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Celerio cuts the micro-car mustard


I AM reminded why I love budget cars, every time I drive one; they present such an honest solution to transport needs. There’s no facade (well most of the time). What you see is what you get, which is exactly how I felt driving the little Suzuki Celerio recently.

→ Approaching positivity

At the Celerio launch in Durban I was very impressed with this little product. I’m happy to say that after a week with the car I still see far more good than bad with this contender.

→ The elephant in the UK

During my period with the car, I caught wind of an issue with Celerio models in the UK, whereby these cars failed an emergency brake test prompting the immediate suspension of sales in the UK; this worried me and although Suzuki SA assured us that local Celerios are safe, I had to try an emergency stop myself. 

I went about finding a vacant road, where an estate was being built, which gave me ample space and didn’t endanger anyone. I got the vehicle up to around 120km/h, tramped on the anchors and the little car’s nose dipped. The ABS system activated and I stopped without an issue, job done!

→ Is it practical?

Well, for a small budget car I’d say so, at 3 600mm long, 1 600mm wide and 1 540mm tall. I found the interior to be capacious enough and despite my Shireling stature, I feel that even taller drivers and passengers would feel comfortable in the little car. It also has a 254-litre boot, which is good for a car in the A segment.

→ Interior décor

The Celerio is a very basic car in terms of interior design. The centre console and radio resemble those of other Suzuki models, while the high gear lever position means that it falls neatly to hand. I personally love its simplicity and found the steering-mounted controls handy and the Bluetooth system far easier to use than in the SX4.

→ Altitude

The car is equipped with a 55kW/90Nm 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, which felt lively at the coast but slightly lethargic up here at the reef.

The gear ratios and mapping do help you get going from low in the rev range though, which means that it isn’t frustrating. The little engine is seriously frugal, too, as I achieved a consumption figure of 5.6 litres/100km without putting in any effort towards fuel-efficient driving.

→ Exterior wise

The car looks like a small MPV with that high roof line, while from the front you can clearly see that it’s related to the Splash and the SX4. It’s certainly not the most chic in the segment but it is functional, which is desirable in this segment.

→ Safety stakes

The safety of occupants in budget cars has come under the spotlight of late and the Celerio, thankfully, has some kit such as crumple zones, dual front SRS air bags, ABS brakes and inertia reel seatbelts with front load limiters.

→ Verdict

At R128 900 the GL manual model that I had on test presents fantastic value, compared with rivals such as the Chevrolet Spark and Kia’s Picanto. It’s lightweight, good on fuel, spacious and feature-laden. On the downside, the Picanto and Spark have style and existing customers on their side.

→ Warranty and service

The Celerio is covered by a three-year/100 000km warranty and a two-year/30 000km service plan  for the GL model, which I had on test.

Article written by Sean Nurse
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