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Suzuki's Celerio offers two for one.

Byline: Andy Enright newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

THE Suzuki Celerio aims to offer the interior space of the Splash with the price and economy of the Alto.

Such attempts are usually doomed to failure, but the Celerio, with its perky 1.0-litre three cylinder engine, big spec list and optional AGS transmission, looks to be made of all the right stuff.

The 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine develops a total of 66bhp at 6,000rpm and 89Nm of torque at 3,500rpm, so you're going to need to give the throttle pedal a bit of treatment to get anywhere.

Power goes to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox at first, but we suspect that most UK buyers will want to talk to their dealer about matching the Dualjet engine technology to Suzuki's Auto Gear Shift (AGS).

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 ease driving of an automatic in city traffic, but without any loss in fuel efficiency or increase in CO2 emissions that would normally be the case with a conventional torque converter equipped automatic transmission. There's even a low speed 'creep' facility which allows the car to move in gear without the accelerator being applied, ideal in slow traffic and when parking.

The Celerio probably isn't going to turn too many heads, being a fairly generic-looking citycar in the modern mould. That's not to say its styling lacks merit, just that it's nothing too adventurous.

The body measures just 3,600mm from stem to stern and 1,600mm wide, so parking it shouldn't present too much of a difficulty. A height of 1,530mm and a non-slanting roofline affords respectable headroom for occupants.

The 2,425mm long wheelbase provides a tandem distance of 743mm, which gives plenty of space in the cabin for five occupants. The boot is vast for a citycar, with a capacity of 254-litres.

The Celerio is tasked with pensioning off both the Splash and the Alto in the Suzuki range, which is quite a weight of responsibility to land on its narrow shoulders. Built in Thailand, it's clearly targeting the value end of the citycar market. Prices stat at around PS8,000 for the SZ3 version, rising to around PS9,000 for the plusher SZ4.

Standard specification highlights for the Celerio SZ3 includes six airbags (Driver, passenger, side and curtain), ESP stability control, air conditioning, alloy wheels, DAB Radio, CD Tuner, USB, Bluetooth connectivity and remote central locking. The even higher equipped SZ4 model adds polished alloy wheels, rear electric windows, front fog lamps, body coloured door mirrors and chrome front grille.

The Celerio is offered in six colours, of which five are optional metallic finish and one a standard solid colour. Also available is Suzuki's Auto Gear Shift (AGS) transmission. This system features an Intelligent Shift Control Actuator positioned at the top of the gearbox that operates the gearshift and clutch automatically.

The 1.0-litre triple engine makes some very respectable figures, eking 65.7 miles from a gallon of unleaded and emitting just 99g/km of carbon dioxide. Suzuki reckon on emissions of just 84g/km, which is one of the very lowest figures for a conventional petrol-engined car. If you were expecting something cheap and primitive when you saw that Maruti association, think again.

The Suzuki Celerio is always going to be overshadowed by state of the art city slickers like the Volkswagen Up or the Renault Twingo, but it was never really designed to compete with the more high-end offerings of the citycar sector. It's easy to overlook the fact that after the Hyundai i10 and the Volkswagen Up, the biggest selling citycar in the UK in 2014 was the Suzuki Alto. The Celerio looks set to do even better than the Alto, with its super-low emissions and clever transmission.

If you want a car that is utterly no-nonsense, easy to use and which we'd bet will prove to be extremely reliable, the Celerio demonstrates that these qualities needn't cost you the earth.

The fact that it's wellequipped and is incredibly cheap to run is just the icing on the cake. It might not seem an obvious hit on first acquaintance, but give this one time. We think it could be the sleeper hit of the year.

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The Suzuki Celerio is tasked with pensioning off both the Splash and the Alto in the Suzuki range
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 3, 2015
Words:751
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