Suzuki Celerio SZ4

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

SOME cars have names like Mustang, Ranger, Charger or Falcon to make them sound as swift as Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes F1 car.

Unfortunately, Suzuki's latest city hatchback is called the Celerio which is the Latin name for a type of moth.

However, the Celerio is an excellent little three-potter that costs just £8,999 to drive away. It certainly shames its predecessor, the unremarkable Alto and Spark mini-MPV.

Several days behind the wheel of the top spec SZ4 model convinced me it gives a lot and wants little. In the city car market, it is up there with the best.

That's not to say it's perfect. A few niggles soon become apparent.

Inside the cabin, hard plastics dominate. Build quality is generally good although the doors make a tinny clink when closing. If you don't expect too much then you won't be disappointed.

On the positive side, the steering column adjusts for tilt but not reach. The upright seating position, however, means you are not too far away from the wheel. Seat belt height is adjustable to help taller drivers while the seat base can ratchet up to help shorter drivers.

The seats are not the most supportive, especially the flat and firm ones in the back but that's not unusual in the city car segment.

For its bargain basement price tag, the Celerio is well fitted out.

In top spec SZ4 trim it comes with front and rear electric windows, powered wing mirrors, Bluetooth and audio streaming as standard.

There's also a USB audio/charging port, a CD unit and digital DAB radio with four speakers, a trip computer and tyre pressure monitor but cruise control is not available.

Safety is taken care of by ABS with EBD and brake assist, electric stability program and six airbags.

With the 998cc, three-pot engine making just 68bhp at 6,000rpm and a pretty meagre 66lb/ft of torque at 3,500rpm, the Celerio needs revs to get moving in any meaningful way.

A slight incline needs you to change down once. A proper hill needs you to change down twice. The lack of oomph means you have to keep one step ahead of the Celerio when the car has to make headway against gravity.

Overtaking also needs a fair bit of planning - and a good straight road - but the car can keep up with the rest of the traffic without breaking into a sweat. Another gear would help overcome its lack of torque but despite its limitations, the Celerio offers plenty of driving fun.

Skinny tyres don't translate into brilliant performance in corners but that's not part of the Celerio's mission statement. Comfort is the focus of its job description and it fulfils that purpose very well. The dampers are tuned to be very compliant without too much body-roll, the Celerio feels very composed on the road.

The Celerio's boot is sizeable. Two medium-sized suitcases should fit in even with the parcel shelf in place so it is easily roomy enough for the weekly shop. There's a pretty big step behind the rear seats when you fold them down - par for the course in a car of this size.

There's plenty of head and leg room both in the front and back so four six-foot adults will fit comfortably - as well as two adults and three children - because the Celerio has five seat belts, unlike some rivals.

The ride comfort is impressive most of the time, only starting to jostle you about on rougher roads. On the motorway, the Celerio is very smooth and stable.

There is quite a lot of engine, wind and tyre noise. Even on the motorway, it is sometimes difficult to manage a conversation without raising your voice.

The cabin materials might turn you off but there's nothing bad about the cabin layout. A simple stereo system with big buttons sits on top of a similarly uncomplicated ventilation system while ahead of the driver are easy-to-read dials and chunky indicator stalks.

Steering and pedals are light and the outlook is good, thanks to slender window pillars.


Suzuki Celerio SZ4

Price: £8,999

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

Max Speed: 96mph

0-62mph: 13.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 65.7

Insurance Group: n/a

C02 emissions: 99g/km

Bik rating: 14%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles


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