The Battleground That the small car segment is the most booming segment here in India is perhaps one of the most clichéd statements ever made and that just goes on to say how dominant the small car really is in India. The humble 800 reigned supreme for an umpteen number of years and was succeeded by the Alto which carried the legacy further. Taking the fight to Maruti, Hyundai finally came out with the brilliant Eon. With a similar 3-cylinder formula under the hood albeit in much more modern trim, the Eon was more than just a formidable rival to the Alto. If not beaten, the Eon definitely caused a scar on the Alto’s sales, something which had never happened before. This could only mean one thing, the competition was getting closer and it was time to up the game and up the game they did. The new car has a lot riding on it and with the venerable 800 from the very third year of Maruti Suzuki’s existence in the country still accounting for 2000 plus units per month to add to the over 20,000 plus units per month present-gen Alto, the onus was to make a super smooth transition so that the new generation Alto could not only hit the tarmac running but also keep the numbers rolling in. But will it be able to snatch its position as top dog from the Eon back again? Let’s find out. Fluidic or Manga Let’s start with the new boy here. Stylistically, the new Alto seems to extend the design language of its predecessor while differing in the detail treatment. The new styled valanced bonnet adorned with the petal-shaped headlamps with black accents to set off the main beam and the turn signal indicators characterises the front end along with the new two-part grille which incorporates the Suzuki ‘S’ logo and a chrome-plated flanking strip on either side. It is different yet retains that very Alto-esque appeal and this same thought pervades all across the rest of the car’s exterior. The Eon on the other hand follows Hyundai’s very successful ‘Fluidic Design’ philosophy. The front grille and bumper feature a neat translation of the aggressive trapezoidal design lines that can now be found on every Hyundai. Flanking the grille on either side are the large swept back headlights that add the final touch to a well crafted front end. When viewed from the side, the Eon is reminiscent of its elder sibling, the i10. However the designers at Hyundai have taken the liberty to feature a rather robust shoulder that sweeps up towards the rear to give the little hatch a neat sporty touch. Other elements that are visually striking on the Eon are the slightly pronounced wheel arches and the integrated roof spoiler which do their bit to contribute to the overall style statement. When parked side by side however, it’s the Eon that grabs the most attention, its handsome lines almost makes the Alto look toonish (which most Kei cars look). The Eon definitely has the styling mantle covered and in fact looks better than its siblings, the Santro and the i10 as well.