Maruti Suzuki Celerio – India’s best entry-level hatchback?

Maruti Suzuki Celerio – India’s best entry-level hatchback?

When Maruti launches a brand new small car, it’s bound to make news unlike anything else. And ever since the original Maruti 800, Maruti Suzuki has been manufacturing blockbuster models, be it a hatchback, MPV, SUV or a sedan. This is a brand that has ruled the roost for ages now, and after Maruti introduced the Celerio in 2014, the little car has been a huge success, finding millions of homes. The car even received a facelift in 2019 to help keep itself fresh in the market. In 2020, the model got an all-important BS6 engine update.

Runs in the genes

There’s no denying the fact the Maruti Suzuki Celerio has styling typical of what a Maruti would look like. Except that, in this case, the model has been designed bearing in mind the global market as well. The design language is neat and tidy with smooth surfaces on the sides and an up-sweeping shoulder line. The front-end gets a new look, including a honeycomb-type grille, mildly blacked out headlamps and a restructured front bumper. At the rear too, it is simple, but the tail light clusters have been updated too. It is a design that has worked wonders for a long time now; in fact, it’s about time we saw an all-new Celerio.

Inside the Celerio

The cabin is roomy – that’s the first impression. Also, the Maruti Suzuki Celerio is a tall car and vertical space has resulted in good headroom and legroom. Up-front, the seats provide good support, despite looking quite slim. At the rear, you’d be happy to note there’s ample room for occupants. The seat provides good comfort and back support. Under-thigh support could’ve been better and we found the seat base a bit short. The fixed headrests may prove a bit dangerous during a collision, and since the cabin isn’t so wide, three passengers at the back will be a squeeze. The dashboard looks simple and is easy on the eye. The U-shaped central console features an audio system along with AC controls and the gear lever is positioned in a manner that makes it easy to reach. The contrast black and beige work nicely to give the cabin an airy feel. However, fit and finish is still not up to the mark but you do get some stowage spaces to store stuff. We also feel the glovebox could’ve been bigger; boot space is acceptable at 235 litres.

For the city?

The Maruti Suzuki Celerio is powered by a 998cc, three-cylinder petrol engine, producing 67bhp and 90Nm of torque, mated either to a 5-speed manual or an AMT gearbox. At low engine speeds, power isn’t all that bad; the engine is silent and responsive too. This is a motor that enjoys being revved, but then you’ll have to bear with the noise inside the cabin. It tends to get coarse post 6000rpm, particularly when you’ve got your foot planted to the floor. Performance is reasonably good and the gearshifts are smooth but need some effort. At low engine speeds, the clutch tends to slip, meaning you’ll have to know how to manage the throttle early.

For those of you who don’t like manual gearboxes and the constant working of a clutch, you can opt for the EZ Drive variant. Put the gearbox in ‘D’, and you’ll begin to get moving. This transmission setup is known to be more efficient than all the regular automatics, but lacks the shove you get from a torque-converter ‘box. In auto mode, the Celerio performs reasonably well, with the upshifts and downshifts taking place at an acceptable pace. In ‘M’ mode, you can shift manually by pushing the lever forward to downshift and backward, to up-shift. It’s a low-cost gearbox that works well, but don’t expect it to be as slick as you’d imagine; you do tend to feel a lurch every now and then. With this type of gearbox, Maruti Suzuki Cars aims at frugality and affordability for the customer. Also, if you had to consider the car’s lighter weight, it really does deliver on the fuel efficiency front.

Ride quality impresses too. The suspension soak in road irregularities with ease, particularly at low speeds. In a straight line, the Celerio feels stable and instills a reasonable amount of confidence around corners. The rear-end gets mellow at high speeds, but the light steering is what we love about the Celerio, made by Maruti Suzuki Cars. Also, grab the latest info on the new cars, only at autoX.


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