Suzuki's new baby is quite a big one...
If you prefer function over form, then the new Celerio is a car that you should consider.
It might not be the first name on most people's lips when considering a new small car, but on paper the new Suzuki Celerio's figures and specifications at least demand a second look.
Model tested: Suzuki Celerio GLX
Pricing: €12,995 as tested (Celerio range starts at €11,995)
Engine: 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol
Transmission: front-wheel drive, five-speed manual
Body style: five-door, five-seat hatchback
Rivals: Citroen C1, Hyundai i10, SEAT Mii,
CO2 emissions: 99g/km (Band A2, €180 per annum)
Combined economy: 65.6mpg (4.3 litres/100km)
Top speed: 160km/h
0-100km/h: 13.1 seconds
Power: 67hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 90Nm at 3,500rpm
In the Metal: 3/5
When you're a car designer that is creating an A-segment car with the main intention of maximising interior space the end result from an aesthetic point of view isn't always going to be something that will have people salivating as they walk past it on the street. That said, the new Suzuki Celerio works well in terms of interior space, with the ability to accommodate five passengers while still affording very adequate levels of leg- and headroom.
Access is good too thanks to doors which can open up to 90 degrees, which granted might not be useable in tighter car parks, but will be of benefit when loading in a child seat to the rear for example. Suzuki claims that, with a boot capacity of 254 litres, the Celerio's is the biggest in the segment, while it also claims to have the largest interior.
Driving it: 3/5
The Celerio's name may be derived from the Latin word for speed, but that is where the association ends. Power from the 998cc three-cylinder engine may be a modest 67hp, but this car is more about frugality and if the official figures are to be believed, at a combined fuel consumption rate of 4.3 litres per 100km it proves to be every bit as economical as many of its more well-known rivals.
Drive the Celerio around town and you'll find that the suspension does a reasonable job at softening the ride, though the steering lags behind some competitors' in terms of sharpness and deft of feel. And there is a lack of self-centring on the exit of corners too.
Its five-speed manual transmission is all new and has been designed to boost efficiency, which is the name of the game with this car. It might not have a 'bolt-action rifle-like' movement, but it gives no cause for complaint. One area where the little Suzuki does excel is in its manoeuvrability and all-round visibility. Its turning circle is very good while the slightly elevated driving position does give a good view of exactly where the nose of the car is in relation to its surroundings.
What you get for your Money: 3.5/5
Keeping things somewhat simple, Suzuki is offering just two trim specifications in the new Celerio - the GL+ and more generously equipped GLX. All cars come fitted with alloy wheels, air conditioning, Bluetooth, DAB radio and front electric windows, along with six airbags. For an additional €1,000 the step up to the GLX model adds electrically-adjustable and body-coloured mirrors, an upgraded sound system, front fog lamps, rear electric windows, ESP stability control and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
The new Celerio did come in for some criticism following its recent NCAP safety test. It managed just three stars, mainly as a result of a poor score from the side impact pole test. In Suzuki's defence, the car tested, in accordance with NCAP's requirements, was the most basic model sold, which in the case of the Celerio was one that did not feature curtain airbags. The GL+ and GLX models offered in Ireland do feature these additional airbags as standard, which, as the NCAP report indicated, would result in the car receiving a four-star score.
One other point worth noting is that, in early 2015 Suzuki, will introduce an improved K10C engine capable of even lower emissions (84g/km) and improved combined fuel consumption of 3.6 litres/100km. It will be priced at €12,995 in GL+ specification.
If you prefer function over form, then the new Celerio is a car that you should consider. Pricing is a key factor in the segment that the Suzuki finds itself in but it has put forward a good case with specifications that make sense, though its trump card is the generous levels of space offered inside.