to increase the threshold by another 50K. With the new budget, the first car which came to my mind was the Gen 1 Maruti Suzuki Alto K10. My cousin has a K10, and God oh God it is an absolute nippy hatch! Unlike the Zen, used K10s were available easily. I contacted few of sellers through OLX. Mostly were dealers and they were quoting above 2 lakhs for the VXI variants. Though those cars were in neat condition, I had my mind made up not to spend a penny above 2 lakh.

As I was in a hurry, I decided to apply all possible efforts to have myself a deal. Along local dealers, a decision was also made to check with Maruti True Value. The nearest True Value outlet from my place was situated 50 kms away. One fine day, I reached the outlet with my mom. The staff had been welcoming and in no time, we were in their used car parking lot. At that time, they had two K10s for sale, both being the first gen. The first one was the Lxi variant in white color. The car had too many dents and scratches and seemed to be roughly used. Thus, we did not bother ourselves checking out the car. The second example they had was the VXI variant in Silky Silver shade.

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The body panels were in near perfect shape except some minor scratches here and there. Because of the previous lockdown, the car had been in under the sun and spoiling hands of rain for six months. This resulted in 50 shades of silver on the car . Anyway, The interiors were in a better state. I took the keys from the SA and cranked up the engine. K10 roared to life without any hesitation! As if the car had been waiting for this moment since ages! The engine idled smooth and there were no funny noises or vibrations. The insurance of the car had lapsed, so the SA requested me to have a spin inside their establishment. After what possibly could be the shortest test drive of recent times, I found the car to be satisfactory enough. The SA quoted a price of 2.20 lakhs for the car. It was 20k over my budget. I tried negotiating with the SA and after a long event of hustling, he came down to 2.05lakhs, inclusive of a new battery and four new wheel caps. I told him that I will let him know about my decision within 24 hours. Reaching home, it was decided that I will be booking the car. So that’s what I did and scheduled the delivery after two days. The four month long search came to an end, a new member was about the join the garage!

The D-Day

I reached the dealer at 11 am, accompanied by my mom and my buddy Newton. The K10 was thoroughly washed and polished! It almost felt like getting a brand-new car! Though, the romance was short lived as the car ran out of petrol in the washing area and my SA resorted to pushing the car around the parking lot. Nevertheless, Petrol was soon sourced, poured in and the K10 barked into life. The delivery went smooth and by the evening, the car was in our garage! While we were driving back to home, I found the car to be performing better than my exceptions. Let me remind you, I actually bought a used car without having a proper road test because of time constraints. This could have gone wrong in so many ways! Now as the car was doing well, I was assured that it would run this way, and the money is not wasted.

The very next day, I took the car to a known mechanic for a check-up. He checked the car in detail and told me that I have made a good purchase. The car is mechanically fine apart from two worn bearings (Front Wheels) and a leaking shock absorber (Front left). I decided to change both front shock-absorbers as the other would require replacement anyway in some days. Along with these, I performed a quick service to the car which included-

• New Engine Oil- 5w30 (Shell Helix Semi Synthetic).
• Flushing and refilling the coolant (Ecstar).
• New Air Filter and Cabin AC Filter (MGP).
• New Front brake pads (TVS Girling).
• Cleaning the rear drum brake setup.

The final bill was around 6k which was very cheap and reasonable. The next thing the car needed was a set of new tyres. The car was on Bridgestone S322 155/65 R13 rubbers, which is the OEM size. The rear two tyres had some thread left so it was decided to change the front two only for the time. I wanted an upgrade in size as I felt the stock ones to be a bit puny. The correct upsize would have been 165/60 R13 but I was unable to find tyres in that size. So I plonked in two 165/65 R13 Yokohama Earth 1 tyres. Compared to the earlier stock setup, these had a slightly a bigger diameter. The mismatch in diameter did not result any change in normal speeds. More on that later.

For a couple of weeks, I drove the car around my hometown for some 500 kms. In these 500kms, I did not encounter any issue except noticing the front left headlamp bulb not glowing at its full potential. I simply thought the bulb to be faulty and bought a new headlight bulb from MGP store and went to a technician for the replacement. While replacing the bulb, the technician and I, were astonished finding that the faulty bulb in question was a 90/100w, that too without a relay! Now if you are not aware, the stock headlight bulbs of the K10 are of 60/55W and one must install a relay setup to put in higher wattage bulbs. Anyway, I took it as negligence of the previous owner and went on to install the new bulb. The bulb was installed and they were operating on their full glory. A happy me paid the technician and sat on the car to head home. And it was the moment when the hell broke loose! The car refused to start! The starter motor was engaging but the but the car was not firing up. I immediately checked the fuel gauge. The tank was half full. I tried to start her up once again but the same story repeated. On the third attempt, I came to realize that the fuel pump was not working. I jumped off the car, lifted the hood and checked the fuse box. Meanwhile, the technician also arrived at the spot. I located the fuse of the fuel pump, checked, and installed it again. This time the car started effortlessly. So I deduced the cause to be a loose fuse.

The aura of the next morning was disrupted by the same issue. I had to reinstall the fuse again for the pump to start working. As the event occurred twice in a time-frame of 24 hours, I was very much sure that the fuse itself is faulty. Soon I bought a new fuse and replaced the earlier one. Now the car was starting fine but the left headlight bulb went dim. The bulb was only replaced a day before so the situation was kind of funny. A frustrated me reached the shop where I had replaced the bulb just a day ago. The technician was also puzzled. He tried installing another bulb of same wattage, and the results were same. It was concluded by both parties that something is either wrong with the bulb holder or the wiring itself. He checked the holder and found it to be okay.After maintaining a minute of silence, he dropped the atom bomb by declaring that my car has faulty wiring! He further said that I will have to drop my car for a day in his shop as checking the complete wiring of the car will require a lot of time. Hearing his words, I started feeling tensed as we all know wiring issues are chronic if not solved in a single go. The technician further added that it would be better if I take the car to MASS as he has his expertise on trucks not on such small vehicles. Luckily, I have some known faces in our nearest MASS. Reaching them, I was confirmed that the issue is originating in the fuse box. After some minutes of further investigation, my technician declared the headlamp relay to be the culprit. He added that the fuse slot of the Fuel Pump had some debris inside which was causing the fuse to come out. And the issue of the dim headlight was reverted to the faulty relay. He asked me if anyone had installed higher wattage bulbs without an extra relay setup. We all know what my reply was. So finally, a new relay worth of 250 rs was installed and the fuse slots were cleaned. Till the date of writing this review, this issue has not been repeated again.

The New Set of Keys

When I bought the car, I was given both the keys. It was my short-sightedness that I did not test the spare key. Later, it was revealed that the spare key was made locally and it did not have immobilizer setup, meaning this key was good for opening the locks only. I could have lived with it but having a non-functional key was itching my mind. Now I had two options, take the main key to MASS and request them to provide me with a new spare key, of course with the immobilizer ecosystem, or to order a complete new set of keys and locks for the car. I decided to go with the second option. As it was a pre owned car, I was a bit afraid of the fact that someone somewhere may possess an extra pair of key to the car without my knowledge. A totally new setup would establish peace in mind. The next day, I went to the nearest MASS and placed an order for the new key and lock set. I was called in for the installation after a week. The procedure took around two hours. After the immobilizer code was verified, I was handed over a set of brand new keys. It certainly felt like as if I have bought a new car! Once again!

Last edited by Phukan_Tridiv : 23rd February 2022 at 10:38.
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Old 24th June 2021, 17:10   #3
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Default Re: The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Alto K10

The Alto K10 was introduced at the year 2010. MSIL targeted the K10 towards the youth begging for cheap thrills. An Alto with added 20BHP! This was insane as Alto already had been a zippy car! The K10B was first introduced in India through the A-Star, which was also pitched to the young guns. Unfortunately, even being a good product, it could not capture the market. Meantime, India witnessed rising numbers of young car purchasers, who wanted a cheap and fun ride as their first vehicle. Alto satisfied the former need but was missing the fun factor somewhere. Then maybe Maruti started remenscising the Zen! The original hot hatch of India! It is a pity that they lined up Estillo in their Zen portfolio, which was already a no no for the teenagers. Then it was decided that Alto with the K10B inside will be reincarnation of the Zen!

At the time of the launch of the K10 Alto, the OG F8D Alto was still at sale. This translated that MSIL was hell bent on achieving what A-Star could not. The advertisement for the K10 was also very interesting and it had hints that K10 is pitched to the young guns. And it worked too! K10 was fast, had a low slung nature, had basic amenities and the Alto tag! K10 was a success! There is saying that no matter what car it launches, if it is a Maruti, it will sell. Same applies here, K10 was adored not only by youths but buyers from all ages. What is even fascinating that this phenomena happened without any disruption to the demand of the OG F8D Alto!

In 2014, the second generation of the K10 came in. I would call it a downgrade. It no more had the low slung stance. It was not pretty and looked like a stretched Alto 800, which is an epitome of ugliness. The interior was freshened a bit but with some tradeoffs. It no more had One Touch Window Down (Driver Side), Window Locks. Also the switches were relocated near the handbrake region. What irritates me even further that this generation was a go to car for cab operators . Anyway, AGS was introduced in this generation which made it an ideal commuter car. Yet, it no more had the charm of the first generation.

As mentioned previously, K10 was weirdly positioned in the market. It rivaled its own siblings, the F8D alto and the Alto 800. Other than that, the rest of the competitors had been the Eon and the Kwid. Out of all these cars, K10 stood out in the driving dynamics and power. That being the case, it had no other thing is such to make it the best from the rest. Eon had better interiors and Kwid, which was launched in 2015, had better equipments. In spite of all that, sales of the K10 never dropped.

By 2020, Maruti had a plethora of cars having the K10B engine. Also it was the time when S-Presso stepped in to the market with the same engine. Perhaps they were bored of this chain and decided to let go one car. The K10 was axed. The lightest car with the K10B met its fate.

Before I unfold other chapters of my ownership, I would like to present my brief takes on the K10. Note that these speculations are based on the stock mode of the K10.
The Good
1. The K10B is gem of an engine which begs to be revved hard. Also, the NVH levels of the K10B are exceptional even though being a 3 pot engine.
2. Defines what a Pocket Rocket is! Even in the stock form, K10 is enough to surprise cars from segment above!
3. Minimal body roll. The low slung nature of the K10 ensures you have fun around the corners.
4. Peanuts to maintain. Fill it and forget it. It will always stand by your side!
5. The OEM suspension setup comes a bit stiff from factory, translating good driving dynamics.

The Bad
1. Extremely cramped. Even the jellybean Zen had more space to offer. The boot is a joke.
2. Not a safe car by any means. Though the sheet quality is not as flimsy as most modern Marutis.
3. Brakes are either hit or miss. I would call them progressive as the initial biting point is weak. One needs to get used to the brakes for correct operation.
4. Steering feedback is something left to be desired upon. Better calibration like the Zen could have done wonders.
5. The car tends to understeer in sharp manoeuvres all thanks to the added weight of the K10B block. The car rides on the same age old chassis layout of the original Alto.
5. One of the few Marutis with a notchy gear shift. I still mess up gears at times. I Wonder how it is possible with a Maruti!

Things That Could Have Been Better-

1. Maruti could have reworked the chassis. Better handling could have done wonders to the overall feel.
2. Though it was launched way back in 2010, Maruti could have provided safety equipments. At least airbags! What even bothers me more that the instrument cluster has indicative lights for airbags, translating that we are barred from having the commodities the export models get.
3. Improvisation on interiors could have been done.
4. The K10B has a poor low end. Driving it in B2B traffic is an ordeal. Though this applies to the engine and is not particularly a bitter dish reserved for the Alto K10.
5. In a standstill K10, the similarities to the original Alto are so evident that at times the appealistic attributes becomes
monotonous! Maruti could have distinguished better.

The First Long Drive-

The distance between my native place and my university, which is located in Guwahati, is about 450 kms. These 450 kms are a mix bag of bad, good and brilliant roads. Provided, this route (NH-37) has been under four lane expansion since last 10 years or so. Thus, at some particular stretches, the roads are in a real bad shape. I did all the necessary checks prior to my first drive in the K10 to Guwahati and in a fine January morning, I set off. I was accompanied by two of my friends in this trip. Here I would like to add that the K10 is strictly is 3 seater if you have luggage with you. The boot is a joke and one has to carry most of the luggage in the rear seat. On top of that, we were returning to our university after spending almost a year in our homes. Indeed the car was loaded to its full potential! It took us almost 7 hours to complete the journey. The first trip was done without any hiccups. The fuel efficiency was later calculated to be at 20.1 Km/l (50% AC).

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A halt in Kaziranga

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I had some money saved for minor modifications on the K10. My principle was that my K10 should stand out from the ordinary K10s. What should have been some minor upgrades, now have gone past all my propositions. This is where the K10 gets its personality, and the name "Zuki".

I have a habit of personifying my personal items, the ones which are very close to me. As the symbiosis between me and my car was getting stronger, I decided to give K10 a name. What name? Naming things have never been a fortitude for me. I was stuck with one name though, "Oltu". Oltu, as you may have guessed it, is a drift from Alto. Anyway, that was too humble of a name. K10 is a already a very humble looking car. Oltu would have made it even humbler! So what else? A dear friend of mine suggested the name "Mimi". Good name but falls prey to the earlier issue. Thereupon, ironically, the name "Zuki" clicked. If I narrate the event, it may sound funny! I was debadging the hatch of my car. While removing the Maruti Suzuki emblem, my shaky hands managed to break the emblem in half. "SU" was gone from the "ZUKI"! This was Archimedes going Eureka! I got the name! Zuki it is!

Last edited by Phukan_Tridiv : 8th March 2022 at 12:20.
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Old 3rd September 2021, 20:44   #4
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Default Re: The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Alto K10

Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis is the transformation of one simple organism to complex. Zuki, had been a simple K10, another brick in the wall of K10s. My ambition was to make Zuki unique. The oath was taken and I made some blueprints. Till this date, this has been an exciting experience for me! There have been trials and errors and investment and wastage of money. But at the end of each day, it is all worth it.

The Wheel Upgrade

K10 comes with 155/65 R13 rubber from the factory. These were okay for the K10 but not for me. I wanted a slightly meaty look which made me install wider rubber. Now I had already replaced the front two with 165/65 R13 tires and the rear two were on stock size. This very move depicts my infantilism towards to technical aspects. The new tyres in front had different specification from the rear. Zuki was now staggered and handled terribly as I did not do much study on why diameter of all the wheels should be same throughout. Nevertheless, I corrected the mistake by changing them to the same specification of the front. The correct upsize would have been 165/60 R13 for the retention of stock circumference. But I was unable to find that size, provided the tyre import ban did not help either. Anyway post installation, the GC of the car went up by some millimeters as the new rubbers had a slightly higher circumference. Provided, the ride was a tide bit comfier all thanks to the taller side-profile.

With the new set of rubbers, I drove around for 2k kilometers, including a drive to my hometown and back. In this drive I managed to notice that post 90km/h, the car would start shivering. It was so bad that in north of the 100km/h mark, the steering would totally become free. I did not take enough time to understand that the steel rims have been the culprit. The stock rims were in a sad shape, having bents all over in the edges. It was so bad that balancing the wheels were of no help either! These rims had to go. And if they are going, why don't I just put alloys? For any car lover, the urge for alloys is irresistible!

At this stage, I had no much idea about width, offset and other informations related to alloys. It had its repercussions, which did haunt me soon after. More on that later. Coming back to the shopping experience, to be honest, most of the alloy designs in 13" are rather boring. Luckily, I could find a decent style and decided to go with it.

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Ready for new alloys

The specimen I opted for were made by Infinity Taiwan. These were of negative offset, meaning they would stick out of the body. It was dark by the time installation. Under the artificial lightning conditions, I found them to suit the car very well. Though I am not much a fan of protruding wheels, these alloys, though being negative, elevated the stance of the car. But wait, Zuki did not take it well. As I had previously installed tires with a bigger circumference, in this negative alloys setup, the tires would rub the inside of the wheel well when the car is steered from lock to lock. The dealer said that I will have to remove the mud guards for once and for all, and hammer the inside of the wheel well marginally. As there were solutions to the problem, I decided to pay them up and call it a day. The cost for 5 alloys had been 20k, translating 4k for one.

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With the new set of Alloys! Bling Bling enough?

The very next day, I got up early and made an inspection of the setup in daylight. Overall, it was looking good but the wheels were protruding a bit more to my taste. As the tires were sticking out, it meant that the rear wheels would rub the body under heavy load. The aura of the sweet morning was shattered with the fact that I have pretty much killed practicality! Generally, one should change the tires while having new rims. But I had been short sighted in this matter. Nevertheless, after a few hours, I stepped in a garage to hammer the insides of the front wheel wells. The rear ones were also slightly pulled outside. The job was done in an hour and the front tires were not touching the inner wheel wells anymore in lock to lock maneuvers. There were negative aspects of the new setup but it also had some beneficial angles. For starters, the car was not shivering anymore post 100km/h. Even on hitting triple digit speeds the car was rather doing fine. Secondly, the negative offset translated to a slightly wider track, which compensated the increase in GC in the handling department. Thirdly, the car was a looker now (or maybe not) . But misadventures were bound to happen.


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Posing

The car had a dent on the boot door. As it was sticking out like a sore thumb, I decided to get rid of the dent. I went to my known garage and was quoted 3K for the whole job. I left Zuki in the shop for the day and returned at the evening to pick Zuki up. Subsequently, I was told by the painter that the front bumper of the car had been repainted once. He enquired me if I my car was involved in an accident. Clearly, I did not know as it was a second hand car. The painter then started elaborating that the front bumper is slightly misaligned, which generally happens if you crash into something. Hearing his words, I recalled that the RHS headlamp unit of the car is also new! So maybe the car actually did meet with an accident at some point of time. Though, it was most probably a minor accident as the car had no other symptoms, specifically in the driving department. So it was narrowed down to the conclusion that the collision had been a light one! Phew!

[i]Ddpai Mola N3 Dash Camera[/I
]- If you ask me, a Dashcam is a must have in these days. In case of any mishap, you at least have a video proof which makes things easier for you. Other than that, a good dashcam is very fruitful in capturing beautiful roads and sceneries. After getting the car, the first thing I bought was the dashcam, which is DDPAI made Mola N3, from Amazon. The camera costed me 6000 Rs including a hardwire kit. It can record in the resolution of 2K+ and has a 140° wide angle coverage. The quality of the recorded videos is very good and one can easily distinguish registration plates. Provided, the F1.8 aperture brings in amazing night recordings. The same camera has a option to get a GPS module along with it but as my budget was low, I decided to go without the GPS module.
The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-dash.jpeg



Day Night IRVM
The K10 does not come with dimming IRVM. During night drives, dimming IRVM is a necessity. Sadly, there is OEM dimming option for the K10. The IRVM assembly of K10 is mounted to the roof integrated with the dome light. There are enough aftermarket options for dimming IRVM but I wanted a stock look. In this matter, I was assisted by fellow Bhpian Chiranjit_P. He mentioned that the old F10D WagonR VXI had a similar IRVM setup and also has manual dimming provision. He shared me the part number and the order was placed in Boodmo. The cost came to be 665 Rs.

Installation had been very simple and the installation hardly took 10 minutes. The only required tool was a screwdriver.

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Part Number

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The Dimming IRVM from F10 D WagonR (VXi)

NGK Iridium Spark Plugs
My car came with Champion RC8YC Spark plugs and had enough life left. Still, I wanted to get them changed (for absolutely no reason at all). I had heard a lot about iridium spark plugs and their long life. Some also mention that iridium spark plugs helps a wee bit in performance (debatable). Thus, I decided to give it a shot. Locally, I could not find any for K10B motor. Also on the internet, things were quite confusing. Apparently only Denso listed compatible Iridium Spark Plugs for the K10B motor. Call it my hard luck, the stocks were nil in all the sites. Coming to NGK, they did have Iridium Spark Plugs on sale but in their compatibility chart, the K10B motor was missing. A confused me checked in Boodmo for Iridium Spark Plugs for the K10B and the results showed NGK made DCPR7EIX. I did a little cross comparation study and was made sure that these will go in without any problem. A single plug was being retailed for 790 Rs and thus a set of three costed me 2,370Rs. Now I remind you, these spark plugs cost about 7 times higher than traditional spark plugs. Regarding the claims made by users of Iridium Spark Plugs, I had been skeptical. After installation, what I could notice was a slightly better mid-range (may be a placebo effect) and a bit smoother idling. Regarding mileage, I see no difference. So would I recommend? Well not really as you are not likely to find any major difference. Still, if you want to try them out, why not?
The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-spark.jpeg

Side Skirts We Indians did not adore side skirts. Maybe because they do not hold any practical purpose as such. Also, with the towering speed breakers on our roads, side skirts are prone to scratches. Nevertheless, I love how adding side skirts enhance the look of any given vehicle. I wanted to have them in Zuki as well. Though, because of it being less popular among the masses, aftermarket side skirts are nearly impossible to find, specifically for a car like Alto. There have been some custom fabricators with good designs in their arsenal. The fly in the pie was the pricing! Thereupon, a friend mine suggested of considering the OEM skirts that came in the WagonR Stingray. It was a solid suggestion as they were listed for 1400 a pair! I went to an MGA store and luckily managed to get hold of them. After measuring, they came to be inch perfect fit for K10! I got them painted in body colour and the whole process was a deduction of 2.3K from my wallet.

Roof Wrap
Being a low slung car, the roof of the K10 is easily visible. I saw one K10 with a blackened roof one day which looked very appealing to me. Hence, decision was made to do the same in Zuki. The wrapping was done in Autowraps Guwahati. They are professional in this business and use Avery Dennison Sheets. Cost was at 3.5K inclusive of installation charges. It was a looker, though the trade off was that in hot summer days, the cabin heats up pretty fast as the black roof absorbs much more heat!
The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-roof-wrap.jpg

The Music

The original Alto, and the first generation of the K10 has horrible music staging. The placement for the speakers are rather weird. The designers did not get their melodies correct. As most of you would know, the my generation of the K10 has the same interior layout of the decade old original Alto, apart from the instrumental cluster. There are though some new design elements swinging in, but to my eyes, they don't stand out. Coming back to the speaker situation, there is no provision to place speaker in any of the four doors. The front staging is served by two tiny 4" speakers located in the top of the dash. For rear, you need to get a parcel tray to place the speakers. With such a tiny boot, adding a parcel tray is a tradeoff. Either you vibe to your music, or simply sacrifice your tunes for those luggage. For me, luckily space has never been a concern. I am a single driver and rear seats, let alone the boot, are rarely used. When I got the K10, it came with a Sony Xplod HU with two Xplod Coaxials on the rear parcel tray. It was free estate so I would not complain. Well, to my starcrossed luck, the HU decided to go dead the next morning. I did not bother repairing it as it lacked bluetooth connectivity and my phone lacked auxiliary port. So gone for good. For some weeks, the duty of the HU was done by my tiny faithfull JBL bluetooth speaker. For city commutes, it was just at the borderline of being okay. In highway trips, the music was incomprehensible, thanks to the horrible NVH levels of the K10. A new HU had to come in! After some 10 days or so, I got myself a Blaupunkt Colombo BT 130. At this point of time, I was ignorant of what makes a good audio setup. It had bluetooth which was my prime concern. Well, boy oh boy! A terrible waste of 3.5K! I did hear some good things about Blaupunkt but this was more like a rebranded cheap chinese HU. The low frequencies or what we call the bass was alien to the system. Heck even my bluetooth speaker could do well. Provided, the speakers were also at their last stage of life, and to my prediction, one did go blank in a fine evening. I was now left with 3 speakers of which two were in the front, installed when purchasing the Blaupunkt HU and the last standing coaxial in the rear. Perhaps for a normal Alto user, it was more than enough. But for me, it was adequate for listening to nothing but news and weather forecast. As the days went by, my highway voyages were also quantified. It was evident that this setup has to go, and so the operation begins!

The very first thing I needed to replace was the HU. I am not an android HU type of person. My preference was in decent enough sound quality paired with brand trust. The prime options were Kenwood, Sony and Pioneer. While I was in the market, due to some shortage of supplies, I could only find my desired specification with Sony. The unit I bought is Sony DSX A410BT. I have previous experience of this stereo and I would call it a jack of all trades. The sound quality is decent and the system provides a 10 bands adjustable equalizer. Also, it comes with a dedicated option to control the subwoofer, if installed any. The HU costed me 6.2K inclusive of fitting. The output was now light years ahead of the previous specification. With one goal fulfilled, then came the need of new speakers. I got myself two Pioneer 6.5 Coaxials and installed them in the tray. It was a DIY process which did not take more than 10 minutes. With the new speakers paired up with the Sony HU, the overall experience exceeded my levels of expectation. The bass was there, the mids were strong and the highs were distinct. Also, the front two Sony 4" speakers started to sound better after being paired up with new HU. A clear example why processing factor of the HU plays a pivotal role in a setup. Now I could do my highway trips singing along my dearest artists.

Before I proceed further, let me announce that I am never easily satisfied. Sticking to a monotonous environment has never been one of my virtues. My system, in a very basic layout, sounded better than most of the K10s. But was it enough to stand apart or to even compete with cars with segments above my humble K10? Of course not! After listening to it for some two months, I had a realisation that I need more bass, or a subwoofer to precise. Also, the staging needed to be sorted as it was biased towards the rear. Now let me unfold the later events one by one. I will begin with the subwoofer. A teenager of 21 adores bass. That is a fact. For this, I had two types of subwoofers to choose from- Active and Passive. The former has an amplifier of its own while the latter does not. The active subwoofer generally sell for higher prices than the Passive counterparts, except some generic specimen which are not good investment in my opinion. With boot space crisis in mind, I searched for a subwoofer which has decent enough performance in minimal space required. The search narrowed to Pioneer TS-WX306B. The RMS of the woofer is rated in 300 watts and the peak is at 1300 watts. This purchase costed my by 8k rupees.

After the subwoofer, it was time to grab an amplifier to power it up. I ended up grabbing a Pioneer GM-E7004 4 channel 1000 watts amplifier, paying 7.1K rupees. As it had 4 channel output, two channels were bridged to power the subwoofer and the remaining two were used to power the coaxials. The wiring was done in a local shop and an extra fuse at the battery terminal was installed to protect the setup from any misfortune. With these two going inside Zuki, the whole experience was boosted noticeably. Finally Zuki possessed what James May had famously mentioned- "a bangin' stereo for me tunes!"

Everything was going smooth, I was content with the add ons. But along my smug, what doubled was my concern for boot space, for the first time. With that subwoofer and the parcel tray in place, I was good with two school bags. In the meantime, I also happened to have planned some road trips with my buddies. I did not want any of them to sit on their rucksacks or vice-versa. Provided, the rear parcel did squeak terribly on bad roads. Therefore, conclusion came that the rear speakers need to be relocated and tray has to go. But where do I relocate the speakers to? There is no provision on the doors. My initial idea was to fit the coaxials in the rear hatch panel. But because the first generation of the K10 had hatch mounted number plates, there was not enough cavity from inside to mount the speakers. I was adamant though. What I did was remove the rear door trims and look for accomodation to speakers. After doing some research work, I reached to a conclusion that there is enough cavity and clearance to mount 6.5" Coaxials on the door. Though as you may have guessed it, the plastic panel needed to be cut down. Cutting the panel was of no harm to me as Zuki had already landed on the geography of a project car. Therefore, the final decision was to do this "jugaad." I bought a pair of Rockford Fostgate Prime 6.5" coaxials and kickstarted the ceremony of mounting the speakers. Maruti most likely have never though that someone would do such a manoeuvre, as there had been OEM pointing points for the speaker. What we had to do was to drill mount a speaker spacer as the the mounting frame of the speakers to the frame of the door. Afterwards, the speaker were tightly secured on the spacers.
The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-spacers-2.jpg
Spacers mounted

The job done was good. If I had opted for OEM speaker grills Maruti provides, a layman would surely miss it as factory fitted. Here, I would like to add that the new coaxials paired better with the amplifier, producing better music than before. The cherry on the top was that because of this relocation of speakers, the staging came to be better than before!
The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-speakers-place.jpg
The Result

What now remains is a damping process and adding better speakers in the front. I plan on adding components on the front doors, with applying the same cutting and pasting method applied to set up the rear door speakers.

Blunder with Alloys
Negative alloys are maybe looker for some, but for me it has been more of a ricer setup. Also, the protruding wheels translated into collision between the sidewall of the tyre and the fender lips. The wheel wells of Alto are not very accomodating in the first place. It came to situation that I had to install 2" shocker spacer in the rear to save my tyres. However, it was a stupid move. With the spacers, the front shockers were now more compressed. Also, in case of hard braking, car was not stable anymore. From the rear, it looked horrendous too! One more ordeal was cleaning the car every other day. With the wheels sticking out, my car was a commodity of profit for washing centers. I was pissed up and frustrated. In the intervening period, I did search for other alloys, but most of them were still kissing the fenders at some point. It was almost decided with a heavy heart that I will be going back to steelies. Except, fate provided me with an option. One of my mutual friends was selling his set of alloys from his Alto. He was keen on having a wide wheel setup like me. This was an event that we both could help each other out! I reached his place to check the alloys. They were of HRS in 13''. The alloys were in next to new condition. Though what I did not like was the color combo. They were painted in black with red lips. Anyway, I could not be too picky as I liked the design. A deal was made and Zuki came home in new shoes.
The exchanged alloys
The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-alloy-rb.jpg

The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-alloy-rb-2.jpg

Because of the colour dilemma, I reached a painter the next day and told him to spray them in Gunmetal Grey. The results satisfied my taste buds and the setup made Zuki look even better than before! The shocker spacers were removed, and the car was back to its former glory.
The new shade

The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-alloy-painted.jpg

The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-new-painted-alloys.jpg
Looks way better than previous setup!

It was all going fine, and then adversity peeks in again. I was travelling to my native place with four people and luggage on board. On undulations, I found out that the rear tyres were still scrapping the body at some certain scenarios. It was tremendously dangerous as any profound cut to the sidewalls would lead to bursting of the tyre. The occurrence was bothering me as the new alloys had perfect offset, also the wheels were tucked inside the body. The answer was to measure the gap between the tyre and the wheel arch. When I peeked inside the arch for measurement purposes, I found the devil! It was an extension of the body sheet which was rolled inside the wheel arch, blocking space. Here I would again mention that I have slightly wider tyres than stock, which makes it easier to understand the reason behind the scrapping. After finding the criminal, I had two choices. Either I trim it down, or switch back to stock wheel setup for once and for all. I made up my mind to go with the first. The extension was trimmed with a grinder and anti rusting paste was applied as precaution. Since this ritual, I am yet to be racked with the scrapping scenario.


BMC Conical Air Intake
I had heard a lot of things about aftermarket performance air filters. Some of the reviews were against them while some were in their favour. Performance aftermarket filters let more air go in for combustion. But then kicks in the fear of sucking in more dust particles. Specifically in India, the situation with dust needs no further elaboration. So, I questioned myself if it is worth grabbing one. Well, there was only one way to find out the answer! Grab one and see the results! I had three manufacturers in my wishlist- K&N, BMC and HPI Japan. If you ask me, I had no definite choice. The buying came down on availability of the specimen. K&N was easily available in the market. And a lot of fake ones too! So I decided to try my luck on the other two. HPI Japan was going past my budget. Therefore, just like any other confused human being, I decided to go with the median.
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BMC is an Italy based company which is an old player in the tuning scene. Call it my luck, a dealer happened to have a piece left in his stock. Impatient me bought the filter immediately! The particulars are BMC FBSA60-150. It is a single mouth conical breather. Installation was plug and play. The stock air box was removed and the new intake was mounted to the mouth of the inlet pipe.
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What happens now? Was the purchase fruitful? The answer is yes! Frankly, I was not expecting much. Yet, the results were noteworthy. The low end (Which is stupid in the K10B) was improved. Past 2.5K RPM, the car pulled stronger than before! The cherry on top was the growling suction sound. In excitement, I kept circling around my block numerous times that day! So yes! The purchase has been worthy! But what about all the dust? Has it been a tradeoff with the longevity of the engine? For the first question, I would say that if you do routine maintenance of the intake, you are pretty much on the safer side. These intakes come with lifetime warranty. Meaning if you pamper them enough, they may outlast the car itself. I believe this also answers the second question. Not letting it to get choked is the deal. The risk looms in the horizon but the performance bump overshadows it!

Catback Exhaust System
Good music system- Checked! Subwoofer- Checked! Alloys-Checked! Intake- Checked! Now what? Yes the exhaust obviously! Which teenager does not like loud cars after all? The car felt very incomplete to me without the exhaust mod. Now let me mention that I don't like obnoxiously loud daily drivers. Also, if they are 3 pot, good luck having a decent enough sound! Also, to me, if you are upgrading the exhaust system of your ride, it should be additive in the performance sector too. Sadly, I belong to a city where people are after sound only. To be specific, a muffler or end-can upgrade is where the business starts and end. I did not want Zuki to have just a muffler upgrade. Also, with the conical intake, the car screamed for a performance exhaust. As my city did not have any fabricator to be my santa, I had to start the hunt in different cities. Upon doing some searching here and there on the internet, I came to know about Mark Performance Exhaust. They are located in Mumbai and fabricate custom exhaust systems. Kudos to my motorhead buddies, I received the contact details of one of the official dealers of Mark Performance Exhaust. His venture is by the name DV Automobiles. The guy is a gentleman and has apt knowledge on his specialization. We talked and decided for a catback exhaust for Zuki. I was a bit low on budget hence the material of the exhaust was decided to be of Mild Steel (Coated with Anti-Rust) with SS tip. The resonator was decided to be deleted for a bump in performance. But wait again! Why a catback setup? Why not full system? This is has two answers. First, I was low on Vitamin M. Second, the catalytic convertor in the K10 is placed in the exhaust manifold. So deleting the catcon translates to having custom headers. And I can do it separately in future when bank balance is balanced enough to balance the flow of money on upgrades ! The order was placed! The total bill was at 12K. 10k for the exhaust and the rest for the delivery. I would call the deal very reasonable! Upon receiving the shipment, I rushed to my FNG to get it fitted. It was a quick job. The engineers of the exhaust managed to have a perfect execution.
The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-mpe.jpg


The old system was dropped and the new one was put in. Came the time to crank up, Zuki was not silent anymore. My mechanic and I were smiling. That explains everything! The exhaust did not sound obnoxiously loud. Even though being a 3 pot, the sound was not trashy. I had requested the manufacturer to fabricate the system in such a way that it does not irritatingly humm in idle. They did their homework and showered me with satisfaction. Now comes the driving part. The low end received an extra bit of punch. The difference was significant in midrange and top end. The car pulled stronger than before, enough to get past some cars above Zuki's segment, and to make me grine. The BMC intake was now in a better ecosystem. A big smile did not leave my face for days!
I have shared the links to the video samples of the exhaust note below-

https://youtube.com/shorts/sbn31ajE6Vo?feature=share

https://youtube.com/shorts/hTCOHZqdgSs?feature=share

Last edited by Phukan_Tridiv : 8th March 2022 at 12:21.
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Old 11th February 2022, 11:46   #5
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The Journey So Far

As I am compiling this thread, Zuki has munched 25k kms in my possession. These miles have been without worries or any hiccups. Zuki is soon going to clock 90k kms. Yet, no signs of aging so far. It handles like new, rides like new, picks up pace like new as if the car has digested some anti aging pills. The journey so far has been thrilling.
The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-mawkdak-click.jpg
Doggo rests as Zuki rests

The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-meghayala-click.jpg
Somewhere in Meghalaya

While I was purchasing the car, I was haunted by the doubt if the car would be worthy. After 1.5 years and 25k kms, I believe I stand in the position to conclude my doubts. YES! Zuki is worth! I could have bought cars one or two segments above the K10 in 2 Lakhs. I could have gotten more comfortable and practical cars in this price. To answer this, I will make you all remind that I wanted my first car to be forgiving. Which the K10 is!
The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-side-profile.jpg

People tend to establish some sort of emotional connection with their first vehicle. When I bought Zuki, my plan was to use the car 2-3 years and then dispose it for something else. Well it seems like I have now ended up in the different end of the spectrum. Zuki is not merely a mode of transport but also a friend now with whom I can communicate. A faithful companion that would never leave your side no matter what! Zuki feels like family. It has witnessed so many things with me so far. Well, I feel I will never be able to part ways with Zuki. As poets say, looking for reasons is a waste of time. If there's the emotion, there's the connection. Hence, Zuki will live, for I feel the emotion!

I would like to thank fellow Bhpian chiranjitp and Tanveer02 for encouraging me to write a thread and guiding me on
how to compose one!

Now as we conclude my story with Zuki, I would like to wind up with some pictures, as they express things that words can not! Thank you everyone for reading!

The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-samurai.jpg

The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-uzan-bazar-click.jpg

The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-pose-2.jpg

The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-forest-click.jpg
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Last edited by Phukan_Tridiv : 8th March 2022 at 12:15.
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Old 9th March 2022, 07:06   #6
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 9th March 2022, 09:03   #7
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Awesome write-up mate! Straight from the heart. That car is surely a pocket-rocket which is light on pocket. Puts a BIG smile on the face of anyone who drives it. What are the improvements after the air filter and exhaust mods?
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Old 9th March 2022, 09:19   #8
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Originally Posted by BhaskarG View Post
Awesome write-up mate! Straight from the heart. That car is surely a pocket-rocket which is light on pocket. Puts a BIG smile on the face of anyone who drives it. What are the improvements after the air filter and exhaust mods?
Thank you BhaskarG. After the intake mod, the midrange and low range went significantly better. To dismiss any possibilities of placebo effect, I did drive the car back to back shuffling between the stock and the conical intake setup. Coming to the exhaust, it is more of a melody to your ears!

Last edited by Phukan_Tridiv : 9th March 2022 at 09:30.
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Old 9th March 2022, 10:13   #9
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Default Re: The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10

Excellent write-up Tridiv. Love your car and the mods.
I have shown your car pics to a friend of mine who wanted to spice up his K10, will sent this link as well.
By the way, the golden 1st gen swift zxi in one of your pics, i think I have seen it somewhere.

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Last edited by Rudra Sen : 9th March 2022 at 12:36.
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Old 9th March 2022, 10:51   #10
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Excellent post mate. I love cheap and reliable used cars. Performance like the K10 is a bonus. Though our roads are in horrible shape right now and these days there’s a lot of truck traffic on the highway, its best to relax and enjoy the scenic view and the engine. Lovely writeup.
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Old 9th March 2022, 13:01   #11
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I drove the K10 for 5 years. Would have kept it for many more years but family needed biggish ride, so got Ignis. I still get jealous of people who hog parking at work with their K10s. It rides like a motorcycle, man and machine becomes one, it's that easy to live with. And the power was excellent for a single person driving. Have overtaken many a big cars in third gear in city traffic. Flies like a jet. The best takeaway from driving the K10 was learning how to park in tight spaces with the best and optimum use of mirrors. Till this day I never use rear parking cameras, even in very big cars. It is disorienting. A sense of measuring experience gained over years of driving the K10 naturally gets adapted to bigger vehicles when it comes to parking in very tight areas. Lucky are the people who started out with K10 and not with some hatchback loaded with gizmos, which doesn't add to hard learning experience.

Last edited by driver52001 : 9th March 2022 at 13:03.
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Old 9th March 2022, 13:09   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkaushik View Post
Excellent write-up Tridiv. Love your car and the mods.
I have shown your car pics to a friend of mine who wanted to spice up his K10, will sent this link as well.
By the way, the golden 1st gen swift zxi in one of your pics, i think I have seen it somewhere.

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Thank You! And yes, the golden Swift is indeed familiar to us!
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Old 9th March 2022, 13:10   #13
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Awesome thread Tridiv, especially loved the flow to your writing . I have been driving & seeing the car since day 1, have seen how the car has transformed from a run of the mill Alto K10 to an one of a kind machine. Also one thing to note here, that she might be a project car, but she's no garage queen. 25k km run under 2 years is a testimony to that.

I love driving that car, perfect pocket rocket. I would say it's a spiritual successor to my ex 01 Zen VXi. The best thing about the Alto K10 has to be the K10B engine, it truly flies in the light Alto body. Regarding the gearshifts, I have found them good only. The 800cc old Alto in comparison had horrible gearshifts.

For the next set of mods, I would suggest first get a set of components fitted in the front. The current setup sounds good, but it's still a bit rear biased for me.

A photo from one of our meets. Despite the presence of more modern & powerful machines, everyone enjoyed driving the Alto most.

The Story of Zuki - Ownership Review of Maruti Alto K10-whatsapp-image-20220309-12.58.04-pm.jpeg

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Old 9th March 2022, 13:10   #14
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I was twice unlucky in getting an Alto K10. In Dec 2009 I had purchased Alto800 without knowing anything on K10. I think it was released in early 2010. My friend had got an Ecru beige Alto K10 based on my suggestion to him. It costed just 25k more than regular Alto. In 2021 when I wanted an Alto K10 AMT it was stopped and S Presso came. So I had to buy Alto 800 BS6 as a beater car. This K10 is a pocket rocket for sure. Congrats on buying it. I'm sure you will enjoy it. My recommendation to a beginner who's open for used car is Alto K10 only.
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Old 9th March 2022, 13:31   #15
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Wow now thats a tasty K10, I am going to do similar stuff with my dads K10(second gen) once he plans to dispose it off. The K10 is such a capable car. My first mod is going to be sound dampening and blackening of chrome.

Last edited by ArTigor : 9th March 2022 at 13:43.
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