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Automotive Blog – New Suzuki Celerio Review

Automotive Blog – New Suzuki Celerio Review

Ok, let’s be honest, the Suzuki Celerio isn’t
likely to be everyone’s cup of tea. But one thing’s for certain: Suzuki knows more about
small cars than almost any other manufacturer. What I wasn’t expecting when our test car
arrived, was quite how good it was going to be. And this, remember, is a car you can buy
for less than 7 grand.

Sure, so it might not be the most appealing piece of design on the
roads today, but its distinctly boxy proportions and wheel-at-each corner stance gives it two
clear wins: firstly, it’s easy to squirt your way through gaps in traffic, and secondly,
its interior feels far more spacious than you might imagine. And remember, unusually
for a car of this size, the little Suzuki gets five doors, making it even more practical.
Hat-wearers will be pleased with the gallons of headroom, and even for my 6ft4 frame, there’s
more space on offer than you could reasonably expect, our only observations being that the
sides of the centre console and the placement of the electric window switches compete with
my knees for space. Despite that, everything is well laid out, with typically clear instruments
as we’re used to from Suzuki. Oh, and that 60mpg figure that’s currently showing on the
trip computer: that’s genuine, and very easy to achieve.

But more on that later. All but
the base model get a stereo with DAB digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity, complete
with steering wheel-mounted controls for your phone, a USB socket next to the convenient
cubby hole, plus air conditioning, all as standard. To spec a VW Up or Hyundai i10 to
the same level will need an extra 3,000 or so. Space in the back is pretty good – there’s
tons of headroom, foot-room is good, but it is perhaps a little optimistic to include
three full seat-belts.

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Boot space is a decent 254 litres, rising to 726 litres, although
in common with most other cars in its class, folding the rear seats does leave them in
a rather inconsiderate lump that limits the loads you can carry. Powering all of this
is a 1.0-Litre three-cylinder petrol engine with a modest 67hp. That doesn’t sound like
much, but it’s amazing how far 67hp will get you. As standard, it’s mated to a five-speed
manual gearbox, although an automated version, dubbed AGS, is also available.

Suzuki continue
to be masters of the light and easy-going gear-shift action, and that makes it a pleasure
to rifle your way through the ‘box and wind the little Suzuki up to speed. Its on-paper
figures aren’t likely to set the world on fire – you’re talking about 0-62mph in 13.5
Seconds – but numbers rarely tell the whole story. You see, being short of a cylinder
isn’t necessarily a hindrance, particularly if you’re Suzuki, and its little three-cylinder
engine has a characterful off-beat thrum that’s actually quite endearing. It’s got a decent
amount of torque, too, and will happily lollop along in fifth gear at 30mph if that’s what
you want, but we would say that – in common with a few other Suzukis – the throttle response
is a touch too keen just off idle, sometimes making it tricky to pull away smoothly.

On
the move, the little Suzuki rides well. Of course, only having 14-inch wheels means it
can crash into pot-holes, but that aside, body control is taught, understeer is kept
in check, and it’s not too much of a stretch to say that you can have fun while at the
wheel. What’s particularly surprising is that you can do all of this while using hardly
any fuel. The trip computer in our early test car didn’t show figures beyond 60 mpg, although
this is an issue that’s since been resolved with a software update, but we had little
trouble reaching and then maintaining an average just beyond this, and with a little extra
effort, you should have no trouble in reaching the official government figure of 65.7 Mpg.
If that’s not enough for you, there’s also a new Dualjet version of this engine that
achieved an incredible 78.4 Mpg on the official tests, all while emitting just 84 g/km of
CO2, even less than the 99 g/km of our test car.

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And remember, this is a car you can buy
for just 6,999, with the more usefully-specced SZ3 model costing only a thousand pounds more.
Even our top-of-the-range SZ4 test car costs just 9,414 once you add metallic paint.
So, while the little Celerio might sound like it’s been named after a wet salad, there’s
certainly nothing limp about the way it drives..

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