Thrifty Treat, Redux

Pack of all-new Celerio exuding the new “liquid expression” design cue

SEVERAL weeks after its official debut, Suzuki Philippines hosted a media drive for us to take the first dibs on the all-new Celerio finally.

This city car has been one of the mass favorites due to its compact size yet spacious interior, as claimed by Suzuki. The latest generation model takes pride in possessing a small frame yet with a remarkably spacious interior and the fun-to-drive factor that goes with it.

Remarkably spacious, updated layout with convenient features

Commissioned for the drive event were six units of the all-new Celerio, and our staging point was at the Suzuki dealership in Sucat, Parañaque. To add excitement, Suzuki incorporated an eco-challenge for all participants, highlighting the ultra-efficient capability of the subcompact hatch. The destination? The Old Grove Farmstead in Lipa, Batangas.

Liquid expression

The “liquid expression” design cue made sense to finally see the vehicle in the metal. Gone are the predecessor’s striking looks with sharp profiles and transitioned into a three-dimensional with curved surfaces look. According to Suzuki, it resembles a water surface, deviating from its previous boxy-type body. Indeed, this new design concept created the illusion of making the exterior frame, particularly the front end, larger-looking. The rear’s combination lamps were repositioned on the shoulder lines complementing the flared rear fenders. Of course, there are sporty and larger15-inch black alloy wheels.

Redesigned with convenience features

Onboard, we saw what Suzuki claims about the new cabin layout. The revamped styling exudes an invigorating vibe. Settling was easy with snug seats, fresh and grippy steering wheel, and uniquely-designed instrument panel features. The 6.2-inch touch-operated infotainment unit with a clear and responsive anti-glare screen was easy to operate. It also has Weblink 2.0, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity functions with audio controls on steering wheels for convenience.

The Celerio’s reliable and thrifty 1.0-liter gasoline engine

Together with two other colleagues, we finally took off, along with the entire convoy. All cars were gas-filled equally up to the lid with a sealed cap for instruction purposes. The objective was simple—to reach the Petron gas station in Lipa, refill, and determine which team registers the best fuel consumption (actual drive distance over exact liters of fuel consumed).

Ultra-efficient, reliable, and stable

We traversed in expressways throughout the leg. We tried maintaining the lowest speed limits to retain lower engine RPMs with the challenge in mind. While it was not considered real-world driving on a freeway, we wanted to see how things would turn out. We still turned on the aircon at a typical setting, by the way. For its size, the vehicle was impressively stable and well-planted. The steering response was also good.

Motivation comes from an updated and improved 1.0-liter K10C DUALJET gasoline engine generating 67 horsepower and 89 N-m of maximum torque. Suzuki claims that the updated 1.0L DUALJET engine delivers comprehensive advantages in thermal efficiency resulting from a better compression ratio, dual-injection system, and friction reduction—realizing a high level of balanced dynamic performance and efficiency. The motor operated smoothly during the whole leg considering the heavy load coming from three adult occupants.

Interestingly, this fuel-efficient motor works with a five-speed manual gearbox with Auto Gear Shift (AGS) transmission options. The AGS transmission was as easy to operate as any auto gearbox. But since it runs a conventional manual gearbox with Intelligent Shift Control Actuator, the drive response was slightly different. Nevertheless, it was smooth shifting. We also occasionally used the sequential mode to see if there was much difference. Overall, it does the job with a little getting used to stepping on the brake to engage at a standstill; otherwise, it stays neutral.

We reached the gas station to fill up less than two hours later. Despite the wrong turn, which resulted in more distance and an around 30-minute slow moving, bumper to bumper traffic, we still consumed just over four liters in around less than 70 kilometers. Still not bad at all.

Still remarkably roomy

On our way back, being a rear passenger was bliss. Like the previous generation, the all-new Celerio retained the remarkable spacious interior—more than generally expected from a subcompact hatchback. By the way, the cargo bay still has decent room to accommodate our bags and goodies. But the best part was the entire experience, seating at the back.

For a small vehicle, there was enough room for one to slouch at the back. Remarkably, tire rebound was very minimal to none. Even the road noise was minimal and without harsh reverberations at all. We made it back to the dealership feeling relaxed.

Safety features

For peace of mind, the all-new Celerio offers numerous advanced safety features. The frame design centers on Suzuki’s TECT (Total Effective Control Technology) concept. It is a structural design that efficiently absorbs and disperses the energy in the event of a collision.

Standard safety features include an anti-lock brake system (ABS) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Dual Airbags, seatbelt with pre-tensioners, rear parking sensors, and Hill-Hold Control.

Image credits: Randy S. Peregrino

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