Looking like a cross between a Jimny and a VW Up!, the new Suzuki Alto is a different machine entirely from the somewhat ungainly but comparatively modern model of the same name manufactured in India by Maruti Suzuki for markets around the world. This is the JDM version, built to Kei car specifications, and shares little more than its badges with the Indian model.
Based on a supposedly all-new platform, the new Alto boasts what Suzuki claims is the best fuel economy of any non-hybrid in Japan. That's partially because of its spritely curb weight, down by 132 pounds over the model it replaces to tip the scales at just 1,345 pounds. That's over 600 pounds lighter than a Smart Fortwo. The whole thing rides on a tiny 97-inch wheelbase, of which 80 inches are taken up by the passenger compartment.
Power comes from a 660cc three-cylinder engine mated to either a five-speed automated manual or CVT in a number of configurations that ought to help Suzuki sell even more of these than the 4.8 million Altos it's sold in Japan alone since its introduction 35 years ago.