The all-new Suzuki Celerio wants to prove tiny hatchbacks deserve a place in our market

This hatch has something that the quirky S-Presso doesn’t
by Leandre Grecia | May 7, 2022

“It ticks all the right boxes for an ideal city car in this day and age”

Filipinos have been slowly gravitating toward bigger vehicles over the past few years, and for good reason. Budget-conscious car buyers wouldn’t bother throwing money at a low-riding sedan that can fit five, when they know they can get a much bigger crossover or even a seven-seater MPV just a bit further upmarket.

It seems as if the end is almost nigh for these cars. A lot of people are still buying the Toyota Vios today, but who’s to say that the new Raize won’t be overtaking the king of subcompact sedans tomorrow?

Hatchbacks, however, may not exactly suffer the same fate. At least, that’s what I’d like to think.

PHOTO: Paul del Rosario

I’m not talking about cars like the Yaris or the beloved Honda Jazz. I’m talking smaller five-doors like the Wigo and the Brio. Our mass-transport system still leaves a lot to be desired, and gas prices continue to skyrocket. A fuel-efficient city car that won’t break the bank remains the most ideal option to get around the city.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓

That’s the all-new Suzuki Celerio in a nutshell. Now, I know what you might be thinking: “We already have the S-Presso, so what’s this one for?” We’ll get to that part later. For now, let’s forget the Celerio has a slightly smaller sibling and look at it as the decent starter car-slash-daily driver that it poses to be.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓
Recommended Videos

LAUNCHES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:
Specs, prices, features: Everything you need to know about the new Toyota Veloz
Specs, prices, features: Everything you need to know about the all-new Honda HR-V

2022 Suzuki Celerio specs, Suzuki Celerio prices ph, Suzuki Celerio ph price, Suzuki Celerio features, Suzuki Celerio photos, Suzuki Celerio gallery

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓

The Celerio’s design isn’t something to rave about. It looks, to me, like a typical city car. But comparing this with the old model, it’s a step up. Its new styling is more apt for the decade. The horizontal chrome slats up front have been reduced to a single strip that flanks the Suzuki badge and accentuates the small black grille. Underneath, there’s just enough black plastic trim for a nice hint of ruggedness.

Wraparound plastic claddings are nowhere to be found. Instead, the body lines from the wheel arches to the door panels and the rear bumper give the Celerio a bulkier look. I thought the lack of accentuating trim on the exterior made it a bit bland, but after staring at the car long enough, I realized how the execution actually made the hatchback look a bit classy.

2022 Suzuki Celerio specs, Suzuki Celerio prices ph, Suzuki Celerio ph price, Suzuki Celerio features, Suzuki Celerio photos, Suzuki Celerio gallery

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓

The Celerio has ditched its flat rear end with that V-shaped liftgate. It now has a more hatchback-like shape. I particularly like how the door on this side is now bigger with a wider opening, making it easier to load stuff and utilize the 295 liters of boot space. The rear seats can be folded down to open up even more room for cargo. Impressive.

PHOTO: Paul del Rosario

As you step inside the cabin, you’ll see how the Celerio sets itself apart from the S-Presso. Suzuki has done away with all the quirkiness in the S-Presso and has given the Celerio a more no-frills interior. The power-window controls and lock/unlock buttons are still located at the center of the dash, but there’s no large round plastic trim enclosing them.

The Celerio also gets a typical dash layout, with the instrument cluster mounted behind the steering wheel. The speedometer is analog, and it’s complemented by a small digital panel that displays the revs, trip information, fuel gauge, and current and average fuel-consumption figures.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓

Granted, there’s still a ton of hard plastic here, but at least the interior gets gray accents to add some flavor. The front seats get bonus points for their side bolsters, though it would’ve been nice if the headrests were adjustable, too. Fortunately for me with my constant neck and back pains, finding a comfy driving position wasn’t too hard.

I guess I have the added interior space to thank for that. You see, the Celerio has grown 95mm longer, 55mm wider, and 15mm taller, and this has translated to extended head, shoulder, and legroom for all passengers. My 5’5” self can fit easily in any seat, but I still reckon anyone taller might find the second row a bit cramped. At the very least, three average-sized individuals can make do with the room in there—extreme emphasis on that average-sized part.

PHOTO: Paul del Rosario

The Celerio I was able to try out was the top-spec variant with the Auto Gear Shift (AGS) feature. This feature is already available in other models like the Dzire, but it was my first go at it here. It’s a five-speed manual transmission, but it has, to quote this review, “electro-hydraulic actuators in place of the shifter and the clutch pedal.” Basically, it’s still a manual, but the machine does all the shifting for you.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓

Whether you’re accelerating or decelerating, you’ll actually feel and hear the gears shifting. This will take some time to get used to. There’s also a noticeable delay between shifts, so flooring the gas pedal won’t do you any good if you need that extra push for overtakes.

But whether I like the AGS or not doesn’t matter, because what’s important is that this tech lets the Celerio do what the S-Presso can’t: cater to motorists who can’t operate a stick.

NEED-TO-KNOW FOR CAR OWNERS:
Everything you need to know about the PH Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act
Everything you need to know about the Vintage Vehicle Regulation Act

2022 Suzuki Celerio specs, Suzuki Celerio prices ph, Suzuki Celerio ph price, Suzuki Celerio features, Suzuki Celerio photos, Suzuki Celerio gallery

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓

You can forget about having a spirited driving experience, though. The Celerio’s 1.0-liter three-cylinder gasoline mill isn’t here to sate your need for speed. The meager 66hp, 89Nm powertrain is built for the urban setting, as this dinky hatch claims it can do around 26.68km/L. Of course, you won’t get the exact same figures in real-world driving conditions, but I reckon actual tests can yield similar results.

That’s not to say the Celerio won’t hold its own on long, open roads. On a quick drive through the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, I was able to push this thing to 100kph, and it still cruised with ease. I did keep my pace to within 70-80kph, as this was where I felt the least vibrations at highway speeds.

The light steering and tight turning radius will make this car a breeze to maneuver around Metro Manila’s congested streets. Just don’t expect it to offer peace and quiet when you’re driving along EDSA. Make sure you avoid potholes at all costs, too, as those 15-inch wheels are shod with very thin rubber.  

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓

PHOTO: Paul del Rosario

The Celerio offers an idling stop-start system, hill-start assist, rear parking sensors, stability control, ABS, and… well, that’s about it. There’s a small touchscreen display inside the cabin without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. But, as we will mention soon, you learn to balance expectations in this category.

What’s giving me second thoughts about the Celerio is its price tag. The range starts at P708,000 for the GL MT trim and P754,000 for the GL AGS variant I was able to try out. It’s still a solid value-for-money proposition, but it’s now also pricier than both the Brio and the Wigo. This raises doubts about how the all-new Celerio will perform against its more established competitors.

Then again, that’s a question we won’t need to answer at the moment. All we know is that this new model undoubtedly deserves a spot in Suzuki’s stable—especially with the recent departure of the Ciaz and with the S-Presso still lacking an automatic gearbox. But more important, the new Celerio is further proof that hatchbacks may not be as doomed as sedans are in our market.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓

Like its main rivals, the Celerio ticks all the right boxes for an ideal city car in this day and age. Its arrival is a reminder that despite the abundance of bang-for-the-buck crossovers, you’d still be hard-pressed to find a car that’s this affordable and this fuel-efficient. So, until we no longer have the need for these tiny hatchbacks, the likes of the Celerio will be here to stay.

More photos of the 2022 Suzuki Celerio:

2022 Suzuki Celerio specs, Suzuki Celerio prices ph, Suzuki Celerio ph price, Suzuki Celerio features, Suzuki Celerio photos, Suzuki Celerio gallery

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓

2022 Suzuki Celerio specs, Suzuki Celerio prices ph, Suzuki Celerio ph price, Suzuki Celerio features, Suzuki Celerio photos, Suzuki Celerio gallery

2022 Suzuki Celerio specs, Suzuki Celerio prices ph, Suzuki Celerio ph price, Suzuki Celerio features, Suzuki Celerio photos, Suzuki Celerio gallery

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓

2022 Suzuki Celerio specs, Suzuki Celerio prices ph, Suzuki Celerio ph price, Suzuki Celerio features, Suzuki Celerio photos, Suzuki Celerio gallery

2022 Suzuki Celerio specs, Suzuki Celerio prices ph, Suzuki Celerio ph price, Suzuki Celerio features, Suzuki Celerio photos, Suzuki Celerio gallery

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓

2022 Suzuki Celerio specs, Suzuki Celerio prices ph, Suzuki Celerio ph price, Suzuki Celerio features, Suzuki Celerio photos, Suzuki Celerio gallery

2022 Suzuki Celerio specs, Suzuki Celerio prices ph, Suzuki Celerio ph price, Suzuki Celerio features, Suzuki Celerio photos, Suzuki Celerio gallery

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓

2022 Suzuki Celerio specs, Suzuki Celerio prices ph, Suzuki Celerio ph price, Suzuki Celerio features, Suzuki Celerio photos, Suzuki Celerio gallery

2022 Suzuki Celerio specs, Suzuki Celerio prices ph, Suzuki Celerio ph price, Suzuki Celerio features, Suzuki Celerio photos, Suzuki Celerio gallery

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW ↓

2022 Suzuki Celerio specs, Suzuki Celerio prices ph, Suzuki Celerio ph price, Suzuki Celerio features, Suzuki Celerio photos, Suzuki Celerio gallery

Check out our Launch Pad video here. For everything you need to know about the model, click on these blue words.

See Also

Top Gear Philippines is now on Quento! Click here to download the app and enjoy more articles and videos from Top Gear Philippines and your favorite websites.

Recommended Videos
PHOTO: Paul del Rosario
  • Quiz Results

  • TGP Rating:
    /20

    Starts at ₱

    TGP Rating:
    /20
    Starts at ₱