Hyundai Eon vs Maruti Suzuki Alto 800:

"Alto 800 has the superior engine of the two. It handles better and is more fuel efficient as well. While Eon offers better space, quality and features, it is bogged down by its lethargic engine."

Pricing and Features:
Maruti Suzuki is the number one brand in our automobile industry which produces top sellers in most segments. With durable products backed by a vast service network, Maruti Suzuki enjoys immense loyalty in the market. Alto 800, launched in 2012, is the successor to the old generation Alto and improves on most aspects while still retaining the affordable price tag. Hyundai India is known for offering well put-together cars which offer immense value. This trait made their cars an instant hit with the Indian public, which looks at value over everything else. One such offering from the popular Korean manufacturer is the Eon, which is currently the most affordable product in its line up. With touches of fluidic design philosophy and a good quality cabin, Hyundai Eon is a little wonder which pleases younger audience.

In this comparison, we will consider top end variants of the cars- Eon Sportz and Alto 800 Vxi Option. To be fair in the comparison, we will consider 814cc engine variant of Eon. The Vxi Option variant of Alto 800 retails for 3.64 Lakh (on-road Delhi) while Eon Sportz is priced at 4.72 Lakh (on-road Delhi). Despite being priced more than 1 Lakh above the Alto 800, Eon Sportz makes it to a buyer's consideration list as it offers quality of higher segments at a comparatively lower price point.

Common features of Eon Sportz and Alto 800 Vxi Option:
Power steering, AC, Driver side airbag, Front power windows, Fabric upholstery, Manually adjustable rear-view mirror, Wheel covers, Accessory socket, Music system with front speakers

Extra features in Eon Sportz:
Front cupholders, Tinted glass, Front fog lamps, Adjustable steering column

Extra features in Alto 800 Vxi Option:
Rear spoiler

Performance and Drivability:
The Alto 800 is powered by a frugal 796cc engine which develops a modest 47.3 BHP with 69 NM of torque. Hyundai Eon, on the other hand, is decidedly superior on paper as its 814cc engine develops peak power figures of 55.2 BHP and maximum torque of 74.5 NM. Due to Alto 800's light weight, the power and torque advantage of Eon is balanced and both cars offer similar power to weight ratio. To be frank and straight forward, Alto 800's engine is superior to Eon's engine in all aspects. It offers better refinement, smoothness, fuel efficiency and drivability. Engine of Alto 800 has been tuned for smoothness across the rev range and even though the low end torque is low, the power delivery is jerk-free which is a huge relief as compared to the previous generation. The small engine revs up pretty quickly and offers good mid-range. Only problem is that power tapers off quickly and the engine gets noisy at higher RPMs. Same is the case with Eon, poor low end torque, smooth power delivery and poor top-end performance, but it lacks the refinement and smoothness of Alto 800's engine. Moreover, engine is not very responsive and takes time to build up revs and get moving. Another problem with Eon is its constantly vibrating gear lever, which feels annoying on the drive and feels akin to some crude SUVs we know. Both engines offer good city drivability once in the mid-range but Alto 800 is definitely a better choice because of its smoothness and refinement. Gearshifts in Alto 800 are much better with well defined gates and slot in effortlessly. In the Eon, there is a lot of rubbery feel while shifting even though the clutch is lighter than Alto 800's. As a matter of fact, Alto 800 feels faster when commuting in city limits as compared to Eon.

Engine displacement (cc): Eon Sportz - 814 ; Alto 800 Vxi Option - 796

Maximum power: Eon Sportz - 55.2 BHP @ 5500 RPM ; Alto 800 Vxi Option - 47.3 BHP @ 6000 RPM

Maximum torque: Eon Sportz - 74.5 NM @ 4000 RPM ; Alto 800 Vxi Option - 69 NM @ 3500 RPM

Kerb Weight (kg): Eon Sportz - 795 ; Alto 800 Vxi Option - 695

Power To Weight Ratio: Eon Sportz - 69.4 ; Alto 800 Vxi Option - 68

Torque To Weight Ratio: Eon Sportz - 93.7 ; Alto 800 Vxi Option - 99.2

Fuel Efficiency:
Fuel efficiency is often among the most important aspects of a first time car buyer. Also, those who buy small cars as city runabouts, prefer low running costs. Maruti Alto 800 scores in this regard as it offers a bigger fuel tank along with better fuel economy. In real-life scenario also, owners have rated Alto 800 high on fuel efficiency while many owners of Hyundai Eon have not been satisfied with its fuel efficiency. Especially when considering such small displacement engines, fuel economy of Hyundai Eon can be best termed as average.

Mileage (kms):
Eon Sportz: City - 17 ; Highway - 21.1
Alto 800 Vxi Option: City - 20.3 ; Highway - 24.7

Fuel cost for 75,000 km:
Eon Sportz - 2.71 Lakh (approx.)
Alto 800 Vxi Option - 2.23 Lakh (approx.)

Space and Comfort:
When we compare physical dimensions, Hyundai Eon offers a longer, wider as well as taller body shell than the Alto 800. Thus, it offers more cabin space (in terms of head room and shoulder room) but legroom remains identical because the difference in wheelbase is minimal. The seats of Alto 800 provide very basic levels of support and will not be comfortable for very long drives in the range of 5 hours or so. On the other hand, seat compound of Eon is thicker and firmer which will provide better comfort on long drives. The rear seat, especially, of Eon is miles ahead of the Alto 800 in terms of support and comfort. The interior plastics of Eon are partially finished in beige and are made of better quality, which improves cabin feel and ambience. In terms of space and comfort, Hyundai Eon will have an edge over Alto 800 even though the difference is not substantial if one is aiming for short city drives.

Length (mm): Eon Sportz - 3495 ; Alto 800 Vxi Option - 3430

Width (mm): Eon Sportz - 1550 ; Alto 800 Vxi Option - 1515

Height (mm): Eon Sportz - 1500 ; Alto 800 Vxi Option - 1475

Ride Quality and Handling:
Alto 800 and Eon are small family cars and were never meant for spirited driving. When driving sedately, there is no difference felt between the two. In fact the Eon is better to navigate due to its lighter steering. At high speeds, both Alto 800 and Eon are affected by crosswinds. When driven aggressively, Alto 800 performs better as it has a smaller footprint and less body roll. This makes it chuckable through corners but there is a hint of understeer as the tyres give up very early. Eon rides on larger tyres and is more stable during high speeds and cornering but its steering is very light and non-responsive. This takes away the joy of driving. Due to their low kerb weight and light construction, both Alto 800 and Eon offer a choppy ride at low speeds. As the speeds increase, both the cars settle down and ride becomes firmer but still far from confidence-inspiring. It is hard to spot a difference in ride quality for the common man as both are small city cars tuned for city drives. Cabin insulation is better in Eon and thus potholes and road undulations are not felt inside the cabin. Hyundai Eon fares better in ride quality but Alto 800 takes the crown in terms of handling.

Wheelbase (mm): Eon Sportz - 2380 ; Alto 800 Vxi Option - 2360

Ground Clearance (mm): Eon Sportz - 170 ; Alto 800 Vxi Option - 160

Tyre Size: Eon Sportz - 155/70R13 ; Alto 800 Vxi Option - 145/80R12

Reliability and After Sales Service:
Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai are among the top brands in our country and are known for their after sales support. Majority of customers have a good experience with their staff, be it in terms of sales or service. It is safe to assume that both brands are neck to neck in terms of after sales service. Considering the  reliability factor, both Alto 800 and Eon have been on sale for quite a while and have been free from major troubles or niggles. Since Alto 800 uses an older and tried-and-tested engine, the crown goes to Alto 800 for reliability. Hyundai's engine was introduced in the Eon and is nowhere close to an all-rounder or a tried engine like the erstwhile 1.1L Santro engine.

Resale and Cost of Ownership:
Maruti and Hyundai cars are known for their good resale value. It is fairly easy for owners to find buyers for their used cars as both the brands provide good parts support and wide service network. Maruti Alto 800 holds its value better because of its better engine and Maruti brand name. While service costs are similar for both the cars for initial years, Hyundai's maintenance tends to become costly as the kilometers pile up. This is where Alto 800 proves better for the long run and creates better demand in the used car market. Estimated cost of ownership for Alto 800 equals to 3.97 Lac as opposed to Eon's 4.93 Lac cost. Add to that the lower service costs and Maruti Alto 800 seems to be a better bet financially.

Resale after 5-7 years est.:
Eon Sportz 2.5 Lakh
Alto 800 Vxi Option - 1.9 Lakh

Total Cost of Ownership (Vehicle cost + Fuel cost - Resale value) est.:
Eon Sportz - 4.93 Lakh
Alto 800 Vxi Option - 3.97 Lakh

Alto 800 has the superior engine of the two. It handles better and is more fuel efficient as well. While Eon Sportz offers better space, quality and features, it is bogged down by its lethargic engine. Hyundai has introduced a 1.0L variant of Eon to counter this problem. Eon would be preferred by ladies due to the interior quality, snazzy design and light controls. Alto 800 would be preferred by the family man who prefers neutral understated character. One important point to note is that Alto requires substantially less initial investment and does not miss out on any necessary feature like AC, power steering and power windows. The extra features one gets in Eon, on paper, can be added at a later stage as per one's preferences. Moreover, since drivability is the most important factor in any car, our vote goes to the Alto 800.

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