Until today, the Suzuki Alto has been easy to champion, providing perky, practical performance for a budget price.

But all that has come unstuck with the announcement of the latest Euro NCAP test results. While five cars came away with five star ratings, the Alto was notable for scoring just three. In this day and age that’s poor.

Sure, Euro NCAP’s test procedure has got tougher this year, and with the Alto aimed at the budget end of the market it’s understandable that it isn’t packed with every safety gadget going.

Suzuki has already responded by saying it will address at least one of the problems identified by Euro NCAP by offering the option of stability control on one grade of the Alto line-up.

But the fact remains that new car was marked down for “adult occupant protection, child protection and safety assistance performance”. Stability control addresses the last of those points – only some hefty, and unlikely, revisions would boost the other two.

The question is, what price do you put on safety – and would this rating put you off buying an Alto in favour of a car with a higher Euro NCAP score?

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