The Alto, for those unfamiliar, is a tiny little Kei car. It rides on a 97-inch wheelbase and weighs less than 1,350 pounds, which makes it not only smaller than a three-door Mini, but also about half its weight. All it needs is a 660cc inline-three to pull it around the streets of Tokyo. And perhaps best of all, where the previous Alto adopted rounded, cutesy styling, the new model introduced in Japan a year ago takes a more squared-off, industrial design that looks much better to our round eyes.
Suzuki made a punchy little Alto Turbo RS version (which you can scope out in the extra gallery below) that increased output to a still-puny 64 horsepower and 70 pound-feet of torque. And it won multiple awards for its compact, fun-to-drive nature. But now the Japanese automaker has made the Alto even more enticing with the new Works model. It's based on the aforementioned Turbo RS, but packs some key upgrades.
Where the Alto Turbo RS was only available with an automatic, the new Alto Works can be had with a short-throw five-speed manual – driving either the front wheels alone or all four. Suzuki also boosted output modestly to 74 lb-ft, improved the throttle response, and recalibrated the steering for better accuracy. New 15-inch wheels are fitted to a retuned suspension with KYB shocks. It's all done up in a gunmetal finish with black trim, red-painted front calipers, and an interior with Recaro racing buckets, steel pedals, red stitching, and a boost gauge that changes color from white to red as it spools up.
All of that can be had from only 1,509,840 yen, which may look like a lot, but translates to just $12,500 at current exchange rates. If only Suzuki still sold in the US market, because it does some of the best little hatchbacks around. And the new Alto Works looks like it'd be a hoot to drive.