Suzuki says independent tests reveal the Alto can equal and even better the fuel figures produced by the more costly petrol/electric hybrid cars.
The compact five-door model, which has just been launched across the Tasman, goes on sale in New Zealand in October.
At an Australian media launch for the new supermini model, five Altos driven by motoring journalists averaged 3.52 litres/100 km.
The worst figure of 3.56 litres/100 km was reportedly achieved even though the car’s air conditioning system was in constant use and there was no attempt to switch off the engine in heavy traffic city conditions.
Two journalists in each car covered a 132 kilometre circuit of Brisbane, heading through the river city’s central business district to the St Lucia University campus.
The route then took the Suzuki’s over hilly suburbs, and on to the Gateway motorway before running back to the starting point at the distributor’s head office.
Suzuki Auto Company, the Queensland Suzuki importer, said the drive was real-life conditions and no easy run along a quiet rural highway.
Official fuel consumption figures for the new Alto are 4.8 litres/100 km for the 5-speed manual version and 5.5 litres/100 km for the automatic model.
One journalist said Suzuki did themselves a disservice by running the cars on E10 fuel, a 10 per cent ethanol blend, which usually means worse fuel consumption.
When the Alto goes on local sale it will be one of the most economical new cars available in New Zealand.
Keith Carroll, General Manager of Suzuki Auto Company in Queensland, believes the only problem with Alto will be one of supply.
European demand is high and increasing, with dealers requesting more cars following the model’s recent introduction.
Carroll said the Alto was not just a city car but was also good on the highway. In spite of the modest one-litre, 3-cylinder engine, the car has a lively performance and a top speed of more than 150 km/h.
The Alto's emissions are also low, with 113 grams/km of CO2 for the manual model and 130 grams/km of CO2 for the automatic.