Small Car segment has certainly got big in the Philippines as we have seen numerous entrants being launched in the past few years. Among the biggies such as the Honda Brio, Toyota Wigo and Mitsubishi Mirage etc. there’s one car that promises to provide the same value at a much lower price. The Suzuki Celerio although placed in the small city hatchback segment, is notable for its B-segment sedan like space and several unique features that gives it a fair chance against its competitors. Affordable and fuel-efficient vehicles have been one of Suzuki Motor’s key strengths and we can see its brilliant implementation in the larger Indian market, where Suzuki rules the sales since several years in succession.
But will it be able to face-off against the competitors? Let’s take a closer look.
Launched first in India, the Suzuki Celerio was the intended replacement for the similar sized Suzuki A-Star that had pretty much run its course in the market. Although they face a tough competition from Honda, Toyota and its kind in the Indian market, Suzuki vehicles outsell every other brand. It gained people’s attention through its unique Automatic Gear Shift system, which implemented the use of hydraulics to change the gears on a manual gearbox. But since we’re talking about the Philippine market, there are plenty of changes in its features and assembly to match up to the country’s automobile standards.
At first look, the Celerio will grab your attention through its smartly designed front fascia that is a great blend of cute and futuristic design aesthetics. The chrome accented front grille greets onlookers with a smile that is widened by its diamond shaped headlamps that look really neat. The lower intake mesh is provided with a black color and no chrome, which really doesn’t bother anyone. The fog lamp housing is also neatly aligned on both sides of the front bumper and give the vehicle a small hint of sportiness from the front.
Much of the Celerio’s looks are from its character lines that flow on the bumper and on the sides, while improving the vehicle’s aerodynamics. The side profile of the vehicle however doesn’t look as impressive as the competing Wigo or Brio, which might work against the vehicle’s sales prospects. The rear too, looks pretty elegant despite of its minimalist styling that might reflect the vehicle’s ‘affordable’ quotient. The character lines however do a great job of giving a smart look to the Celerio’s simplistic looking rear hatch. The wheel size might be a special problem to some, as the Celerio has been provided with 14 inch treads that look a little small as compared to the bulky exteriors. All in all, Celerio looks like a smart to drive city car that has its share of shortcomings that might get ignored in face of its highly attractive price tag.
Way before you even think of the comfort and features offered in the Celerio, we must warn you that you should keep your expectations on the down low with this segment. The Celerio looks much humble when it comes to interiors and wouldn’t really impress if you were expecting something similar to the Brio. The fabric trims on the doors look a little tacky against the grey background and a similar polka dot design can be seen on the seat upholstery which also looks sad and minimalistic.
The dashboard is neatly carved with little accents of silver on the AC vents and outlines on the center console. However, a dual color tone would’ve provided a respite from the extremely bland interiors on the Celerio. The steering looks pretty standard with no audio controls or bluetooth support. The instrument cluster too doesn’t look that different from the one’s we’ve seen before and this might cause problems with some buyers. Coming to the center console, we do not get any display console even with the highest variant. What we get is a standard audio player than can play from CD’s to MP3’s and a variety of other digital audio through support for Aux, USB and Bluetooth.
Now coming to the comfort, the Celerio is certainly quite spacious with decent head and legroom. The Celerio can comfortably seat up to a total of 5 passengers without any elbowing for space in the rear. The boot space is also quite a lot, especially when you compare it with the higher priced Honda Brio and can store upto 254 litres of luggage without the rear seats folded. The Celerio’s interiors do look pretty simple and victimized by cost cutting, but will satisfy its price tag.
The Celerio has been provided with the re-tuned 1.0-litre KB10 K-series engine that is mated to either a 5-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission. Thanks to the minor tweaks, the engine feels much quieter than what we saw with the earlier version of Celerio. The engine puts out an impressive 67 hp @ 6000 rpm with a torque of 90 Nm @ 3500 rpm. Although this engine doesn’t impress you much with its power, it will certainly seem much better when you look at the astonishing fuel economy. The power is sacrificed for fuel efficiency as the manufacturer claims a fuel economy of around 23 kmpl, that is certainly a blessing for the fuel stricken regions such as the Philippines.
Coming to how the vehicle feels while driving, the Celerio is a bag of mixed blessings. While the inclusion of a CVT transmission does make it far more smooth than any average city car, it still lacks the power from its drivetrain that feels a little less in regards to the kerb weight. The vehicle doesn’t do that great at high speeds but will feel far better than other similar sized cars such as the Datsun Go and Hyundai Eon due to its better suspension. Despite the lower output numbers the Celerio’s acceleration is quite surprising and will easily reach high speeds in no time. Like already mentioned, the 14 inch 165/R14 alloys do look attractive but does not serve a practical purpose in controlling the large sized body at sharp turns and corners. The Celerio surely doesn’t drive like a Buick but will certainly satisfy the average buyers, especially when talking about the vehicle’s highly impressive mileage.
One of the most important factor when buying a car is the safety offered. We have already seen some horrible performances for Indian made automobiles such as the Eon and Swift, but the Celerio is far better than those. Yes it fairs low on its active safety with some really bad scores from in Global NCAP tests, but that is the case with several higher priced models, giving some respite to this humble looking city car. Even if you do manage to crash this vehicle, the front air bags, anti-lock braking system and Front ventilated disc brakes will certainly minimize the chances of a heavy collision.
You really didn’t read the above review if you still want to read a verdict from us. Nevertheless, for those in a hurry the Suzuki Celerio has its fair share of flaws and shortcomings. But with an impressive exterior design, low price, a good list of standard features and superior fuel economy, it will certainly create a market of its own in the Philippines.
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