Tested: 2022 Suzuki Celerio

Rising food prices, steep fuel price hikes, spiraling cost of living, and the eventual threat of recession. Newspapers, websites, and social media channels are swarmed with these dooming phrases.

The costs of car ownership have soared, not only due to the price of fuel and maintenance, but also the cost of vehicles. Luckily, the vehicle record breaker of late, Suzuki SA, might have the perfect solution.  

We were pleasantly surprised at the recent launch of the new Suzuki Celerio. This Maruti Suzuki product proved to be distant from the stereotype that not much value can be gained from a new car under R200 000.  

It offers great quality and refinement for a vehicle at this price point, sending many top hybrid vehicles to shame. With a claimed fuel consumption of 4.2 liters per 100km, it will not see the fueling stations too often.  

The new Celerio is larger than its predecessor, giving rear passengers more legroom while resulting in some 300 litres of boot space. With this, the entry-level GA model also comes equipped with air conditioning, power steering, keyless start, rear parking sensors, dual front airbags, ISOFIX points and ABS with EBD. This for R174 900. 

The second-grade GL model even adds alloy wheels, front fog lamps, electric windows, central locking, hill hold assist, and a 7-inch infotainment screen with all the latest connectivity. At R194 900 for the manual (5-speed) and R209 900 for the automatic (4-speed), this is not bad.

Driving experience

With a week’s worth of testing after the launch, we had time to realistically test the new Celerio.

Let’s get to some figures first. Throughout the week, we understandably struggled to match the fuel consumption figures of Suzuki. However, with mostly urban driving, the fuel consumption still stayed firm on 5.2l / 100km.

The Celerio is featherlight yet does not feel unstable on a windy and open road, much like most of its competitors in this segment. Furthermore, its reasonable weight means that not much is needed to propel this car forward.

A naturally aspirated 1.0 litre VVT engine produces 49kW at 5500rpm and 89Nm at 3500rpm. This high-revving three-cylinder motor is quite noisy on the open road, yet punchy when required. And let’s be honest, you won’t purchase this car for evenings spent at the drag strip. Rather, this car is all about practicality.

Yes, the cabin is fitted with hard plastics and cloth seats, but it’s much more refined and well-planned when compared to other cars in the segment. The GL model even has a multi-purpose steering wheel with voice command and phone operation.

Leg- and headroom in the back is very generous, with two full-sized adults being able to sit comfortably. We even tested this to the max, driving around the city with five fully-grown adults in the car. No one complained of aching bones or a knee against their ear. Even with the additional weight, the Celerio did not struggle to pull away.

The Celerio has been designed to be the perfect urban traveller, yet an adequate highway mover when required. It is an enjoyable car to drive and, as with all other Suzuki products, has character. 

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