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SUZUKI in the Philippines has always been known for being the country’s compact car specialist. Now, to be fair, it has offerings that do not fit the bill (take the Vitara and XL7, for instance) but even a cursory glimpse at the brand’s portfolio indeed reveals subcompact/compact options that have been hits for their segment- and price-point-defying propositions.
The Suzuki Celerio is certainly one of them. The nameplate debuted globally in 2008, although it appeared as a rebadged Alto (remember that one?) or A-Star in select markets. In 2014, it was finally spun out as its own model to completely supplant the A-Star.
In the local market, the Alto was quietly culled from Suzuki showrooms. Perhaps it proved to be too small a vehicle — with the current iteration stretching 3,395 millimeters — for the purposes of the average Pinoy car buyer.
The new Celerio is out to prove that the company’s aspirations in the segment are alive and well. The outgoing second generation of the Celerio spanned 2014 to 2021, but not before, according to Suzuki Chief Engineer Kazushi Uchiyama, building a “favorable reputation” for class-leading cabin and luggage space, fuel efficiency, and ease of use and driving.
Mr. Uchiyama said in a statement that these same values which resonated in our market now make a comeback in the third-generation Celerio, and are complemented with qualities that Suzuki is confident will get the attention of more browsers and, of course, buyers. In fact, Suzuki Philippines is expecting to sell 400 to 500 units a month. SPH GM for Automobile Norihide Takei said that the car has “evolved into a compact car that will make people’s lives easier,” boasting both practicality and individuality. He added that the Celerio represents an effort to provide as much space as possible in a small vehicle. As for the vaunted fuel economy, Suzuki Philippines said that an Automobile Association Philippines-observed test yielded a 28.25kpl thirst rate for the subcompact.
The all-new iteration of the Celerio grows in length (plus 95mm to 3,695mm), height (plus 15mm to 1,555mm), width (plus 55mm to 1,655mm), and wheelbase measurement (plus 10mm to 2,435mm) — and even clears the ground more (plus 25mm to 170mm). These numbers translate to increased space within the cabin as well, providing more shoulder and legroom for both front and rear occupants. The cargo hold expands by 60 liters for a total of 295 liters; with added capacity offered by 60:40 folding rear seats.
Under the Celerio’s hood is a 1.0-liter Dualjet (good for 49kW [around 66hp] and 89Nm) that is said to deliver “comprehensive advantages in thermal efficiency,” leading to enhanced compression ratio and reduced friction. The dual injection system, reported Suzuki, makes fuel “more readily combustible” leading to better performance. The three-cylinder K10C mill replaces the old K10B.
New to the model is an Engine Auto Stop Start System (EASS), which turns off the engine when the vehicle is at a standstill. This positively impacts fuel economy and lessens air pollution. The EASS automatically engages depending on the car’s “electrical load during the stop.”
Also debuting on the nameplate’s higher variant is Suzuki’s so-called Auto Gear Shift, previously seen in the Dzire. The feature is basically an “automated manual transmission” with an Intelligent Shift Control Actuator which operates the shift and clutch. The manual transmission gets a five speed which Suzuki said features an optimal gear ratio for reduced torque loss.
Meanwhile, audio control buttons make an appearance on the steering wheel — a price point bonus. These allow the driver to control a Sony XAV-1500 system with an anti-glare touchscreen, Weblink 2.0, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity.
The Celerio rises on the Heartect platform — a rigid and light chassis that promises to deliver fuel efficiency and enhanced driving performance, with reduced NVH. In case of a collision, the platform is expected to better disperse impact energy — also helped along by the company’s proprietary TECT (Total Effective Control Technology). Front air bags will also deploy in case of a crash, while seatbelts in the front seats have pretensioners and force limiters.
Further to safety, the Celerio now offers pedestrian injury mitigation measures. The bonnet, front windscreen wiper area, front bumper, and other parts will absorb impact energy in the event of contact with a pedestrian — with the goal of mitigating head and leg injuries to the same.
The all-new Celerio is also equipped with an electronic stability program, brake assist, hill hold control, anti-lock brakes, and rear parking sensors. A MacPherson strut and rear torsion suspension system is expected to result in a smoother ride.
The brake booster on the all-new Celerio is larger by an inch versus the previous eight inches. Front wheels get discs, while the rear wheels are fitted with drum brakes. The hatchback can muster a tight 4.7m turning radius. Coupled with its small profile, the Celerio will prove a cinch to maneuver and park.
On the outside, the Celerio bears a raised appearance akin to its sibling S-presso. Suzuki added that its dynamic look “makes the model look (larger) than its actual size.” Lots of curves on the metalwork also result in a sexy, sculpted posture. The flared rear fenders and rear lamps pushed to the sides also aid in exaggerating width.
The all-new Suzuki Celerio is available in Fire Red, Speedy Blue Metallic, Arctic White Pearl, and Glistening Grey Metallic across Suzuki’s 72 dealerships nationwide. It comes in two variants — the GL MT (at P708,000) and the GL AGS (P754,000). — Kap Maceda Aguila