Car Review: 2016 Suzuki Celerio CVT

Suzuki have built their reputation on providing niche filling small cars. The Alto was one such car and the nameplate has now been retired, in 2015 and changed to Celerio. It drives straight into a crowded market, with cars such as Holden’s Spark, Ford’s Fiesta and Toyota’s Yaris to contend with. A Wheel Thing checks out the 1.0 litre engine and CVT version of the 2016 Suzuki Celerio.2016 Suzuki Celerio auto profileConsidered a “city” car, the Celerio fits the bill with that 1.0 litre, three cylinder, engine. It develops 50 kilowatts at 6000 revs and 90 Newton metres of torque at 3500 revs. Unsurprisingly, it’s also light on the juice, with Suzuki quoting just 4.8L/100 km on a combined cycle from its miniscule 35 litre tank. A Wheel Thing covered over 550 kilometres in the city cycle and still had just under a half tank left. That’s an impressive statistic, given the engine needs a good prodding to get the car moving and even more impressive given the hill climbing the car did.2016 Suzuki Celerio auto engineThe CVT is old school, in that there’s no preprogrammed steps or manual gearchanges. It’s purely plant the foot and go. Although, there is a “Sports” button on the selector lever which made no real apparent difference. As a result, you’ll see upwards of four thousand on the tacho before it slides back to around two thousand. There’s a hesitation in the transmission too, between pushing the go pedal and actually getting forward motion. Yes, it’s noisy and thrashy with the CVT, it would be interesting to see how it drives with the manual gearbox it also comes with.2016 Suzuki Celerio auto front seats2016 Suzuki Celerio auto rear seatsInside, it’s back to basics for the strictly four seater; dials for the aircon bar a button for fresh or recirculate (and getting heat into the cabin is quick), manual adjustment for the seats but you do get electric mirrors and windows. Only the driver’s window is Auto and that’s down only. Audio wise, it’s a non touchscreen setup, reverting to an old school red LCD screen and there’s no steering wheel mounted controls. You do get USB, Auxuliary and CD. The cloth seats are comfy but you can feel it’s that poly-urethane filling that will soon compress but for now, they’ll do.2016 Suzuki Celerio auto cargoThere’s a tiny cargo space, at just 254 litres, perhaps just large enough for a single person’s weekly shop, which is in keeping with the intended audience the Celerio is aimed at. That does increase to a maximum of 1053 litres, but that would also involve blocking rearward vision. Interior plastics are bland, shining into the front window, but there’s hints of brightwork in the cabin. There’s no centre console but spaces for two cups/bottles and again the sun visors are too short for true effectiveness.2016 Suzuki Celerio auto dashOut on the road, it’s an interesting and potentially entertaining drive. Yes, it’s slow with the CVT. Yes, it’s noisy with the CVT. It’s noisy, full stop, with road and wind noise very noticeable, especially on the coarse chip surfaces found in NSW. But it will eventually get you where you need to be. That lag between pressing the accelerator and getting forward motion is an annoyance, but at least the brakes haul up the Celerio well enough, with discs at the front and drums at the rear.2016 Suzuki Celerio auto rearIt’s a moderately good handler, will crash the front suspension and feel as if the front struts will fall out when going at a moderate speed over the bigger traffic calming devices. It’s oddly taut at slower speeds, with smaller bumps feeling bigger than they are.2016 Suzuki Celerio auto wheelIt’s also highly susceptible to cross winds, in part due to the boxy shape and slabby sides. having very narrow track tyres doesn’t do much for stability either, with “tramlining” also a feature of the Celerio’s handling. It, too, will skip across some unsettled and rough surfaces, with a solid beam, three links, rear axle. A huge bonus those, that’s directly related to its size, is just how easy it is to park, even lacking a reverse camera and parking sensors. Steering is quick enough for most driving situations yet also feels as if the assistance it has is somewhat underpowered, given the narrowness of the tyre tread, at just 165/65 on 14 inch diameter wheels.

At The End Of The Drive.
Suzuki offer a three year/100,000 kilometre warranty and for most, that’s peace of mind enough. With the Celerio seemingly aimed at a market that would drive far less than thirty odd thousand kilometres per year, that’s more than enough.

The Celerio really is a city car, especially with the CVT. It’s definitely easy on the wallet, for economy and price, with the manual at $12990 driveaway and the CVT just one thousand dollars more. It’s roomy enough for two constantly and has a performance level that could just be described as adequate. And sometimes that’s all that people want. The Celerio is their car. Click here for details: 2016 Suzuki Celerio details

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