Maruti’s obsession with small cars is very well-known fact. In fact many critics observe that Maruti has already overplayed its hatchback hand though company seems to be unnerved by these sermonizing notions. Notwithstanding the unsolicited advice from these preachers, Maruti has launchedyet another 5-door vehicle named Celerio in market just before the commencement of 12th auto-expo 2014. In fact Maruti very cunningly planned Celerio’s market launch with auto-expo as it used this biennial mega event to the hilt in order to spread the awareness about its new market propositionCelerio.
Like many others, we also got first glimpse of Celerio at auto-expo and hailed its all-around capabilities. In addition to having first-in-class automatic transmission, Celerio has gota number of aces up its sleeve in order to tame the highly competitive Indian hatchback segment. For one, equipment level is quite fabulous and has never been seen before on any vehicle of this class. After all who could have thought about steering mounted controls and dual front airbags in vehicle staking its claim in A2 category of auto industry?Further a sneak peek into car’s cabin left us pleasantly surprised as we strongly felt that Maruti had finally got to grips with cabin space challenge; one of the biggest criticisms often hurled at company. Quality ofCelerio’s interiors too felt a cut above the rest in our brief date with this new Maruti at auto- expo. In fact we came back so much impressed from our first-hand introduction with Celerio at auto-expo that we immediately decided to enlighten our precious readers with its completereal-world abilities.And there couldn’t be any better way to this than subjecting this new Maruti to stringent norms and criteria of ecardlr’s comprehensive road test. We phoned to fix our appointment with young Maruti’s lass and then rushed headlong into driver seat of this new creature to take it fora test of its lifetime. Now how Celerio fared overall in this stringent exam conducted by thoroughly professional team of your favourite online car portal; ecardlr is what makes rest of this movie. We are sure this celluloid will hook your interest with climax only proving icing on the cake. Read further and then decide yourself whether this charming beauty really deserves a place in your heart or not.
Celerio outer design is vindication of the matured styling philosophy that Maruti seems to has set in stone for its future vehicles. Though there is no point in comparing Celerio’s youthful design to Hyundai’s fluidic philosophy; still this Maruti is sure to turn heads owing to its subtle dynamic feel.
Celerio comes with all new twin-slated chrome-grill that is wider than anything we have seen in previous Marutis’. Swept back and wrap-around headlamps look quite modern and provides a powerful beam too. Chin of the car feels a bit worked-up; adding a bit of muscles to Celerio’s frontage.
Profile view of Celerio justifies the Maruti’s bragging about the Curve-In Curve-Out (CICO) design philosophy but only a bit. Back to back upswept shoulder and belt lines certainly add zing to the side view of Celerio with bottom character line complementing the effort. Glass area feels larger and hints towards the cabin’s roominess nature.
Rear portion of Celerio is certainly not the best part of the car. In order to add some ruggedness to the whole posture Maruti has gone overboard in terms of pronounced rear bumper. This makes the lower rear view a bit heavy though tail lamps are designed keeping sophistication in mind. Rear windscreen is quite generous and top model has also got the washer-wiper feature.
Overall Celerio is significant leap forward in the current design philosophy of Maruti-Suzuki. It may not be as radical looking as some of the Hyundai’s are but then it has been successfulin optimally managing flair and practicality combination that this A2 segment is particularly interested in.
Hop on to Celerio and one will immediately noticed that Maruti has taken the space or lack of space criticism head on this time. India’s largest car manufacturer has tried every trick in its book to liberate room and result is quite surprising. This is the first Maruti that is sure to perform on par with its competitors on space front and has bettered many of its rivals in roominess aspect. In fact tiny outside tiny dimensions of Celerio is kind of deception as one finds a plenty of legroom and knee room inside the cabin. Seats are cushioned well and both front and rear bench is very comfortable. Front seats have plenty of space though taller drivers need to adjust their seating position as we feel a bit compromised driver leg room. Rear-bench however has no such problem and has all sorts of space in plenty. In sum Celerio pass the crucial test of space with flying colours.
After getting the space morale boost, Celerio performed even better on cabin’s ergonomics and quality fronts. Two-toned dash board feels plush and coherence of its design theme makes it even more adorable. Wood inserts around the centre console and door panels feels surprisingly good as these lift the ambience in very intuitive way. Waterfall console comes equipped with all the gadgets and gizmos in top variant of Celerio with even steering mounted controls have been included in to variant feature list. Console mounted gear lever is very intuitive and so are the large instrument dials. Steering wheel is quite perfect in size as it strikes a perfect balance between size and convenience.
Equipment level of Celerio is something that usually belongs to segment higher cars. With dual front airbags, ABS, electrically adjustable ORVMs’, rear washer-wiper, Bluetooth and steering mounted controls; Maruti has walked an extra mile on this front. In fact with Hyundai offering all these features in its market offerings we already knew that Maruti would respond with equal vigour and that is exactly what surfaced in form of long feature list Celerio comes with.
Boot space of 235 litres is quite good; especially if you have already had terrible experience with the old Maruti’s luggage slots. Provision of parcel tray has enhanced the flexibility of this luggage area and overall this much amount of space will sure to keep criticism at bay; to say the least.
The ace in Celerio’s sleeve is its automatic transmission that is bragged to be one of the most economical clutch-free arrangements now available in Indian market. We are still to get our hands on Celerio automatic to test its most aggressively touted EZ drive claim though we have fully satiated our senses by rigorously testing the manual edition of Celerio.
Celerio uses 1.0-litre K10B engine (K-Next engine) that uses aluminium to favour lightweight construction that in turn has set its eyes on higher mileage aspect. Motor boasts of 3-cylinder arrangement that breathes through 16-valve mounted on twin-can shafts. Power and torque output stands at 68PS and 90 Nm respectively.One thing that becomes immediately apparent that Maruti has worked upon the refinement of the motor as Celerio is impressively silent at idle. In fact it is now impossible to tell the difference of Honda and Maruti petrol engines at idle in blindfolded state. Low rpm response of the motor is good as Celerio takes off from the line eagerly. Celerio move with sufficient alacrity in city provided one keep the motor on boil. Drivability is not Celerio’s forte as crawling in higher gears is something that Celerio won’t do with ease. But then manoeuvre of peddling the metal is exactly it urges you to perform as this rev-happy motor likes to save its breath for higher revolutions.
Mid-range is real mettle of Celerio as it attains the tripe digit sped mark with utmost ease. Upto around 4000 rpm the motor revs unstrained though pushing it further becomes quite a noisy affair. In fact more than the noise its car’s stability that becomes prime concern as high vibrations starts to creep into cabin. As Celerio’s target market will hardly resort to exorbitant whack; Maruti is quite right in its approach to neglect high-end pleasure in favour of fuel-economy
The manual edition of Celerio is mated with 5-speed transmission that uses drive-by-wire technology. Gear lever is mounted on dash and scores perfect 10 on ergonomics. Lever is short; a virtue that makes it quite chunky to use. Shifting experience feels a bit on hard side though there has not been any problem with cogging operation. ABS is sure to help hard braking operation though it comes as standard fitment in top variant only.
ROCK & ROLL
In terms of mechanical hardware, Celerio uses the time tested arrangement of McPherson strut up-front and rear torsion beam to suspend the wheels. 14” alloy wheels are treaded with 165 mm wide rubber that provides sufficient contact patch area to make Celerio quite comfortable. In fact contrary to our expectations, Celerio proved quite seasoned vehicle even at low speed cushioning. Unlike some other segment cars, Celerio gets some good slow-speed cushioning prowess and this capability enhances as the whack goes up. Highway driving is also stable but only up to a limit. Within the traditional limits of a small car, Celerio is remarkable but then don’t mistake it to behave like Ford Figo or Fiat Punto.
Rolling performance of Celerio is too above the average as this car won’t mind zigzag manoeuvres of driver. Celerio handles better than most of Maruti’s small cars courtesy its balanced proportions and optimum dimensions. Electronic steering wheel is ultra-light that is sure to aid city driving convenience though it does take adventure of spirited driving.
Celerio range starts with Rs 3.9 lakh for base variant LXi and stretches all the way to Rs 4.96 lakh for its top-end variant VXi (O) Ex-showroom, Delhi. Automatic variant of Celerio starts its retail at Rs 4.29 lakh. On value-for-money front, Celerio is a decent performer; especially Maruti has struck gold with automatic version pricing of Celerio. Top end variant VXi is available only in manual transmission and at about Rs 5 lakh, this certainly not makes a best buy even with its feature packed competence. At this high end of price rainbow, one has other commendable options that are sure to take wind out of Celerio’s sails. However a close scrutiny reveals that this is basic variant of Celerio in both its automatic and manual avatar that makes a practical and VFM buying. Though one has to live with just bare minimum equipment these versions come with; still on brighter note these basic versions come equipped with host of goodies like spacious cabin, easy and practical ride and most importantly hassle-free ownership of Maruti. With company claiming best-in-class mileage for both Manual and Automatic version of Celerio, one can safely assume to get maximum km per litre. Now with all these positives coming together, Maruti has been successful in converting Celerio into value-constellation that is hard to get unnoticed.
Style& Substance 3.5/5 Ride & Handling 3.5/5
Interiors & Ergonomics 3.5/5 Safety & Equipment 4/5
Power-Plant & Transmission 3.5/5 Fuel Efficiency 4/5
Value for Money 3.5/5