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Suzuki Celerio manual 2015 review

EXPERT RATING
7
Paul Gover road tests and reviews the Suzuki Celerio with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Suzuki's economy tiddler deserves more respect.

People treat me differently when I'm driving a Suzuki Celerio. And that's not good.

There is no courtesy, no consideration and no acknowledgement that I'm entitled to share the road. Their behaviour makes me feel like a third-class citizen. Or a cyclist.

Yet, in a world crammed with hulking SUVs, the Celerio and other cars like it make a lot of sense for short-hop city and suburban work.

It's very light to handle, extremely easy to park, very gentle on standard unleaded and quick enough to keep up with the traffic while ferrying as many as four adults.

It's so small I don't even need a reversing camera.

The baby Suzuki is the replacement for the unlovely Alto.

It's cheap, too. And, for this car, cheap means exactly that, not "value" or "competitive" or any of the other buzzwords or excuses that are necessary when you are comparing cars with $30,000, $50,000 or even $100,000-plus pricetags.

Cheap is what it is says on the label and cheap is what you get. The manual Celerio is $12,990 drive-away, which really makes it an $11,500 car. And the last time I drove anything in that price range it was an awful Chery J1 with the worst quality I've struck since a primitive Hyundai in the 1990s.

Even the CVT transmission adds just $1000.

The baby Suzuki is the replacement for the unlovely Alto, which came from India to hit the price mark. The Celerio is bigger in most directions, especially the cabin dimensions, and is made in Thailand.

Apart from the car itself, the Celerio also shows how good things are today. For that $12,990 bottom line you still get aircon and power steering, four electric windows, electric mirrors, six airbags and stability control.

It's only a four-star ANCAP car, but that's no surprise in something so small.

There is no point in talking about the handling because that's not what the Celerio is about. It goes around corners sure enough, but it's more important that it rides quite well and stops without drama.

The engine is a tiny triple, which is fine at the lights and for 80km/h cruising - even 110 on the flat. When I run into some hills, I find I'm working hard on the gearbox and third becomes the gear of choice.

The upside is economy that even dips below 4.8L/100km for a while and returns stubbornly to 5.2L. I'm not sure whether I'd like the Celerio as a CVT auto. Probably not.

My biggest complaint is road noise in open country. No micro car is ever going to be super quiet but the Suzuki tiddler gets quite harsh inside and that makes the car annoying after more than 30 minutes on coarse-chip bitumen.

There is also some questionable cabin quality, such as an airbag cover that's not remotely a match for the top of the dash and some very hard plastic surfaces. Generally, it looks and feels like a car that's not going to trouble the scorers beyond about 100,000km.

That's what makes it such a good choice as a first-and-last car, for people learning to drive or getting into their last car. It's small and easy for first-timers to drive. It also has the low running costs and slightly higher seating position that works for veterans.

Still, it all comes back to the price. And the price is right.

So the Celerio is not perfect. And I'd never happily take it on a Melbourne-Sydney run. And I worry about people who think a low-cost car deserves lesser consideration, including the bus driver who tooted when I did not crack away the second a light turned red.

Verdict

The Celerio is a car that deserves more respect than it gets this week and that means it scores The Tick. So there.

Pricing Guides

$8,245
Based on 5 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$7,990
Highest Price
$8,500

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 1.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $7,990 – 8,500 2015 Suzuki Celerio 2015 (base) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7