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Rs. 4,99,000 (Ex-Showroom)

Maruti Suzuki

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Imphal, Chandigarh, Bangalore India
First Driving Impressions, Celerio AMT
Feb 16, 2014 07:27 PM 276678 Views
(Updated Feb 16, 2014 07:29 PM)

Leg Room:

Dealer Satisfaction:





My Test Drive Report of Celerio AMT

Had a couple of test drives one at my home and one at a dealer. The reference points I have are my A-Star AT, and my friends i10. Here are my observations:

1. Styling:

Is it just me, or does the car look a bit like a scaled down Chevrolet Sail U-VA, especially from the side profile? Must be the window line which provides the similarities. Otherwise, fairly inoffensive. Front starts ok, nice square lamps, the back of course looks too much Alto 800-ish, which I supposed was not the intended association Maruti was looking for.

In terms of size, it is taller than the A-Star, and feels just a mite shorter than the i10. Which means easy enough access for the elderly, but not as good as the true tall boys, the Santro and wagonR. Rear door was reasonable big, allowing ok access.

2. Build Quality Perceived and Interior Quality:

The doors of course close with a typical japanese tinny-ness. You would definitely not confuse it for a Punto's door, for instance. It feels just a bit more'hollow' than the A-Star and the i10. Again, perceived quality only. The rear hatch is built ok, feels solid enough.

In terms of interior plastics, both demo cars had Leather Upholstery fitted, so cannot comment on seat fabric quality/ The door plastics texture is a bit cheap-ish, more wagonR than i10. Actually, I think the A-Star has a bit better texture.

The dashboard has a good shape, Swift inspired, but the texture again spoils the impression somewhat. The lack of a stereo as standard on the AMT models means there is a big space for an aftermarket piece, as fitted to the demo car.

3. More Interiors, Space, Seats and Stuff

With a Biege finish, the interior appear more spacious. Mind you, they ARE spacious, especially after my relatively cramped A-Star. Front Space is good, but the steering rack plastic fouled with my right knee when I was trying to get a good driving position. I am 5'7, by the way. Bit of an ergonomic flaw I guess.

But there is good visibility thanks to the vast glasshouse. Rear visibility was a bit restricted due to the thick C-Pillars and slightly narrow mirror. Still ok though.

One Major annoyance was the steering wheel. While the size was fine, the horn does NOT extent to the spokes on the side, as they do on my A-Star, or Swift etc. This meant that I had to move my hand and consciously press the horn, as compared to the A-Star, where I just have to move my thumb a couple of centimeters.

The front seats, as stated by earlier posters, is not that good. They are a built flat and the side bolsters do not really hold you in place that well. Mind you, this is in comparison to the i10/A-Star.

Now moving to the rear seats, which are a better story. Firstly, leg room is quite good. With my friend in the driving seat(he is 5'10"), I had a couple of centimeters of space between my knees and the front seatback. In the A-Star, I would be touching and rubbing the front seat.  Regarding interior cabin width, I feel three might fit at a pinch, but it should be ok for intra-city journeys.

But, there are no seat back headrests for the rear passengers, unlike in the A-Star AT and Sportz and above i10's. Boot space feels nice and large, comparable to the i10, and definitely larger than the current wagonR/Swift etc. It feels double the A-Star's pathetic space. Seats also split/fold 60:40 for flexibility. It is easy to load luggage, but I feel loading lip should have been a few inches lower(like the Figo, which is excellent in this regard).

*And now onto the MAIN COURSE

The Driving Experience:*

I of course, was eager to see how the AMT would cope, with my reference being the A-Star AT. Start her up, and the K10B engine is refined, quite good for a 3-pot motor. Vibrations seem to be ok as well.

Now, will this AMT creep forward like a Torque-Convertor. Well, I let go of the throttle and tried it out. Verdict, it does creep a bit, but its not as eager or fast as the creep function in the A-Star. According to the speedo, the car got upto 5-6 kmph on a neutral gradient before topping out. In comparison, the A-Star leaps out in creep mode and goes upto 10-12 kmph.

Well, what about sloping starts? The A-Star easily handles the 30 degree parking gradient at my house without rolling back. The Celerio. did not. It started creeping back a bit, mind you, not rolling back like in a Manual. But something to keep in mind in case you are stuck on a gradient with other vehicles in a multi-storied car park.

Reversing, again no judder or chunkiness when engaged in R, but does not creed back like  a torque convertor auto.

And now, the actual drive. in Auto Mode

First shock for me, the engine picks up very well from low revs. the K10B being  better than the earlier K10, which had a weak low end power delivery. The car accelerated strongly, stronger than the A-Star and at par with the i10. HOWEVER, keep in mind that both the Demo cars were most likely over-inflated, so that would speed up the performance a bit. I would like to how how the Celerio would perform at 32psi tyre pressures.

Still, it pulled well. till it decided to upshift. You can feel a sort of'tug' / lurch when the car changes gear. A bit like when a train is stopping at a station, and just before it finally halts you feel a lurch before stopping. Not as bad of course, but kind of spoils the experience and smoothness for me. Perhaps I would get used to it, but I have been spoiled by the smoothness of the torque converter on my A-Star.

Still, after the tugs, the car pulled fast and smooth. Nice part is the tacho, which lets you enjoy revving the engine. It revs as well as the earlier K10. When you decelerate, the downshifts do not cause much of a tug or lurch. It seemed more noticeable on the upshifts.

Brakes were ok, did not get to test sudden braking, but the absence of ABS still bugs me.

Now, for the Manual Mode

This is where the car truly shines. Unlike auto mode, there is no luching when chaging gear. In face, pull to shift up and push to shift down makes me feel like i'm operating a sequential gearbox on  racing car.:D And you can see the present gear selected in the instrument panel, to enable newbies to know which gear they are in.

I feel that Maruti should have advertised this car as more of a clutchless Manual than a full-auto, as it is so much better in this mode. The lack of clutch means the left foot get a break during city traffic, but you are always in control. And the feel of moving the lever down and up is so racing car-ish(did I mention that already?).

Ride and Handling

Being a psuedo-tall boy(i10 ish), the car would not be expected to be an enthusiasts delight. And it isn't. I tried taking a turn at medium-ish speeds and the steering feels. not existent. It is definitely lighter that the A-Star's steering a low speeds(women would appreciate), but I much prefer the feel of the A-Star's steering to the Celerio's. Handling, with skinny tyres is never going to be great. But to its credit the car did not roll much when cornering. Ride comfort was average. Not choppy, but not very comfortable either. This of course could be due to the over-inflated tyres. Mind you, it was still better than the A-Star. But there were 4 people in the car at all times. I would like to know comfort only two up or with only the driver.

*And with that we come to the end of this first impression of the Celerio, if I were to sum it up:

  • The Celerio reminds me of a sort of cheaper built i10 in terms of size.

  • The Interiors are serviceable, the build quality typical Maruti.

  • The Engine has good drive ability and is refined.

  • The AMT gearbox works well, could be more refined. In Manual Mode it truly shines.

  • The seats are bad, I want better.

  • The Space and Visibility are good.

  • Ride and Handling, need more time to get a better picture

  • Steering Feel. there is None.

All in all, a good city car for most.

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Maruti Suzuki Celerio