The Maruti Suzuki Celerio, launched at the Auto Expo 2014, is based on the Suzuki A-Wind Concept, which was showcased at the Thailand Motor Show last year. With some help from the nice blokes at Shivam Autozone in Mumbai, we managed to lay our hands on the New Maruti Suzuki Celerio AMT for a review.
The A-Star replacement hatchback from India’s largest car maker will be premiering the Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) tech in India. The car will be available with the manual transmission too, but Maruti Suzuki is aggressively promoting the hatchback keeping the focus on the AMT.
We recently took the VXi AMT model for a spin. Here’s what we think about the car.
Words: Arjun Dharve and Rohan Patil
Images: Hanoz Patel
The Celerio has been designed in Japan, and will be sold globally. The design of the car is quite simplistic, with wrap around headlights well integrated into the Suzuki grille. At 1560 mm, the Celerio is a fairly tall hatchback, which also adds bit to the roominess factor on the inside.
The front end has visual cues of the Toyota Etios while the rear is reminiscent of the Alto 800. Overall, the design is fresh and similar to the Suzuki A:Wind concept minus the projector lamps. The Celerio retains the sharp creases and lines throughout the body and it looks quite striking in bright and bold colours like the “Sunshine Ray” you see in the images. The addition of the chrome strips gives it a wider essence making the hatch look big.
Space and packaging
The interior trim of Celerio across all the variants remains predominantly two-toned. However, take a closer look and the dash actually has multiple textures and finishes to it. Large grain, fine grain, piano finish elements as well as brushed silver inserts, they are all used cleverly to elevate the premium feel of the interiors. The 3 spoke Urethane steering wheel feels good to hold and the Hyundai i-10 like placement of the gear shifter/selector falls within easy reach while driving and scores high on ergonomics.
The front seats of the car are single units with integrated headrests. This constructions helps to free up the vital knee room at the rear, however these seats could do with a bit more padding. Surprisingly, even with the front seat adjusted for a 6-footer, the rear seat legroom is enough for an average Indian adult. The rear seats provide good support to the back, but the small headrests do not help much. At 1600mm width, there isn’t enough space for 3 passengers to be seated comfortably, like many other hatchbacks and the rear is best for 2 occupants.
All the variants, except the base LXi, get the 60:40 split rear seats, which proves useful when moving extra luggage incase the appreciable 235 liter decently sized boot can’t accommodate. The car gets two cup holders at the front, space for bottles on rear doors and a bottle holder behind the handbrake in the central console and is a good addition. The glove box is average sized and we would have preferred if it was placed a bit higher since it fouls with the knees every time one accesses it.
The Celerio pleased us with the multiple cubby holes and storage recesses around. On the right hand side of the driver, there is another recess which can hold a wallet/toll bills. Below the central HVAC controls lies another recess perfect for mobile phones etc., while the twin central bottle holders ahead of the handbrake lever are quite deep. In our assumption, the rear door bottle holders can only hold 500ml pet bottles, which is still a good add on considering not all hatchbacks carry this feature. Surprisingly, the VXi AMT does not come with electrically operated ORVMs or factory fitted Audio player with the works.
One can only buy the Celerio with all the bells and whistles in the ZXi(O) trim which comes with manual transmission. The ZXi(O) also comes with fog lamps which the LXi and VXi trims skip. The ZXi(O) however, misses out on leather wrapped steering and gear knobs. An important thing that we would have liked on the AMT and couldn’t quite find was a dead pedal. Even though only the ZXi(O) receives driver side seat height adjuster; that said the seat itself is sufficiently tall and shorter drivers will not have a reason to complain.
Engine and Transmission
Powering the Celerio is the K-Next Engine with Drive-by-wire and is a 3 pot 1.0 liter unit. The main upgrade is the inclusion of the Drive by wire tech. Christened as the K10B, the engine develops 67bhp of max power at 6000 RPM and 90Nm of peak torque at 3500 RPM and is mated to 5 speed manual and automated manual transmission (AMT). Since we drove the AMT variant, which will be available in only the LXi and VXi trims, we will explain the AMT in detail. In a typical 3 pot manner, the motor is quite vibe-y at idle, and some vibrations trickle inside the cabin, but never are bothersome. The thrumming of the engine gets pronounced once past 3000 rpm, but does not sound harsh in any way.
As many of you may know, conventional automatic transmissions use a torque convertor. But, the AMT does not use the same. Instead, it depends on an electronic control unit (ECU) that manages actuators to control the clutch engagements for the gear shifts to happen. Press the brake pedal and shift the gear lever into D, release the brake and the car moves, just like normal automatics. With no accelerator inputs, the car will chug along at 10 kmph. This 5-speed gearbox unit is also shared with the manual, which is why Maruti is able to price the AMT variant so competitively in comparison to conventional automatics. Also, the AMT variant has the same ARAI rated fuel efficiency of 23.1 kmpl as of the manual Celerio variant, which sounds terrific on papers. While in the city, the MFD gave a readout or 13kmpl, which for an Automatic is fantastic, we say.
In D mode:
With a light foot, the car shifts gears quickly to aid fuel efficiency. The ECU upshifts at the 2500 rpm if the car is driven with a light foot. When cruising at 50-60 kmph, press the right pedal, and there is a slow response from the gearbox to downshift, and it can drop to the second cog to give the car the ordered punch. Keep your feet buried and the transmission will perform up shifts late (@5000 rpms).
This mode works very well while driving around traffic, and should be a boon for the people who are travelling long distances every day for work in dense traffic. With its cost-effectiveness the system should also appeal to ladies who drive to work, as a hassle free and cost effective alternative to the manual transmissions which can get quite irksome in bumper to bumper traffic. On the downside, however, at crawling speeds the gear shifts feel a bit erratic especially when the ECU decides to upshift into the 2nd gear and you lift off to slow down, this is further compounded by the fact that the shifts aren`t lightening fast.
In Manual (M) mode:
Shift the gear lever to left and you can use the gear lever to manually perform upshifts and downshifts. Push backwards to upshift and forward to downshift. In the manual mode, you can even hold on to a gear to have some fun. This mode will be very useful while weaving through twisties as well as for overtaking on highways.
If you slow down to a low speed in a higher gear, the gearbox will downshift on its own at a low RPM threshold. Even though this offers morefreedom and selecting the gears at any occasion, we did not use this much preferring to leave the car in the D mode most of the times. In our personal opinion, the maximum fun of a manual mode, of an automatic transmission can only be exploited with steering mounted paddle shifters. All said, the `manual mode` still beats a `manual transmission` by negating the much hated clutch pedal and offering the same control.
Whether driving in manual or D, the Celerio makes light work of driving, which is nothing less than a chore in densely populated metros like Mumbai. The ease of use and the sheer simplicity makes the Celerio an EZ Drive indeed.
Steering, Handling and Ride:
The McPherson struts up front and Torsion beam axle with coil spring at rear set up has been well tweaked by Maruti Suzuki engineers. Low speed ride remains a bit firm, but drives well with passengers onboard. The rear end does feel a bit bouncy, but isn`t unnerving in any way and keeps composure as long as it is driven sanely. The firm setup also means that the Celerio would be a confident handler around corners.
As with all the Marutis, the Celerio employs the efficient EPS. While at standstill it is a tad heavy, the steering feels light once on the move. The steering also weighs up sufficiently well once past speeds of 50-60 kmph and offers decent feedback. Remember, this is predominantly a city hatch and it excels in the ride and handling department at city speeds.
With a low kerb weight of 830 kilos, the Maruti Suzuki Celerio AMT, with its light power steering is a perfect city car. With a fuel efficiency figure on par with the manual, the car will be light on pocket too. Coupled with Marutis fantastic dealer network, like any Maruti this one should be a joy to own too.
With the Celerio, Maruti brings to the table the most important factors, namely – Automatic transmission, Fuel efficiency, Dealer network, Low running costs. With the percentage of the fairer sex owning city cars on the rise, the Celerio could be a hit amongst lady drivers as well!
OTR Prices of the Maruti Suzuki Celerio AMT in Mumbai, at the time this review was written are provided below
Maruti Suzuki Celerio VXI AMT INR 5.54 lakh
Maruti Suzuki Celerio LXI AMT INR 5.20 lakh
Maruti Suzuki Celerio VXI INR 5.08 lakh
Maruti Suzuki Celerio ZXI INR 5.43 lakh
Maruti Suzuki Celerio ZXI (O) INR 5.97 lakh
Maruti Suzuki Celerio LXI INR 4.72 lakh
Maruti Suzuki Celerio Tech Specs
- Displacement 998 cc
- Fuel Type Petrol
- Max Power 67 bhp @ 6000 RPM
- Max Torque 90 Nm @ 3500 RPM
- Mileage (ARAI) 23.1 kmpl
- Transmission Type Automated Manual Transmission – 5 speed
Our heartfelt thanks to Shivam Autozone, Mumbai for providing the test car. Our readers from Western suburbs in Mumbai can test drive the Celerio by visiting or getting in touch with Shivam Autozone. The company runs two showrooms in Mumbai. You can call them on the following numbers
Shivam Autozone S V Road showroom Kandivali
Tel: 022 4255 5555
Shivam Autozone Raghuleela Mall Showroom
Tel: 022 4104 4444