Suzuki Celerio review
The Suzuki Celerio’s an inexpensive small car that’s roomier than most city cars and pretty frugal, but its interior feels dated and you get very little equipment as standard
What's not so good
Suzuki Celerio: what would you like to read next?
The Suzuki Celerio is a back-to-basics city car that’s easy to drive and surprisingly spacious. Sure, it’s not quite as exciting to look at as a VW Up but few cars represent such good value for money.
Sadly, you’ll see where Suzuki has saved some cash the minute you climb in. The cabin’s drab design, hard grey plastics and old-fashioned stereo feel like they’ve been taken from a ‘90s time capsule.
Apple CarPlay? Android Auto? Satellite Navigation? Nope, you won’t find these words anywhere in the Celerio brochure – instead you’ll have to make do with a weedy two-speaker stereo and a Bluetooth connection for your phone.
Thankfully, what it lacks in character and high-tech features it makes up for in passenger space. The Celerio might be small, but there’s room for three people on the back seats, unlike the VW Up, which has only two seatbelts in the back. The back seats are reasonably roomy, too: there’s just enough space for a six-foot-tall passenger to sit behind an equally tall driver.
The boot’s pretty roomy for a small car, too. A baby buggy will fit with enough space left over for a few soft bags. It’s easier to load bulky items than in the Up too, and there’s even room for a bike if you flip the back seats down. The Hyundai i10 still leads the field for outright carrying capacity, however.
The Suzuki Celerio is affordable but slightly mundane – a bit like celery then…
Fill the Suzuki’s boot to the brim and its 1.0-litre petrol engine will have to work hard to keep up with fast-moving traffic. It feels reasonably nippy without any heavy luggage or passengers on board, however, and makes light work of skipping through tight city streets.
You might be tempted by the optional automatic gearbox but it’s nowhere near as smooth as the i10’s automatic and causes the Celerio’s already rather vocal engine to grumble loudly when you accelerate hard. Add to this the unpleasant wind and tyre noise you’ll hear at motorway speeds and it’s quite tiring to drive for long periods.
The Suzuki also loses out to more expensive alternatives in the safety department. You can’t get it with automatic emergency braking or lane-keeping assist, and its three-star Euro NCAP safety rating lags behind the four-star i10 and five-star-rated Up.
Still, if it’s a cheap and cheerful city car you’re looking for that’s big enough to carry five adults on short journeys, the Celerio is well worth a look.
You’ll probably look at the Celerio and think it’s just a small car, but you’ll be amazed at just how many people will fit inside comfortably. It’s just a shame the boot isn’t a bit more practical
Suzuki's engineers have pulled off such an amazing trick in getting so much space inside the Celerio that you'll be wondering why they aren't in the Magic Circle
The Suzuki wins plenty of points when it comes to passenger space. Even if you’re very tall you’ll have no trouble getting comfy in the front seats – the driver’s seat comes with height adjustment as standard and you can tweak the steering wheel position to give you enough space for your knees, too.
The front seats come with a ratchet system for adjusting how much they recline. It makes it a little more difficult to find your ideal driving position than using a conventional twist wheel but it means you can spring from bolt-upright to lying down in less than a second – ideal if you ever find yourself taking part in an impromptu police stakeout.
Space in the back is nearly as generous as in the front. There’s much more head and leg room than you get in either a VW Up or a Hyundai i10 and the back doors open very wide so it’s easy to lift in a bulky rear-facing child seat. The Isofix anchor points are clearly marked too, so you won’t have any trouble sliding in the seat base first time.
There’s just enough room to carry three adults side-by-side in the back thanks to the Celerio’s narrow doors and there’s only a small lump in the floor to get in the way of your central passenger’s feet.
You get a few handy storage bins to help you keep the Celerio’s cabin neat and tidy. The glovebox is large enough to hold a one-litre bottle and there’s a handy storage tray under the dashboard for your phone with a 12V socket and (in SZ3 models and above) a USB port. You get a pair of small cupholders just behind the gear lever and there’s a third larger cupholder between the front seats for your passengers in the back to share.
Unfortunately, the door bins aren’t particularly spacious. There’s room in the back doors to store two small bottles on each side but the pockets in the front doors are very thin – you’ll struggle to squeeze in anything larger than a rolled-up newspaper.
The Celerio’s boot is reasonably spacious for such a small car. With the back seats in place you can fit 254 litres of luggage in its deep load bay – that’s slightly more than both the 252-litre Hyundai i10 and 251-litre VW Up can manage. There’s less of a boot lip to lift heavy luggage over in the Suzuki than in the Hyundai too, but you don’t get any handy hooks or netted cubbies to hold smaller items in place.
Still, there’s enough space to carry a baby buggy or a large suitcase without removing the parcel shelf and there’s just enough room for a few small soft bags under the boot floor.
You can flip the Suzuki’s back seats down in a two-way (60:40) split to let one passenger sit in the back alongside some very long luggage poking through from the boot. Flip both back seats down and the Celerio’s boot grows to 726 litres. It might not be quite as spacious as the Up’s 959-litre boot or the 1,046-litre load bay you get in an i10 but there’s still enough space – unbelievably – to carry a bike with its wheels attached – that’s if your front-seat passenger doesn’t mind moving their seat forward slightly.
Unfortunately, once you’ve folded the rear seats down there’s a large lump in the Suzuki’s boot floor that’ll make sliding heavy boxes right up behind the front seats a bit of a pain. There’s nowhere handy to store the parcel shelf either, so you’ll have to leave it behind if you’re carrying very tall items in the boot.
The Celerio’s hard to fault if you stick to short journeys around town. It’s frugal and easy to drive but it can get noisy at motorway speeds and it’s a bit bumpy on rougher roads
Just because the Celerio’s bigger inside than many small cars doesn't mean it’s more relaxing to drive – posher alternatives make it feel a bit old-fashioned
The Celerio comes with a 1.0-litre petrol engine producing 65hp. It’s far from the fastest small car on sale but it’s nippy enough to make light work of city driving. It’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in a not-particularly-thrilling 13.5 seconds but Suzuki claims it’ll return an impressive 65.7mpg – in normal driving you can expect to see a figure approaching 60mpg.
You can get a very slightly more powerful Dualjet version in SZ3 trim with 68hp that’ll reach 62mph from rest in 13 seconds but you’ll barely notice the difference in normal driving and it costs an extra £600. It only emits 84g of CO2 per kilometre compared to the standard car’s 99g.
Sadly, both engines are quite loud at speed and even the more powerful version has to work hard to keep up with motorway traffic. Both the VW Up and Hyundai i10 are available with more powerful engines that’ll be more suitable for long motorway journeys.
You can get the Celerio with an automatic gearbox for an extra £800 but it’s not particularly responsive and can cause the engine to rev loudly when you accelerate hard. It’s a little jerky at slow speeds too, which can make traffic jams more stressful than they ought to be. You’re better off saving yourself some cash and sticking to the manual.
You won’t have any trouble driving the Celerio around town. Its large windows and thin pillars between the doors and windscreen make it easy to see out of and a doddle to park – handy because you can’t get it with parking sensors or a reversing camera.
All the pedals are nicely spaced and the light steering makes it easy to thread through tight city streets. Unfortunately the steering can sometimes hesitate before returning to the straight-ahead position which doesn’t inspire much confidence on a winding country road.
The Suzuki’s rather stiff suspension can highlight bumps around town but does help stop its boxy body from leaning too much in tight corners. This’ll help stop your passengers from feeling car sick on long drives, too.
Head out onto the motorway and you’ll hear plenty of wind noise and a loud roar from the Suzuki’s tyres. It’s certainly less relaxing to drive at speed than a VW Up or Hyundai i10.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite as safe as these other small cars. The Celerio earned a three-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in 2014 compared to the four-star i10 and five-star Up. This is partly down to its lack of advanced active safety tech such as automatic emergency braking that’ll help stop the car quickly if it senses a vehicle in the road ahead. You also have to do without lane-keeping assist, cruise control or a speed limiter.
The Celerio’s interior is impressively roomy for such a small car, but no amount of leg and head room can distract from the cheap plastics and boring design