Suzuki Celerio 1.0

SZ3 Dualjet

Suzuki Celerio, front
Suzuki Celerio, front
Suzuki Celerio, front
Suzuki Celerio, front
Suzuki Celerio, rear
Suzuki Celerio, rear
Suzuki Celerio, fascia
Suzuki Celerio, fascia
Suzuki Celerio, rear seats
Suzuki Celerio, boot
Suzuki Celerio, fascia

STEPPING into someone else's shoes can be a daunting task - but imagine having to fill two peoples' boots at the same time.

That is effectively what the Celerio was asked to do in motoring terms when it went on sale in the UK earlier this year.

Suzuki's new baby was introduced to replace not only the Alto city car in the Japanese manufacturer's line-up but also the Splash compact MPV.

Things couldn't have gotten off to a worse start for the newcomer when brake failures during media testing meant all cars in the UK and Ireland had to be recalled just days after going on sale, as well as those in Australia and New Zealand.

With the problems quickly ironed out, though, the Celerio has made steady progress in the growing market for low-cost city cars.

More than 3,000 have already been delivered, half way to Suzuki's first year projection of 6,000, and as a replacement for the aforementioned Alto and Splash, this car makes a pretty good fist of combining the attributes of both.

At just 3.6 metres long it has the compact city-friendly dimensions of the former and proves very easy to manoeuvre around town and squeeze into spaces in tight city centre car parks.

And while the Celerio's boxy, upright stance won't be winning any design awards it allows interior space to be maximised in the same way that it was in the Splash.

Head and legroom is impressive for such a small car and, unlike many in its class, it is a genuine five-seater.

Shoulder room might be tight for three adults in the back but three kids should be comfortable enough and a reasonably flat floor means they'll all have somewhere to put their feet. Wide-opening rear doors - all Celerio's are five-door - also makes access to the rear seats very easy.

Personal storage is good for a small car. Admittedly the front door bins are narrow, but the ones in the rear have bottle holders and there are plenty of other useful cubbies dotted around the cabin, which also feels very light and airy thanks to plenty of glass real estate.

All this space and practicality is topped off with a class-leading 254-litre boot which is more than capable of coping with a weekly family shopping load. The split rear seats also fold down if you need more capacity, and although doing this does leave quite a step in the floor that's par for the course in such compact cars.

Power for all Celerios comes from a 68 horsepower, three-cylinder petrol engine which is a little vocal but offers impressive fuel economy. It can be paired with an automatic gearbox in range-topping SZ4 trim and all models are exempt from road tax.

The Dualjet version in the car I drove, which is only available in mid-range SZ3 trim, takes economy and efficiency to even greater levels - offering a potential 78 miles per gallon on average with carbon emissions of just 84g/km.

There's a good deal of comfort to go with all that space too, as the Celerio offers a surprisingly smooth ride, for the most part, for a small car. There's little body roll in bends despite it's extra height, while only the biggest of potholes, of which there are plenty round our way, managed to unsettle it.

And while, perhaps unsurprisingly, it is neither the most engaging or exciting car to drive the willing three-pot engine proves refreshingly spritely in town and more than capable of keeping up on the motorway, although tyre-noise increases at cruising speeds.

You will have to work the snappy, five speed manual transmission to get the most out of the power pack but overall the feeling is one of a well-balanced and nimble little motor, helped by the accurate and well-weighted steering.

The Celerio's value-for-money credentials are enhanced by some pretty good equipment levels with SZ3 trim boasting alloy wheels, air conditioning, electronic stability programme, six airbags, LED daytime running lights, audio with DAB radio and USB and Bluetooth connectivity.

FAST FACTS

Suzuki Celerio 1.0 SZ3 Dualjet

Price: £8,499

Mechanical: 68hp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 96mph

0-62mph: 14.0 seconds

Combined MPG:78.4

Insurance Group: 7

C02 emissions: 84g/km

Bik rating:13%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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