WITH a blizzard of city cars launched on to the market in the past few years, Suzuki's contender - the Celerio - faces an intense fight for sales.
The Japanese motor manufacturer pitches its baby at the value for money end of the spectrum with an emphasis on practicality.
Replacing the Alto and Splash city cars this year, the Celerio offers lots of interior space plus a ton of kit, as well as being cheap to buy and run.
The cabin is surprisingly spacious for a car this size with a simple design that is nevertheless modern and user friendly.
The seats are supportive while a comfortable driving position takes seconds to achieve. The dash is well set out, so is easy to navigate with all controls a cinch to see and use.
The Suzuki's high-sided shape mean there is plenty of headroom with a large wheelbase giving plenty of leg room for rear-seat passengers.
The boot is big for a city mini with the smallest Suzuki model boasting a large luggage capacity of 254 litres with the rear seats in place and 726 litres when they are folded. Getting stuff in and out is easy as the opening is wide while the tailgate height is low so you don't have to stretch to close it.
The equipment list is extensive with even the entry-level model fitted with alloy wheels and body-coloured bumpers while the flagship SZ4 motor I drove also boasts front fog lights, colour-coded mirrors and a natty chrome grille. When you get behind the wheel you notice a decent stereo system and Bluetooth connectivity as well as an efficient air conditioning system plus a USB connection for your mobile music device.
The Celerio is set up to excel in the urban jungle so is at its best zipping around town. There's an elevated driving position giving a good view of the motoring world around you while the ride is smooth with the many humps and hollows littering our town and city roads well absorbed.
There is plenty of grip in corners and the car is nimble thanks to a tight turning circle while the steering is precise giving a good feel for what is happening on the road.
The 1.0-litre petrol engine is also best seen in an urban environment as it needs to be worked hard to get up to motorway speeds taking more than 13 seconds to travel from 0-62mph. Around town though it's a responsive beast putting its three cylinders and limited horse power to best use.
It also scores heavily on fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions which make for wallet-friendly running costs as it emits less than 100g/km of CO2 so qualifies for free road tax. Insurance and servicing costs are also relatively cheap.
Revisions to the five-speed manual transmission - accessed via a high-mount gear shift - also help enhance fuel efficiency with a gear-change indicator on the dash informing the driver when to change up or down.