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Celerio is brave move from Suzuki

 
Created on 18/02/2015 @ 12:26
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

The city car segment has grown to its highest ever level with 85,000 units sold last year and Suzuki plans to grasp a bigger market share with the launch of the new Celerio.

It’s a brave launch with Suzuki ready to phase out reliable sellers Splash and Alto to concentrate on the new arrival.

And although Suzuki’s hopes were hit on launch day with all cars having to be recalled to deal with a reported braking issue I’m backing the Celerio to emerge as a best seller for the company.

The little Celerio doesn’t quite match up to the best in class for quality but it’s packed to the roof with standard kit and while the starting price of £7,999 is not the cheapest it’s easily the best value in sector.

Splash and Alto have both done good jobs for Suzuki, who sold 37,400 cars in the UK last year, but they are being phased out to make way for Celerio and there is a new Vitara on the way later this year.

Celerio will cost you £2,000 more than the outgoing Alto so Suzuki are taking a leap of faith that regular buyers will stay with the company. But you do actually get more for your money withy alloy wheels, DAB radio, Bluetooth, body coloured trim, electric rear windows, power steering, fuel consumption range display and even a tyre pressure monitor on the 1.0SZ4 on test.

The Celerio is cleverly put together to provide best-in-class boot space of 254litres and ample rear seat space for two adults.

There’s no reach adjustment in the steering column but plenty of choice from the height adjustable driver’s seat.

Standard specification for the SZ4 includes all-round airbags and there’s an immobiliser and remote central door locking to keep the Celerio secure when parked.

At launch, Celerio offers low CO2 emissions of 99g/km and fuel consumption of 65.7mpg on the combined cycle. In April, a new dueljet engine will be available offering even higher fuel economy and CO2 emissions that fall to just 84g/km.

Celerio with the K10C Dualjet engine will be the cleanest car on sale at under £10,000.

Suzuki’s newly developed AGS (Auto Gear Shift) will also be added to the range in April. This system features an Intelligent Shift Control Actuator positioned at the top of the transmission that operates the gearshift and clutch automatically.

With AGS, the driver can enjoy the effortless driving of an automatic, particularly in city traffic, but without any loss in fuel efficiency or increase in CO2 emissions versus manual transmission.

The SZ4 on test had an on-the-road price of £8,999 and bosses at Suzuki are confident of keeping Splash and Alto buyers on board as well as attracting new customers  from the likes of Kia and Hyundai.

Having just enjoyed a record year in the UK I believe the Suzuki suits know just what they are doing and with the braking issue resolved Celerio will be a big player.

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