Garry Fabian road tests and reviews the 2015 Suzuki Celerio.
Micro-cars struggle for sales in Australia. It seems it’s just a step-down too far for most new-car buyers, despite the low cost of purchase and running costs.
Take the new 2015 Suzuki Celerio, which replaces the ALTO as an example of that. Basically, it’s four seats and a reasonably sized boot in a car that’s priced attractively.
If you need a city runabout the Suzuki Celerio certainly is the right size.
The package delivers a five-door, four-seat hatchback, powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine and drives the front wheels via the choice of five-speed manual or continuously variable transmissions.
Both versions of Celerio come standard with six air-bags, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, air-conditioning, AM/FM/CD four-speaker audio, Bluetooth, power windows and a driver’s seat height adjuster. There’s even a space-saver spare tyre under the boot floor.
That’s a better than expected level of equipment for the price. Another good piece of news is the Celerio drives better than you might expect too.
For a start the engine produces that typically-triple chunky note and beat. It’s a happy, enthusiastic sort of noise and it fits the 1.0’s character well.
With short gearing and only an 830kg kerb weight to pull along, the Celerio is surprisingly zippy. It has no problem keeping up on traffic light-strewn urban roads, or blending in on 100km/h freeways.
A positive gearshift and easy clutch action on the manual helps in such situations. It’s really good for around town too, allied with light electric-assist rack and pinion, and excellent outward vision.
If you’re driving takes you regularly out on to the open road then be prepared for the noisiness of the cabin (road and engine), the less than sure-footed feel that a tiny footprint and light weight delivers and for some kickback through the steering wheel on bumpy corners.
It’s not bad though considering its size.
Meanwhile, the ride on small 14-inch steel wheels, 165/65-series Bridgestone Ecopia rubber and basic MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension is pretty darn good.
That raised seating position is one of the most positive things about the Celerio’s interior. Another is the surprisingly generous size of the front bucket seats; while flat, they offer plenty of under-thigh support, a sizeable backrest and a cheery motif.
There is a moderate amount of storage up-front, including narrow door pockets, two cup holders and a reasonable glove box. The look of the dash and the instrument pod is also user-friendly.
Overall it can be described as ‘utilitarian’, and at this money that’s no surprise. There is no reach adjustment on the steering column, no footrest, although the angle of the firewall substitutes just fine.
Adult rear-seat passengers will find space is tight behind a medium to tall driver, but they do get lap-sash seatbelts, a headrest, door-mounted cup holders, one seat-back pocket and an overhead grab handle.
Exit and entry into the rear of the Suzuki Celerio is aided by quite wide-opening doors.
The boot is claimed to be 254 litres, which is enough to get a decent amount of shopping on-board, or a couple of suitcases. The rear bench flips forward to expand that to 726 litres and believe it or not you can fit a full-size mountain bike in there with the front wheel removed.
The 2015 Suzuki Celerio offers just a four-star ANCAP safety rating.
Summing it up; the Suzuki Celerio does provide an attractive option that will not be too hard on the bank balance. This is a city car, built to a price and for a specific purpose.
But, if you’re after a shopping trolley or urban runabout that will be cheap to buy and run then this is a car that can go on your test drive list.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2015 Suzuki Celerio
Engine: 1.0 litre petrol producing 50kW and 90Nm
Transmission: Five-speed manual or CVT automatic
Safety: Four stars
Price: From $12,990