SMALL car experts Suzuki has done it again by producing one of the best value compact city cars in this sector which is packed with standard kit for a price less than £7000 albeit by just one pound and is also forecast to have good residual values writes Bryan Longworth.
It is the Suzuki Celerio which is built in Thailand replacing the Alto and Splash and has a name that sounds like an Italian vegetable but in fact is Spanish meaning Celestial River referring to stars in the sky - Alto was called Celerio in other markets so it was adopted globally for the new car.
Celerio had a briefly delayed sale date last March due to a pre-launch brake problem but Suzuki to their credit quickly resolved this and it has been selling extremely well with what is arguably the best value for money car in this sector.
I was testing the entry level Celerio 1.0 SZ2 which costs £6,999 on the road and is powered by a three cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine with a combined fuel consumption of 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km that means there is no road tax to pay.
It was also one of the few test cars I have driven that has managed to achieve the combined fuel consumption figure because it is usually around 10mpg less than the quoted figure for most cars - on delivery the Celerio had done nearly 300 miles on £20 worth of petrol!
Despite it being the entry model my Celerio was quite well equipped with standard kit including six airbags, electric front windows, central locking, electronic stability programme, ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, tyre pressure monitor and driver’s seat height adjuster which is useful for getting a good elevated driving position.
I liked the ease of getting into and out of the Celerio a feature older owners will appreciate and it was quite roomy considering it is a compact city car with the rear load area being one of the largest for this type of vehicle and is indeed the best in class.
The engine had that distinctive noise made by three cylinder units but it was not intrusive and it performed quite well being linked with the five speed manual transmission to the front wheels and seeming to be nippier than the zero to 62mph acceleration time of 13.5 seconds might otherwise indicate.
Driving the Celerio with its well weighted steering was quite enjoyable and it had an excellent steering lock that allows the driver to make the tightest possible U turns and is also ideal for tight parking situations.
Despite the impressive list of standard kit the driving mirrors are manually operated and the ignition key has to be inserted in the door lock which I found rather strange at first after getting so used to automatic mirrors and remote locking and unlocking in most test cars which are not often the entry level model but this was not a problem.
Having said that it was interesting to drive an entry level model of a test car again and I was quite impressed with the Celerio overall and could not find anything to really grumble about.
For this is an excellent value for money compact city car which offers a lot of equipment no road tax and excellent fuel economy for such a low price making it ideal especially for owners on a tight budget.
Model: Suzuki Celerio 1.0 SZ2.
Engine: Three cylinder petrol.
Output: 67bhp @ 6000rpm.
Transmission: Five speed manual.
Top speed: 96mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 13.5 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 65.7mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 99g/km.