Maruti Suzuki has aced the small car segment in India and has successfully captured the market with an army of small cars in its showrooms. The market leader announced the prices of the all-new Celerio earlier this month and it did not carry a “surprise” element as the manufacturer priced the car as expected. We did spend some time with the all-new Celerio to find out what the new hatchback offers and here is what we think about it.
We will start talking about the highlight of the whole package, which is the all-new K10C engine that powers the Celerio. Maruti Suzuki offers only a single engine option with the all-new Celerio and it is available with a manual and AMT transmission. We drove both the transmission types and here is what we think.
A gem of an engine
The K10C engine used in the Celerio is a three-cylinder unit. It is a 999cc engine derived from the K10C DITC of now discontinued Baleno RS is the best petrol engine you will find in the segment. It is a dual-jet engine and produces a maximum power of 49 kW and 90 Nm of peak torque. It is not more powerful than the previous 1.0-litre engine but because of the DualJet, the power delivery, refinement and the engine’s urge to rev freely make it a major improvement over the engine available with the outgoing model.
The petrol engine produces enough low-end torque and then revs freely to redline to offer a smooth delivery of power that you can definitely enjoy inside the city limits. It does well on the highways as well but we found it to be much more enjoyable inside the city limits, where the speeds are not high and the quick acceleration with linear power delivery is the key. This engine should be available with more Maruti Suzuki cars.
As a standard feature, Maruti Suzuki offers the ISS or Idle-Start-Stop system with all the variants of the Celerio. It works quite well and ensures a higher fuel efficiency with convenience.
Manual a hoot to drive
While we could not take the manual variant of the Maruti Suzuki Celerio, we got a glimpse of its potential inside the city roads. It is a typical five-speed manual gearbox and it is not a long-throw lever, which makes the gear shift quick and almost effortless. The clutch is light as well and in the city traffic, you do not need to shift as much because of the gear ratios. The second gear holds good for 20 km/h to about 45 km/h, allowing you to stay in one gear in the congestion hours.
Even after we drove quite long in the 2nd gear, the fuel efficiency display indicated a fuel efficiency of around 19 km/l. The new Celerio with the manual transmission is like driving a raised Alto K10. It is fun to drive. While we would have preferred a lower seating height, Maruti Suzuki has designed a practical car to deal with the potholes and that’s something that is more important for the target customer.
Refined AMT as well
If you want to break the three-pedal monotony and keep your left leg free, then there is AMT option as well. Maruti Suzuki started using the second-generation AMT long time ago but this is the first time that this engine is available with AMT and it works quite well. Maruti Suzuki claims that they have done specific refinement and tuning for the engine and transmission to make driving the car a better experience. The AMT has definitely become smoother when it comes to gear shifts. Even a slight tap on the accelerator pedal will make the transmission go from fourth to second quickly.
However, the challenges of AMT remains as the transmission sometimes gets confused on inclines. On one instance, the transmission was shifting between second and third while we driving slowly on an incline. To be honest, you may not face this in daily driving experience as we were specifically trying to go slow to check the behaviour of AMT. It gets proper hillhold though. The hillhold will stop the car on the incline when you release the brake. A feature that is not available with any AMT transmission in the segment. The AMTs are also more fuel efficient than the manual and we found the same during our drive too.
Maruti Suzuki offer stiffer suspension with the Celerio and ot controls the body roll quite well. However, sharp potholes may feel bit harsh. We do like the suspension set-up though and it allows to go through tight corners without doing much of a drama.
With the longer wheelbase, the new Maruti Suzuki Celerio now offers a bigger cabin space. It now offers more space than before. There is ample headroom, legroom and shoulder room for the front passengers. The rear also offers decent amount of space. There is enough width in the cabin to accommodate three in the rear seats but the transmission tunnel may intrude the legroom of the passenger.
The all-new Celerio offers bottle holders on all the four doors and there is space under the climate control knobs as well. However, we feel that Maruti Suzuki could have utilised the space left empty between the front row seats to add cubby holes or an armrest.
The comfort on the front seats are alright as they get big side boulsters. These boulsters do not allow the body to move around much. The rear seats also offer good support but there is a lack of underthigh support. The most disappointing part is the fixed headrests. Both front and rear seats get fixed headrests. While it can become uncomfortable to a few tall people, the fixed headrests also do not provide proper whiplash protection in case of a rear-end hit from other car.
A decent feature list
The top-end variant of the all-new Maruti Suzuki Celerio offers a 7.0-inch touchscreen display with Smart Studio, Apple CarPlay and Android Atuto connectivity. It is enclosed on a thick casing and works as intended. The driver instrument cluster gets an analogue speedometer and a digital tachometer with the top-end variant. The steering has multifunction buttons to control the infotainment and Blutooth telephony.
On the outside, the top-end trim offers request sensors on the driver and co-driver door, fog lamps and 15-inch black alloy wheels. The car comes with basic and practical features that an owner will use regularly. However, we did not like the positioning of the front and rear power windows. Maruti Suzuki positioned the front power window buttons below the infotainment screen and the rear power windows switches on the central console between the front two seats. Even the lock/unlock button for the central locking system is located below the infotainment system. The rear of the car gets proximity sensors but there is no camera.
What about the looks?
The overall design of the Celerio has changed completely. It gets a new thick black cladding at the front that houses the fog lamps and chunky headlamps. The overall shape of the car will remind you other Maruti Suzuki cars. While it may be a polarising design but over the time, the design grows on you. However, we feel that the design of a car is completely depends on the individuals.
Maruti Suzuki has oddly replaced the pull type handles with the older flap-type ones. Also, the request sensor is located beside the handle on the door and there is an exposed keyhole as well. It sticks out like an eyesore but does the job well.
You can customise as per need
Maruti Suzuki offers a long list of dealership-fitted accessories that can change the complete look of the car. Maruti Suzuki offers two pre-decided packages Cool and Style with the Celerio while the customers can even choose their own accessories for the car while buying the vehicle. There is a long list of accessories to choose from including exterior accessories and cabin accessories like the seat covers and highlights on the dashboard.
Summing it up
The Celerio is a very practical, value-for-money choice. It offers good amount of space and in this time of rising fuel prices – the Celerio offers a highly fuel efficient option. The claim of being the most fuel efficient car is not only on paper. We drove it for nearly 100 km in a mix of city and highway with the AC on to get a fuel efficiency of around 23 km/l, which is phenomenal. We love the engine as well. Yes, there are a few comprises in the car but it does the job of being a city car very well. We believe that with the introduction of CNG, the Celerio is likely to become one of the best-selling cars in the market. If you’re looking for a spacious car and way to save your fuel bills, the Celerio will do a perfect job for you.