The recent pandemic had a tremendous effect on everyone living in Africa. Just as we thought an economic recovery was a likely scenario, Russia decided to invade Ukraine. This further interrupted the recovery with a hike in fuel prices and, by extension, the prices of necessities.
While there isn't much we can do to wage war against inflation, there's something we can do to counter-attack the soaring fuel prices. A fitting example is buying the Suzuki Celerio, a reliable example of cost-effective solutions for those seeking fewer trips to the fuel station.
Now that I've got your attention, here's more to the new Celerio in GL guise.
At its price point of R194,900 for the GL variant, you can't realistically expect a lot in terms of niceties; however, the dashboard features a nice texture while hard plastic makes up most of the cabin. Integrated neatly into the dashboard is a 7" touchscreen infotainment system with a single USB port as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone pairing.
There are all-around electric windows, but what took a bit of getting used to is the placing of rear window switches between the front seats and front window switches on the dashboard just below the infotainment system. Odd.
Like most A-segment products, the Celerio isn't built to impress in the space department, the rear comfort is adequate but not great, which means sitting three adults will be a squeeze. Also, the boot space isn't exactly massive at 295 litres, but it can gulp a few suitcases and some grocery items.
The naturally aspirated petrol engine powering the Celerio GL is a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder with 49 kW and 89 Nm of torque paired to a 5-speed manual transmission that drives the front wheels. The initial upside here is good fuel consumption followed by great capabilities as a run-around vehicle.
On the road, the Celerio is nimble and possesses impressive levels of ride quality that many rivals can't match. In terms of power delivery, it has enough to keep up with moving traffic and the 5-speed manual transmission isn't the best, but its light clutch action comes to its rescue.
During my extended stint with the Celerio, I had a jaunt to Polokwane and surprisingly, it proved quite capable on the long stretch of road. It must be said, though, that it has a tendency of getting unsettled by cross-winds or even when large vehicles overtake — something I didn't expect, despite its size and weight.
Small cars like the Celerio are built with affordability in mind and the GL model with a manual transmission I tested is priced at R194,900. If it's the automatic you want, R15,000 extra gets you into it.
For that, you also get impressive fuel economy figures that register around 5.1l/100 km or less if you drive economically.
The Celerio is a great choice if you are looking for a run-around vehicle to combat the ever-fluctuating petrol prices. It's economical and drives better than most rivals, however, if you are concerned about occupant safety, it hadn't been tested by any assessment programme at the time of putting this review together.
Besides that, it's fitted with standard safety systems such as front airbags, ESP, EBA, ABS, EBD, and ISOFIX restraint systems for child seats, things buyers in the segment often look for.