SUZUKI underlines its enviable reputation as a small car expert with the launch of its new global compact city car, the Celerio.
Built in Thailand, the Celerio embodies many of the qualities that have seen Suzuki sales rise in recent times, including ease of driving, an elevated driving position, interior space that surpasses expectations and a surprisingly good luggage capacity.
The first Celerio on the British stage is a 1.0 three-cylinder petrol manual with a five-speed manual transmission which features a 96mph maximum speed and a 0-62mph sprint of 13.5 seconds, plus CO2 emissions of 99 g/km.
It is capable of a combined economy figure of 65.7mpg which most would agree is pretty good.
But it is to be followed by a Dualjet version of the same engine which is slower at 84mph maximum but returns a staggering combined economy figure of 78.4mph and a very low CO2 figure of 84g/km.
Priced from £7,999 to £8,999 it is very well equipped with six airbags and ESP fitted as standard safety equipment for both UK models.
Suzuki expects to sell 6,000 units of the new car in Britain this year as part of a major rationalisation of its range.
Strong residual values of 39 per cent at three years /60,000 miles are forecast by Glass's Guide.
Suzuki's newly developed AGS (Auto Gear Shift) will be offered from April. This system features an intelligent shift control actuator positioned at the top of the gearshift which operates the gearbox and clutch automatically.
On the road the early version of the Celerio that I drove proved to be an extremely comfortable small car with an elevated driving position that took a great deal of stress out of a long drive.
Obviously not one of the most lively cars on the road with its three-cylinder engine, but it proves itself as a true city car with an easy to park total length of just 3,600mm.
But it is also extremely roomy for a small car with best-in-class boot space of 254L. The basic model includes air conditioning, alloy wheels DAB radio, CD tuner plus Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
It competes against cars like the VW up! and Skoda Citigo and how it fares remains to be seen.
It is certainly one of the best models I have seen from Suzuki in recent times.
Cost of ownership is set to be low over a typical three year period with 12,500 mile service intervals, insurance group ratings of 7E for the base SZ3 and better equipped SZ4.
This is Suzuki's first big throw at producing a modern global City car with wide appeal and its neat clean cut lines and balance of compact dimension with interior space promise a healthy future.