Suzuki Celerio (2015-2019) Review
The Suzuki Celerio is a roomy, practical and good value city car but lacks sparkle in a competitive market
Strengths & weaknesses
- Practical with split-fold rear seats, good storage and a well-shaped boot
- Roomy interior
- Used models very cheap
- Only one engine and two trim levels
- Drab and low-rent interior
- Not stylish
It’s well known that dog owners have an uncanny habit of buying pets that resemble themselves, and there’s a similar theme with motorists who often choose cars that reflect their personality.
And there’s no question about who Suzuki is aiming at with its straightforward, practical and cheap Celerio.
Buyers aren’t likely to be car enthusiasts, and simply want a modern reliable car for as little money as possible. Performance, technology and - God forbid - a “premium badge” are much less important than practicality and price.
On that basis, the Celerio is a winner, with its practical and sensible styling, keen prices and minimal range.
There’s just one engine available and a choice of two trim levels: one with air conditioning, alloy wheels and Bluetooth for connecting your phone wirelessly. And one without.
The interior is an expanse of grey, hard plastics and manual controls, but this simplicity is the point of the car, and ensures that new models cost from £8,995. .
The car’s flat sides and tall roof won’t win Suzuki any design awards but they do bring the benefit of excellent interior room for a small city car, like the Celerio.
Most of the car’s length is between the front and rear wheels too, with minimal overhangs, which means that passengers have a surprising amount of knee and legroom, which is similar to the Fiat Panda and Ford Ka+. There’s more space than you’ll find in a Peugeot 108, Hyundai i10, and even the Volkswagen up!.
The split-fold rear seat that comes as standard boosts the available load space; it's just a pity the seat bases don't fold completely flat and the boot lip is annoyingly high.
Under the bonnet is a small 1-litre petrol engine. It’s not very powerful and frankly, out of its depth on open roads. It’s noisy here, too. Suburbia and city roads are its natural home where it’s nippy at low speeds and economical if you don't work it hard. You can expect around 55mpg in real-world conditions.
Don't expect much in the way of driving thrills. The steering doesn’t really give you a sense of how much the wheels are turning and thanks to its tall sides and soft suspension, the car leans heavily in corners.
It does feel secure and composed at urban speeds while, thanks to the raised driving position (it has a height-adjustable driver’s seat, too) the driver has a good view out, enabling them to place it precisely and confidently on the road.
Early in the car’s life, a recall for brake issues did nothing for its safety reputation, and neither did an average three-star (out of five) independent safety rating from Euro NCAP. There’s little in the way of advanced driver assistance technology (automatic emergency braking isn’t available, for example).
|Warranty||3 years/60,000 miles|
|Boot size||254 litres|
|Tax||£110 in the first year, £145 thereafter|
Best Suzuki Celerio for...
Best for Economy – Suzuki Celerio SZ2 1.0
Both trim levels return a best of 58.8mpg but the SZ2 gets the nod here because it’s also the cheapest.
Best for Families – Suzuki Celerio SZ3 1.0
The Celerio isn’t an ideal family car but SZ3 at least tries to be thanks to its air conditioning, USB connector and smart alloy wheels. Like the SZ2 it also has a good level of safety equipment, a digital radio, 60/40 split-fold rear seats and a height-adjustable driver’s seat.
2015 Model launched in SZ3 and SZ4 trims.
2015 Recalled for the possibility of brake failure
2015 Entry-level SZ2 trim launched plus automated manual gearbox version on SZ4 only follows later the same year.
2015 SZ2 City trim arrives with alloy wheels, rear parking sensors and body mouldings
2018 SZ4 and SZ4 AGS automatic dropped from the range
Understanding Suzuki Celerio names
These relate to the car’s level of equipment with SZ2 being the least well equipped and SZ3, the best. There was a high-spec SZ4 but it was dropped in 2018.
This is the size of the engine in litres. It’s typical for a car of the Celerio’s class.
Suzuki Celerio Engines
You can have your Celerio with any engine and transmission you like, as long as it’s a 1.0-litre producing 68hp and with a five-speed manual gearbox. It’s a sensible approach because it recognises that at this level, it’s all most drivers need.
Around town, the engine is powerful enough but way out of its depth on faster roads like motorways. That’s fine, too, since the city and suburbia is what the Celerio was designed to be driven around.
Economy is very good but it falls dramatically if you work the engine too hard, which you will have to, just to overtake or keep up with traffic. Driving with a full complement of passengers will also force you to work the engine harder, denting its economy.
The gearbox is reasonably precise but a little notchy, so it’s best not to rush changes.
Suzuki Celerio Trims
SZ2 and SZ3
Given the Celerio’s limited horizons it makes sense that there are just two trim levels to choose from. SZ2, the cheaper one, gets the list price down to £8,999. SZ3 costs £1500 more.
As a city car the SZ2 has most essentials requirements covered. There’s a height-adjustable driver’s seat, a digital radio, five seats and a split-fold rear seat. If it had air-conditioning for those stuffy city days it might be enough.
Instead, SZ3 gets the air con plus alloy wheels. It also gets a USB connector and, handy from a security point of view, remote central locking. As we said, it’s £1500 more and worth it, too.
Suzuki Celerio Reliability and warranty
There’s little reliability data to go on but our experience of Suzukis in general is that they’re tough and well built if a little low-rent in places. The Celerio is no exception. Also, like other Suzukis, it’s quite a simple affair so we expect little will go wrong with it.
It has a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which is typical across the industry, although rival city cars the Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto have five and seven-year warranties respectively. If you intend to hang on to your Celerio, that could be an issue. On the other hand, Suzuki dealers were placed fourth for customer service and the quality of their work in the 2018 Auto Express Driver Power survey.
Used Suzuki Celerio
Suzuki sells a lot fewer cars than, for example, Ford, and a model such as the Celerio is unlikely to be familiar to a lot of used car buyers.
Since it has no really outstanding or distinctive qualities, it can only really appeal to buyers on price.
As a result, a used Celerio is even better value for money than a new one.