The Suzuki Celerio is a low-cost transport option, albeit one with only a four-star safety rating. Car review by Blake Harris.
The new Suzuki Celerio has replaced one of the founding cars of the Australian micro-car segment – the Alto. The Alto has been a relevant option for buyers seeking super-low running costs and no-frills transportation and it appears the Celerio has followed suit, with some improvements along the way.
The Celerio, a four-seater, is one of the cheapest cars in the country with a $12,990 drive-away starting price. There are no variants in the line-up. The only major decisions are between a manual or automatic transmission, which adds $1000, and the five colour options. Every colour except white is metallic and comes at a $475 premium. Suzuki offers a range of genuine accessories for those who want to dress up their Celerio a bit.
The 1.0L three-cylinder engine has been carried over from the Alto and has similar specifications of 50kW at 6000rpm and a peak torque of 90Nm. The peak torque has been brought down in the rev range from 4800rpm to 3500rpm in the new car. The transmission options are a 5spd manual or a CVT automatic. The engine manages to shift the lightweight body adequately. Low-weight and small engine capacity gives a claimed fuel consumption of 4.7L/100km for the manual and 4.8L/100km for the CVT.
We tested the CVT and found that the engine gets noisy, especially when working hard. We also noted an occasional slight hesitation, as if the transmission was trying to work out where it should be. The electric power steering is light and vague at times, a trait we’ve found in other recent Suzukis.
Suzuki has provided a good level of safety with six airbags, ESC and seat belt reminders. However, due to a lack of Safety Assist Technologies (SATs), the Celerio has a 4-star ANCAP safety rating. The features required to achieve a top safety rating increases each year, meaning that manufacturers need to work harder to achieve the coveted five-star rating. The car hasn’t had an ANCAP pole test to determine the effectiveness of its curtain airbags, another requirement for five stars.
The interior and dash have a clean and tidy presentation, the speedo is large and easy to read and the sound system controls are clearly laid out. There are steering-wheel controls for Bluetooth, but not for the stereo. It does feel a bit dated and the plastic trims feel hard – there is no hiding that this is a low-cost car. Despite this, it has electric windows and mirrors, Bluetooth phone connection, including audio streaming, and a USB connection for music from a phone or storage device. Playing music from an iPhone was easy.
The body is larger than its predecessor. The front seats have a long cushion base and are relatively comfortable. The steering column can only be adjusted for tilt, which may cause issues. The rear seat is hard and would not be pleasant on a long trip. There is adequate rear leg room for average-height passengers and plenty of width in the back for two. The rear seats fold and the luggage area is big enough to fit a bike.
The Celerio is a low-cost transport option. However, the four-star safety rating is a major drawback when compared with the Australia’s Best Car award-winning Mitsubishi Mirage, which has a five-star safety rating and five seats.
See whether the Celerio continues to lead the running cost tables in the next issue of RoyalAuto.