The truth of the matter at this day and age is that A-segment vehicles make absolute sense, predominantly in South Africa where the frail economic status gives no guarantee of what lies ahead.
With that said, the small car segment has seen significant growth in the past years as more and more manufacturers rally to focus on small cars. In South Africa, more small cars are now being accepted as smart, economic and perfect city runarounds.
A perfect example is the second-generation Suzuki Celerio that we spent time at the helm of. Speaking of accepting smaller cars, 27 000 models of the Celerio found homes in SA in 2021, a significant improvement over the 16,000 units sold in 2020.
Positioned slightly above the S-Presso, the new Suzuki Celerio is built on the new version of the Heartect platform that has resulted in improved space and altered the overall look of the new car.
It joins the market with two derivatives in two transmission offerings; GA and GL.
Aesthetically, the new Celerio is a fairly cute little car but that isn’t exactly its strongest selling point. It features a more rounded look that is complemented by chrome highlights and what Suzuki calls teardrop headlights.
The GL model we had a go in spawned 15” darkened alloys, body-coloured door handles and side mirrors. Opting for the lesser GA is a gateway to 14” steel wheels with modern covers.
Saddling inside, you are greeted by an interior that, at this pricing point, feels sublime to spend time in with adequate head and legroom. It is, however, not the case with shoulder room – this remains tight.
The boot space has also been increased to 295 litres and that is backed up by foldable rear seats as well as a number of storage pockets throughout the cabin.
Offered as standard in our Suzuki Celerio tester is the new easy-to-use 7” touchscreen infotainment system that incorporates Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth and a single USB port.
The one deal-breaker is the font window switches placed on the dash below the infotainment system in the midst of other buttons and at the centre console for the rear windows. It took us a while to finally locate them.
A lone three-cylinder 1.0-litre naturally-aspirated engine does the work in the new Suzuki Celerio and while 49 kW and 89 Nm may be laughable, well, on paper at least, it is proves sufficient thanks to a weight of 805 kg that translates to 66 kW per tonne.
Our launch drive took us through the Johannesburg inner city to our lunch venue and the Suzuki Celerio handled the task at hand with so much simplicity. It is light, nimble and has decent ride quality. In keeping up with moving traffic at 120 km/h cruising speeds is met with just a hint of coarse cacophony when shifting down during overtaking maneuvres.
The 5-speed manual transmission and engine requires a hands-on approach to extract the power of the Celerio as is usually the case with small cars with naturally-aspirated powertrains.
In case you are wondering about the safety of the new Suzuki Celerio, it has not been tested by any assessment programme but it is worth noting that it comes standard with a more rigid structure, front airbags, ESP, EBA, ABS, EBD, ISOFIX restraint system for child seats and hill hold assist for the AMT.
As hard as it is to fault the new Celerio, it remains a solid proposition for first-time car buyers or those seeking to have something to use as a runaround. It has ample boot space, good tech and it is easy to live with on a day to day basis, thanks to the 5.4l/100 km recorded at the launch. It ticks the right boxes and represents fantastic value for money.
1.0 GA MT R174,900
1.0 GL MT R194,900
1.0 GL AMT R209,900
The Suzuki Celerio range is sold with the brand’s five-year/200,000 km Mechanical Warranty and a Roadside Assistance programme for the same period. A six-year/unlimited kilometre anti-corrosion warranty is also included as standard.
Suzuki’s entire Celerio range also receives a two-year/30,000 km Service Plan as standard.