It’s been in local showrooms for two-and-a-half years now, but some recent consumer awards have turned the spotlight back onto the Suzuki Celerio. Suzuki has – rightly so – taken full advantage of this accolade; using the opportunity to allow SA’s motoring press to reacquaint itself with the brand’s cheapest, smallest city runabout.
The R150 900 1,0 GL manual version joined us for a week.
What can I expect from the Celerio?
Granted the GL model features a chrome-accented grille and body-colour bumpers, mirrors and door handles, the Celerio’s boxy and relatively plain appearance will never stand out on the urban streets. Nonetheless, it is by now a familiar shape on South Africa’s roads.
Surely then, there are other stand-out aspects to this little city slicker… The interior, for example, features a neatly designed dash with high-mounted controls. And, contrary to any budgety expectations, every fitting feels solid and of high-quality. Cab width might be a little tight, but even with four up you’ll not feel claustrophobic thanks to the high roof – and finding a comfy driving position is easy. There’s 235 l of luggage capacity, which expands to a useful 1 034 l.
Is it loaded with lots of safety features and other nice toys?
The Celerio is arguably very well equipped – dual airbags and anti-lock brakes are standard, as is an alarm/immobiliser. GL models also get split folding rear seats, USB and 12V accessory sockets, a four-speaker audio system with MP3 CD and Bluetooth connectivity, air-con, central locking and electric windows all round.
You also get a basic on-board computer and front fog lamps.
What’s it like from behind the wheel?
Under the hood sits a characterfully gruff three-cylinder engine. Of 998-cc capacity, it does without a turbocharger and produces 50 kW power and 90 Nm torque. Weighing only 835 kg, and paired with a five-speed manual gearbox that benefits from well-spaced ratios, the Celerio nonetheless makes full use of its torque and has no problem pottering around or picking up speed.
Naturally, fuel consumption is fantastic – Suzuki claims just 4,7 l/100 km combined, and I managed 6,7 l/100 around town. Perfect visibility from the large glasshouse, an overall comfortable ride and well-balanced on-road manners round up the easy-going driving experience.
Should I buy one, or look around?
With each Celerio Suzuki offers a three-year/100 000 km warranty and, with the GL-spec models, a two-year/30 000 km service plan. At 150 900, this model competes directly with the likes of the Mitsubishi Mirage, Honda Brio, Kia Picanto and Chevrolet Spark – as well as a handful of other competition either side of the R150 000 barrier.
As a competitor in such a fierce segment, the Celerio offers an honest mix of all the attributes its targeted buyers would look for: solid build quality, an easy driving experience, low running costs and – over all – great value for money.
Little wonder it’s a consumer favourite.
CyberStoep rating: 7/10