Brent Co / Brent Co | September 18, 2009 00:00
Big thing in a small packageDeveloped and manufactured in India by Maruti Suzuki, Suzuki's Indian subsidiary, the Celerio is Suzuki's much-awaited successor to its Alto subcompact city car. It is also known as the A-star, or Alto Celerio in other markets.
The design is a young, European-inspired concept as claimed by Rajesh Kumar Gogu and Saurabh Singh of Maruti Suzuki India, but it looks more like a fusion of a Citroen C1, a Kia Picanto, and a Hyundai i10; all of which it competes with in the European market and locally, with the exception of the Citroen.
Under the hood is a Euro-5 compliant, normally aspirated, 997cc lightweight three-cylinder aluminum K10B engine, which the manufacturer claims can go up to 19.59 kilometers per liter. Power output is rated 67ps at 6200rpm while pulling 90Nm at 3500rpm. Being primarily a city car, don't expect to be sprinted away by the engine, as it was engineered with economy in mind. It does, however, have decent power for its use. The evenly geared four-speed automatic transmission changes gears virtually without any shift shock.
Suspension is composed of front MacPherson struts and a three-link rigid rear suspension which provides decent car control. In the ride comfort department, it absorbs road bumps and ruts quite decently despite being a short wheelbase car. A well set-up brake system combined with the car's lightness provides very good stopping power for the car.
Being small and compact, the Celerio does offer adequate space for four average-sized Asians. The boot can fit 110 liters of cargo, but folding the rear seats pushes it up to 345 liters. Power amenities come in the form of doorlocks, power front windows, keyless entry and electric power steering. The driver, however, does not have access to the passenger window control. An MP3/WMA capable CD player provides in-car entertainment with 6 speakers.
The Celerio comes big in safety features as it is equipped with modern active safety equipment such as anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, and dual front airbags. While passive safety features were side impact beams and child seat anchors. However, it was only given 3 stars by the Euro NCAP (Europe's vehicle safety testing agency) for the locally available setup.
Indeed big things come in small packages; the Celerio is packed with power and safety features with a dash-mounted tachometer to boot, all uncommon in its segment. As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. In this case, the Php569,000 retail gets you all these added features that come with the car which might make the car seem bit unattractive to the budget conscious. Although this car seems boring for my liking, it may however excite those who value frugality. Its also an alternative for the Alto buyer but want a more stylish vehicle to get them from point A to point B.