THERE'S a snazzy, sharp-dressed new arrival on the small car scene that is aiming to really shake things up.
The five-door, five-seat Suzuki Celerio, which is priced from £7,999 and available in two richly-equipped trim levels, is not only fun and funky to look at and drive but it boasts best-in-class interior and boot space, plus best-in-class fuel efficiency.
Kit such as air conditioning, DAB radio, Bluetooth and alloy wheels are fitted as standard on the entry level SZ3 and if you move up to the SZ4 (priced from £8,999) you can expect to see 14-inch alloys, a different grille, body-coloured door handles and mirrors, four speakers and front fog lights.
The Celerio is currently available with a three-cylinder, 1.0-litre petrol powertrain with five-speed manual or an automated manual gearbox. That said, later this year a highly efficient Dualjet engine will be introduced delivering 78.4mpg and 84g/km of carbon emissions.
Despite its budget pricing, the Celerio is a classy little number with eye-catching design traits such as a sharp sculpted front end with sweeping headlights, flowing lines and a sporty looking rear.
The interior is pretty basic, but I have seen a lot more cheap plastic on far more expensive models. All the dials and readouts are perfectly positioned and the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility.
There is bags of space within the cabin and the high roofline results in lots of headroom in the back where there is plenty of legroom too. The boot can hold 254 litres of luggage which can be increased to 726 litres thanks to 60:40 split-folding rear seats.
So the Celerio looks good enough and has a classy interior for its budget price-tag, but how does it handle?
I tried out the manual model in SZ4 trim priced at £8,999 (£9,414 with metallic paint). This car can reach from 0-62mph in 13.5 seconds and tops out at 96mph. It can deliver 65.7mpg on a combined run with carbon emissions of 99g/km.
In fairness to the Celerio, it was driven in gale-force conditions with gusts of wind blowing wheelie bins across streets. However, it did remarkably well. On faster roads it was buffeted a little but maintained a steady 70mph without too much strain.
In busy traffic it accelerated through the five speeds nice and smoothly and manoeuvrability also impressed. That said; it did struggle for a sudden burst of pace which means overtaking slow vehicles takes some planning.
And that potential issue with the brake pedal which forced Suzuki to delay the introduction of the Celerio by a few weeks was never apparent.
Comfort levels were also good and the car can be thrown into bends at pace without any worries. In fact, it was even more fun to drive than I expected.
A very short run out in the AGS (Auto Gear Shift) model also proved entertaining with the option of changing gears manually via the gear stick.
The automated version is a little clunky but would possibly be much smoother after some time behind the wheel.
It would be ideal for anyone who does a lot of city driving and gets tired of constantly changing up and down through the gears. Prices for this model are yet to be released but it can sprint from 0-62mph in 16.4 seconds (15.2 in manual mode) and has a top speed of 96mph.
Fuel economy and emissions are the same as the manual model. Suzuki expects this particular version to account for about 15 per cent of Celerio sales.
It is expected that up to 70 per cent of buyers will choose the SZ3 model.
The Celerio is on sale now and there have already been 1,000 pre-orders. And with a target of 6,000 units this year the car is already turning heads in showrooms.