The little machine that could: 2022 Suzuki Celerio GL with AGS

The little machine that could: 2022 Suzuki Celerio GL with AGS

The Suzuki Celerio has long been a bestseller for the brand in the Philippines. Now on its third generation, it meets any first-time car buyer’s need for fuel efficiency, reliability, space, and most importantly, affordability. Not everyone can afford a crossover SUV or even a compact sedan whose models are some of the best value-for-money propositions out in the market.


  • How fuel efficient is the Suzuki Celerio?

    Suzuki claims you can get up 28.25kpl.
  • What is the weight of the Celerio?

    It weighs around 800kg.
  • 2022 Suzuki Celerio Profile Picture Dark

    Sometimes, car buyers need to fork over the extra cash for something more important in life other than a brand-new car. That’s where the mini-hatchback segment comes into play. The segment features a roster of affordable offerings with various features and niceties as well as powertrains that fight hard for our hard-earned savings.

    Today, the all-new Suzuki Celerio features a fully revised exterior, much better features, and a transmission that promises to change the way people drive, for better or worse. 

    2022 Suzuki Celerio GOlden hour front

    Can the all-new Suzuki Celerio live up to its predecessor’s legendary fuel economy and practicality, much less compete in this cutthroat segment?


    Outside the all-new Suzuki Celerio is a complete departure from the previous model’s aesthetic. Gone are the sharp, clean lines and boxy proportions, and in comes a more rounded and aerodynamic-looking, bulbous four-wheel mini that can probably stand as a step-down version of a popular European car brand.  

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Golden Hour

    The round halogen headlamps dominate the look of the front, giving the all-new Suzuki Celerio a jovial countenance to it. They flank a subjectively sporty front grill with a striking chrome strip that runs across it. One thing that I love about the front fascia is the black lower grill housing the large halogen fog lamps. It mimics many of Suzuki’s Kei-car offerings in Japan and creates an aura of purpose and sportiness as well as fun, like a smile running across the Celerio’s face.

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Side Profile Left

    While there aren’t any notable features on the side profile of the all-new Suzuki Celerio, I appreciate how the flowing and sculpted body lines play with light in a way that teases your eye to make observers think they’re looking at a much larger vehicle. Notably, the rear quarter panel looks bulging and muscular enough and gives the 15-inch, blacked-out alloy wheels a good opportunity to fill them in quite nicely. The C-pillar’s solid design even reminds me of Suzuki’s small off-roading SUVs popular in the '80s and '90s.

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Taillamp

    The doors on the all-new Suzuki Celerio are large and almost cover the entire height of the car. Plus points to Suzuki for allowing the door hinges to reach almost 90 degrees, allowing effortless ingress and egress to the vehicle, but I will have to take those points back for giving the car old-school pull-up door handles and a key slot that looks like an after-thought. Remember, however, that in order to reach a particular price point in this segment, car manufacturers have to crunch every single dollar in development costs so a few misses in the design language is allowable.

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Headlamp

    While the front and back of the all-new Suzuki Celerio are a hit-or-miss affair, I can say for a fact that the brand hit a home run in designing the rear section. Small pods on each side of the car act as its taillamps. Suzuki calls this a teardrop design, but I like to call it "the baby shark," thanks to a small kink on the upper portion that links the design with the rear windshield. Thankfully a rear windshield wiper is present. After being MIA on the Suzuki S-presso, I’m just glad that it’s there.

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Wheels

    Loading cargo into the hatch might be a challenge no thanks to the high loading height and narrow opening but such is the price for an eye-catching design. At least, owners can enjoy a deep and wide cargo area of about 295 liters of space and if you need even more, the rear seats can fold down, although not quite flat, in a 60:40 split.


    The all-new Suzuki Celerio is no luxury car and the interior is awash in a sea of black hard plastic, but what you don’t get in tactile comfort, you certainly get back in savings. At least the dashboard is properly sculpted with silver trims around the air vents as well as media control buttons on the steering wheel. 

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Cockpit

    While ergonomics will take a hit for the driver, with the seats not adjustable for height and the steering wheel only for rake, it’s surprisingly adequate and comfortable to sit in the cockpit of the all-new Suzuki Celerio. The seats with integrated headrests are well padded and should be ready for long drives as well as a lot of years down the line. Wear and tear shouldn’t be a problem with cloth seats as they are certainly more comfortable and durable than leather in my book.

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Rear Power WIndow

    There’s no center armrest with a cubby to speak of; ditto for any USB charging ports, but there is a Sony-branded 6.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system that although lacking any proper smartphone integration feature, pumps out tunes out of the four speakers surprisingly well. If you ever need to hack your way through Waze you can always use a phone mount anyway. 

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Touchscreen head unit

    Space is certainly one of the Suzuki Celerio’s strong suits as it features one of the roomiest interiors in its class. Suzuki knows small cars and has applied this knowledge and know-how quite well. With a high ceiling, thinner doors, and the power window switches getting relocated towards the center console for the front occupants and behind the manual handbrake lever for the rear passenger, all around the room is mighty plentiful. 

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Center Console

    There may be a seatbelt in the middle seat of the 2nd row to lash onto a third passenger, but having no headrest and squeezing in a tight space means seating for five should only be done in a pinch. Four is the sweet spot in my opinion.

    Performance and safety

    Under the hood, the all-new Suzuki Celerio gets an updated power plant over the previous generation. Although still a one-liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine, it now has much-improved technology and mechanicals. Dubbed the Dualjet Engine, it features two fuel injectors per cylinder creating a finer mist of fuel for combustion, giving it a nice boost in efficiency and operation. 

    2022 Suzuki Celerio AGS Knob

    Power figures remain largely similar to the previous model with 67hp and 89Nm of torque on tap. Let’s face it, this will never win any drag strip races, and it shouldn't,  given its purpose of being a first car for first-time car buyers. It might not be at home on the race track, but it finds its natural habitat, squeezing through tight traffic spaces in the metro.

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Lights Flashing

    I mentioned that the Suzuki Celerio will change the way people are driving. The reason behind this is that this mini hatchback is being motivated by what’s called an Automatic Gear Shift system or AGS. The system works like an automated manual transmission, where the mechanical bits under the hood are those of a manual transmission, but is just controlled by a computer, eliminating the need for a clutch pedal.

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Hood

    When the Suzuki S-presso was released, there was a lot of bickering from the fans asking Suzuki to introduce an automatic as it is only available with a manual transmission. This time, the brand doubles down and offers the all-new Celerio with the AGS. The shifter column doesn’t even have a Park selection. It only has  Reverse, Neutral, and Drive as well as an option to row through its own gears. Hitting the accelerator, noise permeates through the cabin as the computer tries to figure out the best gear for the situation. Once the driver hits the redline, something strange happens, power gets cut out for just a split second, and then it shifts up or down. The computer does take its time to shift and this is particularly annoying when driving up the hills of Sierra Madre. 

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Rolling Shot

    The best way to look at the transmission is to treat it like a manual. Step on the pedal and then once you “feel” the car almost begging you to shift, let go of the gas and get back right at it. After a few days behind the wheel, as well as incessant trial and error, I actually started to understand the system. You can't get used to it, simply just use the manual mode to dictate what gear you need the all-new Suzuki Celerio to be at.

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Head On

    Suzuki Philippines promises up to 28.25kpl for the all-new Celerio. During my own testing, I certainly got close to that, or as close as I'll ever be, given my lead foot. City driving netted me 13kpl, with moderate to heavy traffic. Out on the open road, that’s where things got really interesting. At an average speed of about 80-90kph, the digital trip display told me that I was doing a whopping 27kpl. That’s with very minimal thought for fuel saving at all! 

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Fuel Consumption

    Apart from the aforementioned improvements under the hood, as well as the minimal power loss from the transmission, the Suzuki Celerio was able to save fuel thanks in part to the Automated Start Stop function. Once you hit heavy traffic, simply depress your right foot onto the brake pedal and you can feel the three-cylinder engine just go on idle. 


    The all-new Suzuki Celerio isn’t lacking for safety either. There are two airbags, seatbelts, an anti-lock braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution, stability control, and hill start assist. The last two are features that are rare in the segment and make the Suzuki Celerio one of the safer mini-hatchbacks out there. The addition of a rear parking sensor adds more to its safety credentials but I would have appreciated a backup camera.

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Key Fob

    One particular feature that is often overlooked in any car is the chassis and body rigidity. The all-new Suzuki Celerio rises on the brand’s HEARTECT platform, which utilizes harder, lighter steel all around the body to protect it from collisions. The design of the front end also mitigates pedestrian injuries in the event of a collision.

    Price and conclusion

    Pricing for the all-new Suzuki Celerio starts at P708,000 for the GL variant with a five-speed manual transmission. Considering how fidgety and how it might take some time to get used to the AGS transmission, a longtime driver might opt for the manual transmission.

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Hood Straight

    But if buyers are willing to try something new, and experience the convenience of driving an automatic but have the simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and fuel efficiency of a manual, It might be worth a shot, but that will cost P754,000. At that price, it certainly offers quite a premium over its competitors such as the Toyota Wigo, Mitsubishi Mirage, Kia Picanto, and the Honda Brio, but none of them can boast of the amount of standard kit found in the all-new Suzuki Celerio.

    2022 Suzuki Celerio Lights Flashing

    In an age where fuel prices continue to skyrocket, the mini hatchback segment offers a great refuge for car buyers’ bank accounts. We might be at the forefront of Hybrid and EV technology but nothing beats a highly affordable car that you can save some money for just a few months and drive home with one. 

    Photos by Roy Robles

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