Calling a car a dog isn't especially kind. So let's make something quite clear – the all-new
Suzuki Celerio is the very antithesis of a dog. The polar opposite.
And yet...if it was one it'd surely be a Jack Russell, rather like Milo my little rescue
hound. After all, the Celerio embodies all that's brilliant about the breed from
unstoppable energy to agility to toughness to sheer loveability
It couldn't be otherwise with this plucky little machine replacing the much-loved Suzuki
Alto – although it's just a little longer and taller, and yet more desirable.
Its heartbeat comes courtesy of a thrummy, feisty, one-litre three-cylinder unit. And while
its output of 55kW and a maximum torque of 90Nm might not scare a Dodge Hellcat, it's
way more than enough to propel this lightweight around with all the enthusiasm of a Jack
Russell chasing a rabbit. Think a power-to-weight ratio of 42kW/ton.
Standard is a five-speed manual 'box. But get this – in a unique option in this segment
you can also opt for an automated manual transmission (AMT). Without getting too
technical this is essentially a five-speed manual gearbox but gearshifts are made by
means of an electro-hydraulic actuator. So a conventional clutch pedal isn't needed, while
you can use it in fully auto mode or in manual override.
Brilliant. Especially if most of your driving is done in the ever-clogged urban
environment. Watch these babies fly out of the showroom.
In a Celerio you're not going to spend much time at the fuel station either. In AMT guise
the sassy Suzy sips just 4.6 litres per 100km in combined use. In manual guise expect a
consumption of 4.7 litres per 100km. So you know what this means? Even with a small
35 litre fuel tank you can expect a range of 750km or more from a Celerio. It's like these
cars enjoy filling up as much as Milo my Jack Russell enjoys broccoli.
And here's another thing. While the Celerio simply shines when darting around town, it's
also adroit enough on the open road, and on national routes will gaily keep pace with
swift-moving traffic.
It's hardly a stripped-down budget mobile either. In entry-level GA guise you can expect
the likes of ABS and dual front airbags, as well as air-con which is so essential to driver
comfort in our torrid summers that it should almost be listed as a safety feature itself.
Move up to the GL models and to this list you can a sound-system with four speakers,
Bluetooth, power windows all round, and much more.
But above all this little Jack Russell of a car is massively entertaining, invigorating and
engaging to drive – and it's yet more proof that building small cars is what Suzuki excels
at above all. And you even get a two-year/30 000km service plan.
No wonder Meyer Benjamin and his merry men (and women) at Suzuki Jhb South can't
wait to get customers behind the wheel of a Celerio, with prices starting at under R110
- James Siddall
iX Online Motoring