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New Suzuki Celerio a big deal


Many people will remember the Suzuki Alto, the Japanese brands small car alternative, which was perhaps a bit too small. Its successor has certainly addressed this problem as I found out when driving the new Celerio in Durban.


This is a small car at 3.6 meters long and 1.6 metres wide however its height of 1.53 meters and added wheelbase over its predecessor means that it is a far more practical machine. There is enough headroom for adults both front and rear while there is also a respectable 235 litre boot and 1 034 litres with the seats down.

Design in and out

The Celerio follows a similar design aesthetic to many modern budget cars with short overhangs and a taller-than-normal profile.

 From the front it is unmistakably Suzuki while its steep rear ensures that added boot space. From an exterior design perspective I think that Suzuki have done well and have certainly produced a cute city slicker.

Inside is where I was most impressed with the new car. Its design appears to have been modelled on the bigger SX4 Crossover and adapted well in to its compact dimensions to create an interior with decent materials and a decent visage.

Engine and transmission

The Celerio is powered by a 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol motor with 50kW/90Nm. The unit won’t stun anyone with its acceleration, however, it felt acceptable when driving the test route. I fear that the little motor may struggle up at altitude though.

It is efficient though, with the five-speed manual variant that I tested producing figures of around 5.5 litres/100km (4.7 litres/100km claimed) which included some spirited driving. The autonomous manual eluded me at launch, it is a new unit developed by Suzuki and is said to be better than a torque converter in terms of efficiency (claimed figures 4.6 litres/100km) and shifts.


Safety in budget offerings has come back in to the spotlight of late and in the case of the Celerio, things are looking good. It benefits from dual front SRS airbags, ABS brakes, inertia reel seatbelts and childproof door locks.

It also has what Suzuki calls Total Effective Control Technology, which means optimised crumple zones for the passenger safety cell. 


The bottom of the range GA model is only available with a five-speed manual gearbox. Other standard features include 14-inch steel wheels, a multi-information display with fuel consumption, clock and trip information. It also comes with a sound system preparation kit with an antenna and dual front speakers meaning the buyer must buy the radio.

The GL model gets more kit and is available as either a five-speed manual or in automated manual guise. It adds a glossy grille, various chrome accents, fog lamps, electric mirrors, fabric interior inserts, a rev counter, four-speaker sound, multi-function steering wheel, a radio with USB/CD and Bluetooth connectivity as well as all-electric windows.


I am a big fan of the little Celerio, although I would like to see how it copes at altitude, especially with that automatic gearbox. It ticks all of the right budget car boxes and for a shade over R100 000, I feel presents great value, even if you have to buy your own radio and service plan.

Peace of mind

All Celerio models are covered by a three-year/100 000 km warranty, the GL variants come with a two-year/30 000 km service plan


Celerio 1.0i GA M/T (no service plan) R109 900
Celerio 1.0i GL M/T   R124 900
Celerio 1.0i GL AMT  R135 900


Article written by Sean Nurse
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