2021 Maruti Suzuki Celerio review: Younger than ever before
- Good for budget buyers
- Compact proportions still make it a good city drive option
- Exterior styling is not appealing
- Fit and finish in cabin could have been better
- Very basic
Did you know that Maruti Suzuki Celerio was first launched in 2014? Did you know that Maruti has sold nearly six lakh units of Celerio in the past seven years? Did you know that despite being a prolific seller, Celerio is still not the top sales chart buster from Maruti? Well, when a car has siblings like the Alto, WagonR, Swift and Dzire, there has to be enough - and constant - family pressure to perform and perform better. Say hello then to the all-new 2021 Maruti Suzuki Celerio, a car that builds on its own strengths while trying to find a newer connect with a younger audience.
The latest Celerio makes a long list of promises, most of which are specifically oriented towards positioning it as a viable option for the young, first-time car-buying audience. Whether it is the radical change to the exterior visual profile or the dynamic updates to the dash, this here is definitely a younger version of the outgoing model. And yet, the claim of being the most fuel-efficient petrol car in India is likely to transcend artificial lines like age and appeal to most in current times of record fuel prices.
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(Also see pics | 2021 Maruti Suzuki Celerio builds on its own strengths)
To check out the 2021 Celerio from Maruti Suzuki, I landed once again in the pleasant climes of Udaipur. And with the calming November sun shining on the both the car and the driver, it was time to put the latest from Maruti to an extensive test sched. Here's the complete takeway:
Maruti Celerio: Let the looks not distract
As much as I keep repeating that looks are subjective and beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, it is important to note that the exterior profile of the new Celerio is likely to invite very contrasting opinions. It is definitely younger in terms of visual cues from all angles but as veterans would perhaps say, youthful may not always mean outright beautiful.
|Maruti Suzuki Celerio external dimensions (mm)
The outgoing Celerio had a mature, calm, conventional design from all sides and angles. It wasn't flashy, not by any standards. And yet, it looked like a practical option, visually speaking. The latest Celerio changes all of that courtesy its 3D sculpted design which is eager, too eager perhaps.
The car is now very, very rounded with a curvaceous bonnet and tail gate. There is a new front grille which is similar to what is seen on the new Swift launched earlier this year. There is a minor tweak to the way the head light units have been incorporated while the front bumper - complete with the fog light casing - has also been reworked. Oh, and there is a slight dash of chrome on the grille as well.
Slide over to the side and the new Celerio now stands on 15-inch wheels which sport very sporty black alloys. The circular wheel arches are topped by circular character lines while there are more of these in straight lines on the side. The body-coloured side mirrors can be operated electronically while there is keyless entry feature too. Getting in and our of the car promises to be easier now because of a) a good ground clearance and b) all four doors now open slightly wider.
The windows remain quite large to let elements enter freely while there is a tinge of downward swoop of the roofline as it merges into the rear profile. Over at the rear, the tail light design has been reworked and so has the rear fender. While the profile still is quite conventional, complete with the Celerio lettering and Suzuki logo, the trunk door width seems to have been reduced which could be a problem if loading heavy suitcases. The lifting angle too remains rather high but the good, no great, news is that the boot space itself has now gone up to 313 litres. There's more than adequate space for a small family on a long trip - one large suitcase, one medium bag and two laptop bags. And just in case one wants even more space, the rear seats can be folded in 60:40 ratio. Perfect!
Maruti Celerio: Cabin cuts and style
Special thoughts to little things make the cabin of the new Celerio a refreshing place to be in. While I have already touched upon the wider opening doors for easier in and out of the vehicle, the drive and ride height is also quite impressive considering this is still a compact hatchback. But more on that down below because even when sitting idle, there's much update that is pleasing inside the Celerio.
Take the dashboard layout for instance. Sharp lines and deep crevices on a black canvas is a sure-shot way of highlighting that you are inside the new and not the previous Maruti Celerio. Then there is the seven-inch infotainment screen on the top-end variant which is bright, vivid, responsive to touch and positioned well enough to cut our most reflections. The system itself isn't unique to Celerio and is the same as the one on newer-generation Maruti cars, an HQ for music, apps and even navigation. It supports wired connection to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay with the phone getting a dedicated slot for storage.
There are also storage options near the re-designed gear lever, a 12V charging point, physical dials for HVAC controls and contemporary vents - circular at the sides and vertically-oriented in the middle.
There are also dedicated buttons under the main display and vents for front window operation, parking lights, and locking and unlocking the doors. The buttons for the rear window operation are located next to the handbrake. Personally, I prefer door-mounted window controls but this is a minor adjustment I am ready to adapt to.
No need to adapt to the large instrument cluster which is semi digital. It puts out information pertaining to instantaneous fuel consumption, trip details and the likes in clear numeric font.
As for the level of comfort and refinement, the Celerio does well for a Maruti and has well-cushioned seats for all, a decent level of noise insulation and hard plastics that, well, may be hard but don't exactly appear cheap.
Move over to the rear and there's plenty of space - considering the overall dimension of the vehicle, for two passengers while a third may not grumble much either apart from complaining about the limited feet space. A minor hump on the floor bed is a bit of a restriction for the rear passenger but at least the center console is quite far ahead. Shoulder room for three is adequate and so is the knee room and head height. The angle of the back seats are also satisfactory but under-thigh support is woefully inadequate on all seats - front and back.
Among things I would have liked but the Celerio skips are rear charging sockets or points, rear-seat armrest and while this is a small car, I have a feeling rear AC vents could have upped the comfort factor. Not that I turned on the AC even once under the November sun.
Maruti Celerio: Peppy drive trait retained
At the core of the Celerio is the next generation K-Series petrol engine and the company claims much work has gone into it to help the car build on its peppy nature while offering even better fuel efficiency. How much? Well, the ARAI-certified figure stands at 26.68 kmpl.
|Maruti Suzuki Celerio specs
|1.0-litre Dual Jet, Dual VVT
|Five-speed manual, AGS
While there is a whole lot of mechanical jargon that would go into explaining how the new Celerio is able to extract as much from every litre of petrol, the fact that the new Celerio gets segment-first idle start-stop helps. And it is on point, especially in the minor traffic that I found on the way out from the main city of Udaipur and onto open highways.
Throughout the hunt for even more scenic spots out of Udaipur and on the national highway, it was amply clear that this car is typically Maruti in the truest sense - agile, eager and capable of balancing its nature between city traffic and on open stretches.
First up was the variant with AGS transmission and for anyone who has driven any Maruti with it, it is a drive down familiar territory - practical in city, steady on highways, struggle uphill. That last bit is, in fact, my only persisting grouch as the 1.0-litre, naturally aspirated petrol motor needs some degree of skill to make its way up on steeper climbs. I had to repeatedly switch to manual mode and downshift to get the required thrust to negotiate the next bend. This was more noticeable especially because the transmission mostly fared well on the flat stretches just before the climb on Rayta hills. The numbers were ticked off near instantly and barring the occasional kickback, there was a clean sweep towards the 100 kmph mark.
I would still recommend the Celerio with AGS if mountain drives are going to be very occasional escapades because within city limits, its pros completely outweigh the cons. But if you want complete control, there is always the five-speed manual transmission for the taking.
|Maruti Suzuki Celerio
Slick, the Celerio MT gets a move along well and is ably helped by a featherlight steering wheel that is a breeze to swing - one way or another - within city limnits. And beyond, there may not be any feedback whatsoever but the aforementioned spirit of the engine will tick off milestones like a no one's business even if there is some engine grunt that filters into the cabin when the car is being pushed. NVH and road noise levels are, however, kept well in check.
On the flipside, the suspension on the Celerio could have been a tad softer because on less than perfect roads, there is a fair bit of jitter that continues to creep in. Other than this though, there is no complaining.
Maruti Celerio: Verdict
The Celerio is a safe buy, a practical purchase, a reliable option. It has always been and promises to remain so for years to come.
There is a clear attempt to give the new Celerio a youthful appeal which may or may not come off in terms of exterior looks but just in case the design isn't exactly to your liking, Maruti has ensured there's much more on offer to woo and wow.
An updated cabin is a jump in the right direction, a feature-list upgrade is great and there's more space for both you and your luggage. Add to all of this that this car has a frugal engine with AGS option and the Celerio could indeed challenge not just its direct rivals but its siblings in Maruti camp too.