Whether it's Indonesia or India, the demand for compact hatchbacks or city cars is omnipresent in the Asian automotive market. And what else comes to one’s mind when talking about city cars than the Japanese automakers Suzuki Motors. We have already seen a large fleet of successful city cars in heavily populous countries such as Indonesia, China, India, Vietnam and Thailand that are not just easy to maneuver in city traffic but also provided more miles per gallon. The added fuel economy and the compact size of such vehicles makes them a premier choice for buyers with small families and heavy city traffic. Fuel economy is a must in these vehicles as traffic is usually slow and automatic transmission is still not that popular in Indonesia and India.
Suzuki Motors this entry in the subcompact hatchback market is the Celerio that was intended to replace their previous entries A-Star and Zen Estillo, both of which enjoyed moderate success. Built on a similar platform the Suzuki Celerio offers a decent amount of interior space and a stylishly smart body design that will stand out from its competitors. The first Celerio model was launched at the Delhi Auto Expo 2014 and borrowed several of its design cues from the previously unveiled A-Wind Concept.
Looking at the Celerio’s drivetrain, it comprises of a 1.0-litre K-Series engine that delivers an astonishing performance despite its relatively small size. This is the same engine that also powers the Wagon R but is tuned for better performance. Its smart fuel injection technology also provides a great fuel economy, which makes the Celerio a major competitor in the city car segment. The latest version also makes some minor changes to the vehicle’s styling including new chrome garnishes above the headlamps and turn indicators integrated in the ORVMs. Its compact yet smart design and a light steering wheel makes it a fun drive even on the busiest of Indonesian roads.
Fuel economy and more miles per gallon is one of the main forte for the Japanese auto experts who have ruled the larger Indian market since the 80s with this advantage. The Celerio is powered by a K10b DOHC engine that has been proven to provide a remarkable fuel optimization technology giving the vehicle an astonishing mileage of 23.1 kmpl. This is definitely an advantage over its competitors, despite the small engine size.
Suzuki Celerio’s drivetrain comprises of the same K10B 12-Valve DOHC engine as the Wagon R and the New Splash. It generates around 68 bhp @ 6000 rpm and a torque of 90 Nm @ 3,500 rpm. These figures sound pretty neat when talking about the city car segment but might feel a little low when comparing it with the likes of Honda Brio and Nissan Micra.
The Celerio’s drivetrain might sound pretty standard when looking at its specs, but the small sized engine has been tuned by the manufacturers to give a top speed of 175 kmph with the automatic transmission variant. It also reaches 0-100 kmph in around 15.5 seconds.
Talking about the Celerio’s exterior styling, it is pretty much the same as the older variant with some minor changes that provide a breath of fresh air. But when you think of it as a replacement to the Estillo, Suzuki Motors have certainly taken out all the annoying parts and updated it with a smarter look. Like already mentioned, do not let the Celerio’s small car status confuse you as it is blessed with the dimensions of an entry level sedan. Many might feel the design to be too generic, but that doesn’t mean its not good and the Celerio’s simplistic design will attract a significant number of buyers. The headlamps have been accented with chrome and add a dash of sportiness to the vehicle’s front fascia. The black grille also looks pretty stylish with the chrome plated Suzuki emblem in the middle. There might be a mixed feeling around the size of the wheels as for some reason, the manufacturers thought it would be nice to give a seemingly big car, with 14 inch wheels. The side profile of the Suzuki Celerio also looks pretty standard and might appear like the old Alto that is sold in the Indian market as the A-Star. The rear however feels refreshing with the remodeled tail lamps and a smart looking spoiler that adds to the car’s masculinity. Buyers in Indonesia however, will certainly feel much better as the Celerio replaces the horrendous looking Estilo.
The overall length of the Suzuki Celerio is measured at 3600 mm with a width of 1600 mm. This means that the customers get a decent sized vehicle, an advantage against its competitors. Its height is 1540 mm that also makes it more suited to the bumpy streets of Indonesia. The vehicle’s turning radius is 4.7 meters, providing maximum maneuverability in the tightest of spots.
Despite of being in the compact vehicle segment, the Celerio surely doesn’t feel like a small car from the inside. Comparing it with the likes of Nissan Micra, Datsun Go and Honda Brio, the Celerio’s interior certainly look like they can hold their own. There is ample amount of space for all the occupants and the vehicle can easily fit 5 occupants including the driver. The jet black dashboard looks stylish with symmetrical lines that flow from the center console to the front. The infotainment console also looks great with plenty of buttons and gadgets to give it an upmarket feel.
With such spacious Interiors, there’s no chance that the occupants won’t feel comfortable. The Celerio’s powerful air conditioner cools the entire cabin in a matter of minutes. Being a small car helps the Celerio in this aspect as the compact dimensions do not require additional cooling vents at the rear. It also features power windows for the front and rear, smartly places AC vents. One might feel the polka dotted accents and upholstery look substandard but the quality of the material certainly adds to the ‘upmarket-ness’ of the vehicle.
If you compare the Celerio’s overall interior space to Honda Brio, it will certainly feel much spacious. The trunk can hold upto 254 litres which can also be increased by folding the rear seats. The front row passengers get a total of 173 mm of space.
The Suzuki Celerio unfortunately is presented with the same old engine that underpinned the previous Estilo. However, it is also provided with a 5 speed automatic transmission, that enhances the engine’s performance beyond its threshold and provides it with a top speed of 175 kmph. The automatic transmission is actually the same as a manual gearbox, but the shifting is controlled by hydraulics to enable automatic shifting of the gears according to the vehicle’s speed.
Although the center console isn’t very flashy as the luxury class, it certainly looks pretty upmarket with tonnes of functionality. 4 speakers have been provided in the doors for both front and rear occupants and is controlled by a Dash audio unit. It can play a variety of audio files with support for USB, CD, Radio and AUX. The inbuilt equalizer is also pretty decent with presets for various genres of music.
Like mentioned above, the Celerio’s wheel size might make the buyers feel a little skeptical as it has been provided with 14 inch wheels with 5 spoke hubcaps. The smaller wheel size looks a bit awkward as compared to the large body of the vehicle. Also, there is no choice for alloys which provides more room for its competitors to overshadow the Celerio’s sales.
The inclusion of ABS with EBD has certainly improved the Celerio’s safety quotient as compared to its Indian variant. The ventilated disc brakes on the front provide maximum braking efficiency being a front wheel drive. The drum brakes on the rear also do a decent job at halting the vehicle to a standstill with extra support from the ABS mechanism. The small turning radius of 4.7 meters is also great for tight spots and makes the vehicle extremely efficient in heavy traffic. The tilt adjustable steering wheel also feels extremely light when driving making heavy maneuvering a breeze.
The 2015 model was provided 4 out of 5 stars by the Euro NCAP, under heavy criticism for rating the Celerio with low points. Although it lacks ABS as a standard feature, same is the case it with its competitors who also offer their variants without an active ABS mechanism. The car’s small sized wheels provide a serious disadvantage without the ABS support, but its robust body and ventilated disc brakes do a decent job of minimizing the risk of collision. Additionally the 3-point ELR seatbelts for the front and two-point ELR for the rear passengers also reduces the risk of injury or shock during a collision.