Maruti Suzuki’s lil’ red number impresses where it’s meant to
Here's a secret. I have never been fond of the previous-generation Celerio. That might seem surprising considering my affinity for Kei cars. In fact, if asked to choose between the Alto K10 and the Celerio, I would choose the former. Sure the Celerio is a more practical alternative but I feel that it missed the element of fun associated with small cars. So when the next-generation Celerio was launched, it was intriguing at first sight. Sure it had grown which meant more cabin space and as an extension, more practicality but the design now hinted at fun. So when the Celerio joined the long-term fleet, the pursuit of fun dictated I spend my commutes with the Celerio. After all, the primary focus of any small car is being a brilliant commuter.
I am happy to report that the Celerio, despite the size gain, remains a fantastic commuter. It darts in and out of traffic with ease and slips into the smallest gaps allowing me to stay ahead of traffic. Even more impressive are the 15-inch alloys. That’s as large as cars a few segments above. The wheels and improved 170mm ground clearance mean I don’t have to worry about unmarked speedbreakers or getting on or off an elevated road. Besides, these also help offer a fantastic ride that feels as good as sedans priced thrice as much!
The motor also helps the Celerio keep up with traffic and most of the time ahead of it. The spunky unit rewards with good pace when prodded and gets upto 80kmph with ease. The auto start-stop feature works flawlessly in traffic ensuring no delay when it’s time to move. Even in traffic and with spirited driving, fuel efficiency has been hovering around 16kmpl making it quite wallet-friendly.
The interiors are surprisingly spacious given its hatchback dimensions. There is ample space for four healthy individuals and given mine and the wife’s medium dimensions, almost feels like an SUV. The boot is surprisingly spacious as well. The interiors feel premium too, thanks to the robust plastic quality and buttons. There are quirks too, like the front power window buttons placed on the centre console below the screen and the rear buttons between the front seats and behind the handbrake lever. The cabin is packed with useful features as well like a height-adjustable seat, keyless entry, start/stop button, auto-folding mirrors and my favourite - Apple CarPlay. That said, the wipers despite being brand new, leave minute streaks on the windshield making it quite irritating to drive at night. I plan to swap them with aftermarket units soon.
The Celerio feels like a Kei car while impressing with its road manners, spacious cabin and features and above all, a spunky and frugal motor. It comes quite close to being the perfect small hatchback.