Suzuki: 2015 Celerio manual hatch review

Suzuki: 2015 Celerio manual hatch review

Sometimes its nice to drive small vehicle without the huge amounts of bells and whistles that come attached to many these days.

It is also nice to drive a car that is a just a plain and simple proposition, where you actually have to think, and look, and react, rather than relying upon some electronic gadgetry within the vehicle to do it for you.

2015 Suzuki Celerio rear 3:4Reversing sensors and cameras are nice things to have, no question, so too is electronic blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, active cruise control, city safe braking, self-parallel parking function, and so on and so forth… and thankfully the wee Suzuki Celerio hatch has none of this.

You might call it low tech, but I call it engaging old fashioned seat of the pants driving skill.

Suzuki is well known for building small cars, and the Swift particularly has gained huge traction in New Zealand (far more than Australia, we are told) but it’s success has overshadowed other small family vehicles in the line-up such as the new Celerio and the SX4 S-Cross crossover.

2015 Suzuki Celerio interior from door openThe Celerio hatchback reminded me that sometimes driving a small car can be a lot of fun, and even more so when its comes equipped with a very nice and easy to use,manual transmission, and a melodic three-cylinder engine.

My perpendicular parking space at home is located at the very end of an L-shaped driveway, surrounded by a retaining wall, with no turn around bay, so generally I have to reverse cars into the space but thanks to the dinky dimensions of the Celerio (3600mm in length), it was able to be parked nose first.

There are numerous spaces in the parking building that we use in downtown Auckland, which are marked ‘small cars only’ and naturally the Celerio had no issue fitting within them.

The wheelbase of the Celerio is 65mm longer than its predecessor the Alto, and its also 70mm taller.

Those short but tall dimensions are not only beneficial for parking, theres plenty of headroom and legroom inside the car, and even my six foot four inch parter could fit comfortably in the passenger seat.

Its also got a reasonably good boot capacity of 254 litres with the seat backs up and 726 litres when the seat backs are reclined, and a low load lip which means you don’t strain your back trying to get bulky items into the back of the car.

Spec

Despite it’s very reasonable price tag the Celerio has a reasonable amount of standard kit. It has six-spoke alloy wheels, electric power steering, manual air-conditioning, driver’s seat height adjustment, a USB connection, CD tuner, steering wheel controls for the all important Bluetooth connectivity, a rev counter, remote central door locking, five cup holders, electric door mirror control, and front and rear electrically operated window glass.

2015 Suzuki Celerio dashboardIt’s not exactly poverty pack is it? And the Bluetooth does actually work very well as I discovered while on the move one day.

Most importantly the Celerio has a four-star ANCAP safety rating and it is fitted with head protecting side curtain airbags and seatbelt reminders for all occupants of the vehicle.

Power

The 998cc engine produces 50kW of power at 6000rpm and peak torque of 90 Newton metres at 3500 rpm. This doesn’t sound enormously powerful, and its not, but the Celerio weighs in at a paltry 830kg, so theres not a huge mass of vehicle for the engine to have to push around.

Suzuki claims the flat torque curve is ideal for easy city and urban use and that in independent fuel consumption tests the manual Celerio averaged 4.7L/100km in the combined cycle, 4.1L/100km in the extra urban (open road) cycle, and 5.8L/100km in the urban cycle.

Inside

Our Thailand assembled Celerio was relatively well put together and nothing squeaked or rattled, but there are more than a few hints that the cabin has been manufactured to a price point and to save as much weight as possible.

There are a lot of hard plastics, and some do feel a bit flimsy, but the interior is reasonably well constructed with comfortable seats and a good quality stereo unit. The design is basic but modern and well laid out.

However the side is let down by the really nasty cheap-looking and feeling carpet that begs the question as to how well it will hold up to wear and tear. And there were no mats supplied, which did look a bit low rent Mr Suzuki.

Experience

The now departed Suzuki Alto was not renown for being a fun driving experience, but thankfully the Celerio has rectified that. Its a small car thats nimble and eager to zip around the urban jungle, with the occasional burst beyond the city limits.

The manual transmission is absolutely the best match for the eager little engine, although there is an option of a CVT automatic ($17,500) for the Celerio but we think it would be less fun to drive than the three pedal model.

Verdict

2015 Suzuki Celerio boot openWhen it comes to bang for buck, buying a brand spanking new car for $16000, that offers a four-star safety rating and a new vehicle warranty has to be infinitely preferable to spending the same amount on a secondhand vehicle.

Suzuki says the Celerio was designed to meet the challenge of providing more space while being more efficient that its predecessor, the Alto.

It has succeeded handsomely with the exception that the Alto was a distinctive and cute-looking wee car, where the Celerio is far more conventional and its inoffensive styling portrays little of current design trends, which means it should age gracefully. Its not an unattractive car in reality.

It is overall very good value for money and offers people an alternative to putting their hard earned cash into a secondhand vehicle of questionable history when they can have a brand new one instead.

Price $15,990

Pros:

  • For some buyers cheap and cheerful is appealing, and the Celerio will tick all their boxes

Cons:

  • For other buyers cheap and cheerful is not their cup of tea, and neither is the Celerio

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