SUZUKI is going more than the extra mile to put a smile on the faces of its customers.

You could probably count on the fingers of two hands the number of cars still available for under £10,000.

That choice is limited to only one hand when one considers buying a new car for under £9,000.

And Suzuki’s Celerio city car is virtually on its own now as a car with a price tag of under £8,000.

But although that price tag will prove very attractive to those searching for a budget set of wheels to scoot around urban environments, it is the fuel economy figure that might seal the deal.

Too often I am disappointed by real time fuel economy figures when compared with those proffered by the manufacturer.

But the Celerio is nothing if not an honest car. And that honesty has been rewarded with the prize of Best Real MPG Performer by respected motoring website

Motororists can log the true fuel economy that their own vehicles are achieving into a database of more than 150,000 fuel consumption submissions. The database covers more than 2,500 model and engine configurations of cars since 2006.

Daniel Powell, managing editor of, said: “Suzuki has one of the best real mpg scores of any car manufacturer. On average, drivers get 90 per cent of their advertised economy with a Suzuki – the industry average is 83 per cent. The Celerio will return 93 per cent of its claimed economy at over 60mpg in everyday driving, and the auto gear shift (AGS) version is even more efficient with a score of 63.7 mpg.

And so it was that I took the manual transmission version of the Celerio on a week-long test drive to see for myself whether I could achieve the promised 60mpg-plus average figure.

Driven sensibly on a variety of roads and in varying environments, I can say that with every journey I added to the economy figure until I burst through that 60mpg mark. In time I reckon I would have topped the claimed 65mpg mark, but I would have needed a little more time to do that.

The abundance of cheap plastics in the Celerio make it easy to spot where Suzuki saves on the manufacturing costs, but that’s not to say this is not a well-rounded choice that’s a lot cheaper than the Skoda Citigo or Kia Picanto.

Standard specification includes six airbags, a tyre pressure monitoring system, front electric windows, DAB radio and a CD tuner.

Additional specification on the SZ3 model includes air conditioning, alloy wheels, USB and Bluetooth connectivity.

Moving up to the SZ4 model adds polished alloy wheels, body coloured door mirrors, chrome front grille, front fog lamps, electric door mirrors, rear electric windows and four speakers.

Suzuki has consistently aimed for a resolution of the apparently contradictory elements of retaining interior room as well as making dimensions as compact as possible. By going back to basics and reviewing the body structure, Suzuki succeeded in delivering a roomy, quite comfortable interior space within a compact body with a total length of 3,600mm and width of 1,600mm.

The interior is simple, to say the least, with a predominantly black colour. There’s a decent amount of luggage space – 254 litres with the rear seats in position and 726 litres with them folded – and loading/unloading is easy.

In addition to the easy-to-manoeuvre compact body offering a very tight turning circle of just 9.4 metres, the Celerio features a high-mount gear shift and high-hip points that produce good all-round visibility to further enhance ease of driving. The high seating position and large side door opening also facilitate entry and exit.

My test car was mated to manual transmission, but for those looking for the convenience of an automatic and economy of a manual, the auto gear shift version – available with SZ4 trim - might be a better choice.

This clever system allows for the effortless experience of a conventional automatic transmission but without the typical losses in fuel efficiency or increase in CO2 emissions. Suzuki has also added a low speed ‘creep’ facility (about 5mph) which is useful in slow traffic and when parking with no need to depress the accelerator pedal.

The AGS system also has a manual mode facility for a more direct drive feel on country roads. This mode is selected by moving the gear shift to the left and then by moving the lever backwards to shift up and forward to shift down the gearbox.

The Celerio, which replaced the smaller Alto city car and the Splash mini MPV, employs better suspension and an improved version of the three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine that powered the Splash and Alto.

Primarily a city car, it will still scoot along quite happily at motorway speeds. Acceleration is only mediocre, as one might expect, but in its natural environment it delivers a smooth drive and is a doddle to manoeuvre.

As a six-footer, I am often left wanting by the amount of space given to rear seat passengers, even in larger premium brand offerings, but the Celerio easily accommodated my frame without my knees touching the back of the front seats and with plenty of headroom.

Behind the wheel, you are conscious of the slightly raised driving position, which makes for not only a good view of the road but also makes entry and exit very easy – something drivers of a certain age will appreciate.


Suzuki Celerio SZ3 5-door

Price: £9,649 (range from £7,999)

Engine: 1.0 litre petrol, producing 68PS

Transmission: Five-speed manual driving front wheels (auto available)

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 13.5 seconds; top speed 96mph

Economy: 65.7mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 99g/km


Performance: ***

Economy: *****

Ride/Handling: ***

Space/Practicality: ***

Equipment: ***

Security/Safety: ***

Value For Money: *****