Small is beautiful and fast, too
MISS TECH - Kathy Moran (The Philippine Star) - September 11, 2015 - 10:00am

I remember very clearly the first car I drove, when I was about 16 years old. It was our family station wagon. That was in the early ‘80s, when there were fewer cars on the roads, thus bigger cars ruled our lives.

Fast forward to 2015, when we so often complain about the ever-growing traffic problem and when big-car gas-guzzlers are a no-no.

Enter the Suzuki Celerio, a car meant for driving in the traffic-filled roads of Metro Manila. Or perhaps, a good first car for that new driver who needs to get the feel of what it’s like to drive in this urban jungle.

The Suzuki Celerio is a five-door hatchback that Suzuki refers to as an  A+ compact. The Celerio’s dimensions back that up, measuring 3600mm long and 1600mm wide with a 2425mm wheelbase.

I have to admit that when I first saw the Suzuki Celerio test-drive unit, I had to smile because my thoughts brought me back to the days when I started driving. Then, it hit me how it would have been so nifty to have one of these cars back in those days. 

As I took the driver’s seat, I immediately got a feel of the snug cockpit and how much fun it is to be in control. For a small driver, it feels great to be able to get a good view of the road ahead — without having to stretch one’s neck out too far. 

From where I sat, I mulled what it would be like if the car was filled with five adults. “Spacious enough” came to mind.

All Celerios are five-door hatchbacks, have seating for five, and the biggest trunk space in its class at 254 liters with the rear seats in place.

Although sitting five big adults at the rear might be a bit of a squeeze, four would fit best.  With two back-seat riders, I think there would be enough head and legroom in the back even for a six-footer. After all, Suzuki claims that the Celerio is the most spacious of small hatchbacks.

The 2015 Celerio has a black interior theme along with silver trims. Suzuki claims that the vehicle features a spacious legroom and higher headroom, compared to the previous model. It also has a 60:40 seat configuration and 254 liters of luggage capacity.

The Celerio is equipped with safety and security features such as the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), dual airbags, side-impact beams, and Suzuki’s patented Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) design, which integrates a lightweight impact-absorbing body using high-tensile steel.

Outside, the Celerio is fitted with sharper-looking headlights, a restyled grill, a redesigned bumper and new fog lamp housing. 

Its rear has larger taillights, a revamped bumper, a roof-mounted lip spoiler and a third brake light. It is finished off with 14-inch alloy wheels.



Get your motor running

Although to many, a one-liter engine might be small, it isn’t when it comes to the Celerio because the Celerio weighs 835kg. So it’s perfectly adequate for keeping pace with traffic, whether in town or on EDSA.

The Suzuki Celerio offers drivers an engaging experience behind the wheel, and for a city-driving small hatch, comfort and ease-of-use are of importance. I liked that all the major controls felt very light and easy to use. 

I started the engine and heard it purr. I drove out of the driveway and began to get a feel of the Celerio. All at once, I was impressed with the Celerio’s ride comfort, as it drove smoothly even on some of the bumpier roads of our village.

My first stop was the village park where I was happy to be at the wheel of the Celerio. It was a parking-space filled afternoon, but I did spy a small parking space up front. Getting into it with the Celerio was a cinch — and getting out was even easier. When one deals with parking space problems, having a smaller car that can fit into smaller space is such a joy.

The three-cylinder unit is remarkably quiet and refined, being all but inaudible at idle. The heating and ventilation controls and infotainment buttons are reassuringly solid and tactile to use.

Under the hood, the Celerio is equipped with a K10B 1.0-liter engine that delivers 68 PS and 90 Nm of torque. It is mated either to a 5-speed manual or a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

After I had gotten my fill at the village bakeshop, I reboarded the Celerio and set my sights on going for a spin around Metro Manila. I made sure that it being a Sunday, I had the luxury of space on that highway we call EDSA.

But just like any other weekday, there was a build-up in front of the shopping areas in the vicinity of EDSA and Shaw Blvd. Blame that on a rally that was being held for what the group blocking EDSA claimed was for religious freedom.

I was glad that I had the Celerio because it made squeezing into smaller areas  that I had to squeeze into, easier. I loved it that I could get to where I was going much faster than the buses and sedans wildly blowing their horns so they could get ahead.

It’s funny how on that Sunday, my temper was in check in spite of the traffic simply because I was kept comfy inside the Celerio’s cockpit. I was happier still that this sturdy compact was doing a good job running on its one-liter gas engine.

I drove down north of EDSA until the Balintawak Coverleaf — and then back south up to Magallanes.  The Celerio was doing great and the drive both ways was comfy.

Indeed, the Celerio is one five-door hatchback that would make for a great first car for the newbie driver.  It is easy to handle on the big roads, easier yet to park, and does a great job at keeping gas consumption at bay.

A small car for getting the big job done — that’s what the Celerio is.

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