New Suzuki Celerio Makes a New Splash

In Car Reviews, Featured Articles, Suzuki by Tom Scanlan

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Suzuki has just launched its brand-new city car. Drive Reviews the New Suzuki Celerio

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So it’s ‘Alto cheerio and Hi! Celerio.’ Suzuki’s other small car, Splash, has also bitten the dust.

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Celerio is claimed to be roomy enough for five people (but that’s pushing it a bit) and to have class-leading luggage space. Vital statistics include CO2 emissions of 99 g/km, so no annual road tax or city congestion charges apply, and a start price of just £7999. The official claimed urban fuel consumption figure is 55.3 mpg from the 998 cc, 3-cylinder engine.


Two manual models are available at launch, while, in April, a newly-developed auto box will be available. There will also be the company’s latest Dualjet version of their little engine in the top-of-the-range car that extends the official urban consumption to 68.9 mpg, along with emissions further reduced to 84 g/km. For this, though, the price goes up to ‘less than £10,000’ (Suzuki has not yet released the exact price).

“The new Suzuki was really nice to drive, all very easy, nice and light, without feeling fragile in any way. It was happy pottering about in traffic, as any city car should be. When pushed, it also had a reasonable turn of speed (0-62 mph in 13.5 seconds)”.
As ever, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so the Celerio’s rather high roof-line hardly gives the car a ‘cool’ image, but then what’s cool about always having your head bumping against the ceiling? In the Celerio, your hair will not get disturbed — not that your reviewer has got any.

The cheaper of the two launch versions, the SZ3, might cost less than eight thousand, but it has a good selection of equipment as standard. From the safety angle, ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) is the automatic anti-skid device that should be standard on every new car made; well done to Suzuki for installing it into their cheapest car. There are six airbags, too, should the laws of physics prevail even over the ESP; these cover driver, front passenger and side and curtain areas.

For convenience and comfort, there is manual air-conditioning and DAB radio and Bluetooth. Alloy wheels are a further standard item.

On the road for our test, the Celerio did prove to provide a pleasant interior ambience. Actual spaciousness has been enhanced to the eye, Suzuki tells us, by clever design of the dashboard area.

The SZ4 version tested costs £1000 more than the SZ3, at £8999. This enabled us to gaze at polished alloy wheels and body-coloured mirrors, not forgetting the chrome-accented front grill. Of more practical importance are front fog-lamps and the electric operation of the mirrors and rear windows. The audio is enhanced by having extra speakers — four in all. Your extra expenditure also rewards you with passenger-side seatback pocket…

It was very easy to fold down the rear seats 60/40 to enlarge the boot capacity. This is almost three times more than the already class-leading 254 litres of the boot on its own; the tailgate is set low and lifts high. Inside the car, there is a useful variety of places to stow smaller items.

The new Suzuki was really nice to drive, all very easy, nice and light, without feeling fragile in any way. It was happy pottering about in traffic, as any city car should be. When pushed, it also had a reasonable turn of speed (0-62 mph in 13.5 seconds).

The clutch was not of the kind that gives your leg muscles a good work-out and the five-speed gearbox could not have been better, with super-quick and accurate movement. A small turning circle is another really useful feature and the visibility outwards made things like manoeuvering into parking slots hardly any problem.

The steering was a little dead-feeling in the straight ahead position, but was otherwise fine and the handling was perfectly acceptable, given that the car is probably going to be used mainly around towns rather than in sporting fashion along twisty roads, where a slight leaning over could be detected. The seats and ride were very comfortable over the 90-mile test route. The indicated overall fuel consumption was 45.7 mpg.

Suzuki’s automatic gearbox is in fact a manual gearbox converted to be operated without a clutch pedal or manual gear lever. A short drive in a Celerio fitted with this box (not on offer until April) indicated that it is not quite as smooth in the lower gear-changes as a full auto would be; this was most noticeable when starting off uphill: there is a bit of a lurch as the car goes from first to second. Downhill, this doesn’t happen and in all other respects it seems fine, and it has a ‘creep’ facility that lets the car move slowly in heavy traffic. However, it’s quite slow compared to the manual car (0-62 mph in 16.4 seconds); then again, there’s no penalty in fuel consumption or exhaust emissions.

This new city car appears to be well-built and seems to be very good value for money, certainly the basic SZ4 at less than £8000.

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About the Author

Tom Scanlan

'Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars. He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0. In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.'

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