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All systems go for Suzuki Celerio

Bye bye baby: The Celerio had its best sales year in Australia in 2015 – the year it launched – with 1399 units sold.

New Suzuki Celerio good to go – as well as as stop – as brake issues are rectified


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24 Feb 2015

AFTER a rocky pre-launch program, the Suzuki Celerio micro-car will hit dealerships next week, according to Suzuki Australia general manager Andrew Moore.

On the eve of the vehicle’s launch in Australia earlier this month, reports of total brake failure in two cars while under test for a United Kingdom auto magazine emerged, prompting Suzuki to ground the 150 cars already in Australia until the matter had been investigated.

“I was in Perth at our final dealer launch activity when the email came from overseas,” Mr Moore told GoAuto. “We took action straight away to ground our cars. Some cars had made it to dealers, who were instructed to put them ‘out the back’ straight away.”

According to Autocar magazine, the test involved an emergency brake stop from 80mph (129/kmh), during which the brake pedal “lost all stopping power”, with the brake pedal going to the floor and becoming stuck there.

An investigation by Suzuki revealed that a link arm in a brake release clip – part of a passive safety function that keeps the brake pedal depressed after a crash to reduce lower-leg injuries – had failed.

The link has already been re-engineered in its Rayong, Thailand plant, and parts are en-route to Australia.

“The brake release clip link has been redesigned and remanufactured,” Mr Moore told GoAuto. “All 150 cars in Australia will get completely new brake pedal assemblies. I expect that our dealers will have cars ready for test drives next week.”

Mr Moore is confident that the shaky start to the Celerio’s launch won’t affect sales, nor dent consumer confidence in the micro hatch.

“It was never a customer issue, because the car never made it to the showroom floor,” he said.

“The core attributes of the car haven’t changed. It’s refined, it’s roomy, it’s got the largest cargo area in the class at 254 litres… the launch just hasn’t gone as smoothly as we would have liked.”

The Celerio gives the mantle of cheapest mainstream car back to Suzuki, with the manual variant kicking off at $12,990 driveaway. The continuously variable transmission-equipped version is $1000 more. The Mitsubishi Mirage is listed at $11,490 before on-road costs.

The three-door hatch comes equipped with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. Code-named K10B, the naturally-aspirated engine produces 50kW at 6000rpm and 90Nm at 3500rpm. It’s backed by either a five-speed manual gearbox or a CVT.

Fuel economy is listed as 4.7 litres per 100 kilometres for the manual, and 4.8 litres per 100km for the CVT.

The Celerio – which Suzuki says means Celestial River, but in many other languages translates as ‘celery’ – is built around an all-new platform, and incorporates a MacPherson strut-type front and torsion beam rear suspension layout. Steering is electrically assisted, while brakes comprise vented discs up front and vented drums out back.

The diminutive Celerio is 3600mm long (100mm longer than the outgoing Alto) with a wheelbase of 2425mm. It’s 1600mm wide and 1540mm high. Kerb weight is 830kg in manual spec (50kg lighter than Alto) and 860kg when supplied with the CVT.

Luggage space is 254 litres with the rear seats up, while said rear seats feature a 60/40 split function.

Spec-wise, the Celerio comes standard with six airbags, ABS and ESC, plus Bluetooth hands-free functionality with full audio streaming capability. It earned an ANCAP four-star rating thanks to its curtain airbags and second-row seatbelt warning system.

A tilt-adjust steering wheel, remote locking, air-conditioning and powered windows front and rear are also standard issue.

It goes head to head with Mitsubishi’s Mirage at $11,490 plus on-road costs, as well as Holden’s Barina Spark at $12,890 plus on-road costs. Both competitors sport larger 1.2-litre engines.

Mr Moore said he is confident that the Celerio can echo the performance of the volume-selling Alto it replaces.

“We’re expecting to sell 200 plus a month,” he told GoAuto. “It’s a bit dependent on supply – there are some limits on production. I’m very confident we’ll sell more than 200 a month, though.”Suzuki Celerio pricing*
Celerio (a)$13,990
*Driveaway pricing.

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