In India, a small car is always big news. And bigger if it comes from Maruti Suzuki. From the Maruti 800 to the Zen and from the Alto to the Swift, Maruti has barely failed with its small wonders. But it had two cars that didn’t quite set the markets on fire—the Zen Estilo and the A-Star. What to do? Make a car that has all the goodies of the two, introduce a path-breaking technology into the product, give it a cute name, price it correctly and launch it at the biggest automotive event in the country. That’s the Celerio for you.
The Celerio gets a bold and curvy design which the company calls CICO (curve in, curve out) styling. The car looks really ‘happy’ from the front—the new wide smiley grille flanked by swept back headlamps looks fresh. The stylised front bumper with a large air dam and character lines on the bonnet are contemporary. Yet it remains an out-and-out Maruti and this is apparent from various angles, especially the rear which strongly resembles the Alto 800. The Celerio may not be called stylish in the true sense of the word, but functional it definitely is. Let’s see how.
Step inside and you will realise how much has Maruti worked to make the driver and the passengers feel good. This car, no doubt, has the best cabin quality among all Maruti small cars—yes, the plastic quality seems even better than what you get in the class-higher Swift. Then, there is generous space all around. The Celerio is 3,600 mm long, 1,600 mm wide and 1,560 mm high. But what really works for the car is its wheel base of 2,425 mm, which ensures ample legroom for the rear passengers. In fact, as we found our during our test drive in Jodhpur, even three tall people can fit in the rear seats with some amount of adjustment. The headroom, too, at the rear is good. The boot space is a decent 235 litres.
The driving position is good. The seat height is just right, the vision all around is clear and the A-pillar doesn’t obstruct your view much. The design fabric chosen by Maruti is fresh and the dual-tone dashboard looks good. All the buttons are easy to reach and the steering wheel is nice to hold. The EZ Drive model’s gear-lever is