£6,999 - £10,199 Price range
65 - 78 MPG
The Suzuki Celerio is a five-door supermini with two big selling points: it’s bigger than city cars such as the Volkswagen Up and Skoda Citigo, but smaller than traditional superminis such as the Ford Fiesta – thus making the Celerio roomy, yet still easy to fit into tiny of parking spaces.
And then there’s the price. The Celerio is one of the cheapest new cars you can buy, and the entry-level SZ2 model costs just £6,999, although by buying one through carwow you can save an average of £620.
So what do you get for your money? For a start, you get more space than in the more expensive Volkswagen Up. Rear seat passengers will enjoy the Celerio’s flat floor, so they won’t have their knees jammed into the backs of the front seats. The boot is also bigger than any city car’s.
The Celerio comes with a small three-cylinder engine that sips fuel and is free to tax, but isn’t as much fun as the triple-cylinder unit fitted to the VW. It’ll easily keep up with traffic at motorway speeds however and returns 78.4mpg if you pick the Dualjet version of the engine.
The interior is where you start to notice that you’re driving a cheap car. Everything is solidly built, but the door trims are really plasticky and things look a little drab. That said, everything functions as it should and it’s a comfortable place to sit for motorway journeys.
If you’re after a roomy-but-small cheap car, then the Celerio should be high on your shopping list. Read on to see about each area of it in more detail.
Cheapest to buy: SZ2
Cheapest to run: SZ3 Dualjet
Fastest model: SZ3 Dualjet
Most popular model: SZ3
The plastics in the Celerio’s interior feel cheap but sturdy – you get the sense that this is a car that’ll put up with daily abuse for decades. There isn’t the design flair you’ll find in a Volkswagen Up, and everything’s a bit grey – the only splashes of colour are on the seats, which have a blue bubble design.
When we tested the Celerio in 2015 our biggest gripe was the tiny door pockets – there’s no room in either of the front doors to slot a small bottle of water. They’re so narrow you’d just be able to fit a paperback book, but nothing bigger.
Suzuki Celerio passenger space
The Celerio looks boxy on the outside for a reason – rear-seat passengers have plenty of headroom, and because the floor is flat you won’t find your knees around your ears if you end up sitting on the rear seats. The doors open nice and wide too, so it’s easy to get in and out of the front and back with the minimum of fuss and body twisting.
Suzuki Celerio boot space
The Celerio has a 254-litre boot, which beats the Hyundai i10‘s load space by two litres and the Volkswagen Up by three. Although Suzuki hasn’t revealed the car’s total capacity with the rear seats down expect to be close to, if not more, than its two main rivals.
Making the Celerio a car that’s fun wasn’t high on Suzuki’s list of priorities when designing it, but it’s generally easy to operate and the driver’s seat gives an excellent all-round view out of the car’s surroundings.
One slight fly in the ointment is that the clutch bite point feels quite vague, making it hard to drive the Celerio smoothly at speeds under 10mph. Once you’re above that speed making smooth progress is a cinch, and the Suzuki will accelerate smoothly up to motorway speeds, where it feels just as stable as a much larger car would.
The Celerio’s steering also takes a few minutes to adjust because it doesn’t self-centre when you let go of it. This means you have to turn the steering wheel a little more than in other cars when straightening up out of junctions, for example, but the steering’s lightness means it’s not a big problem.
The five-speed manual gearbox is slick and easy to use, and it’s positioned quite high up, so you don’t have to move your hand far from the steering wheel to change gear.
Overall, it’s an unchallenging car to drive and is as at home on a bumpy country road as it is on a motorway. The suspension will let thud noises into the cabin, but the ride is generally comfortable and it doesn’t lean too much in fast corners.
Cheap running costs are what cars like the Celerio are all about and it comes with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that’s very frugal. In May 2015 Suzuki added a more advanced Dualjet version of the engine which makes it more fuel efficient and adds a little more acceleration.
Suzuki Celerio Dualjet engine
The standard engine will get 65.7mpg, and the Dualjet version increases that to an impressive 78.4mpg. We drove the Dualjet version on an 80-mile trip around the M25 circling London with little traffic and saw a real-world average of 64mpg.
Regardless of whether you pick the Dualjet or the standard version of the engine you won’t have to pay road tax – the normal version emits 99g/km of CO2, and the Dualjet drops that to 84g/km. The Dualjet engine comes with stop/start to save fuel in stationary traffic, but the normal version has to make do without.
With 68hp from both versions of the engine, the Celerio is far from being a powerhouse, but 0-62mph in 13.5 seconds (13.0 for the Dualjet) is quicker than the basic Volkswagen Up can manage. Having said that, the VW’s engine revels in being worked hard, while the Celerio’s can sound strained. Those acceleration figures may seem slow, but the engine’s perfectly strong enough to accelerate up to motorway speeds without a worry.
Suzuki Celerio ASG automatic gearbox
Another change for 2015 was the addition of an automated manual gearbox option, but you’ll have to pick the top-spec SZ4 model if you want it. It drops the acceleration times down to 15.2 seconds if you shift up gears yourself using the automatic’s gearstick, or 16.4 seconds if you just leave the gearbox in normal automatic mode. Fuel economy is unchanged from the manual model’s figure.
The three-star Euro NCAP safety rating awarded to the Celerio is a sore point for the company, because the car tested didn’t have the curtain airbags that are fitted as standard to UK cars. With them fitted, Suzuki claims, the Celerio would have performed much better. In total, it has six airbags and also comes as standard with stability control and tyre pressure monitors.
A brake failure experienced during two magazine road tests has since been resolved with the company issuing a recall for a 30-minute fix to the car’s brake-pedal release mechanism. This system is fitted to the majority of modern cars and pulls the brake pedal away from the driver’s feet in a crash to reduce leg injuries.
Style might not be the Suzuki’s forte, but a decent level of standard equipment certainly is.
Suzuki Celerio SZ2
Basic models get an understandably limited level of kit given the price. But all the basics are there including central locking and DAB for crystal clear sound from your favourite radio station. Another useful feature is the height adjustable drivers seat that means shorter adults can get a decent view outside the car.
Suzuki Celerio SZ3
A standout standard feature of the SZ3 model is air-conditioning, which you do without in basic versions of the Volkswagen Up and is almost an essential in our ever-hotter summers. A Bluetooth phone connection and remote central locking complete the equipment list, while the drab exterior gets some sparkle courtesy of 14-inch polished-black alloy wheels and front foglights.
Suzuki Celerio SZ4
Upgrade from SZ3 to SZ4 (at an £1,000 premium) and the kit list includes rear electric windows and electrically adjustable wing mirrors. SZ4 models can’t be ordered with the more efficient and faster Dualjet engine (which is a £500 premium over the normal SZ3), however, so it’s worth considering whether you’d prefer a little more speed and better fuel economy.
With a spacious interior, comparatively big boot and lots of equipment, there’s plenty to like about the Suzuki Celerio. It’ll also be cheap to run and is slightly quicker than basic rivals.
But if you need a car to get from A to B while seating four people in relative comfort and not using much fuel while doing it, the Celerio is highly recommended. It won’t set the world alight in terms of driving fun, but it offers great value for money and hides its low cost well.