The thrifty new Suzuki Celerio GLX 5-door hatchback is emerging as the latest fuel economy champion.
In a recent independent fuel economy test over roads north of Auckland, a manual 5-speed transmission Celerio proved a real slow sipper when it came to fuel consumption.
The near-new Celerio averaged 3.4 litres/100 kilometres, a remarkable 83.1 miles per gallon, over more than 100 kilometres of running on a variety of quiet rural roads and urban highways.
Auckland motoring journalist Donn Anderson, who was involved in record-breaking long distance economy drives in Britain and New Zealand, said the Celerio's performance and frugal economy bettered expectations.
My target was 3.7 litres/100 km (76.3 miles per gallon) which is the official factory extra-urban or open road fuel test for the Celerio, he said. It was nothing if not impressive to achieve a result that is 8.8 per cent better than the extra-urban test.
Excluding much more expensive petrol/electric hybrids, this makes the Celerio arguably the most economical petrol car sold in New Zealand, with fuel consumption lower than many diesel cars, said Anderson.
Where possible in the local test, the Celerio was travelling at between 70 km/h and 90 km/h on the open road and the result was a 15 per cent improvement over the best result recorded by the model's predecessor, the Suzuki Alto. The test was conducted at realistic speeds and was no slow-coach crawl.
Suzuki's solid reputation as a top small car manufacturer has been consolidated by the arrival of the Celerio. Although larger all round than the Alto, the more comprehensively equipped newer model is lighter and boasts higher efficiency levels.
What was also highlighted during the test was the increased refinement, with impressively low noise levels and enhanced comfort,â€ said Anderson.
The lightweight four valves per cylinder engine is remarkably quiet and flexible, yet provides spritely performance. Despite its modest one litre capacity, the 3-cylinder engine is more than up to the task of providing responsive acceleration and an ability to offer quiet open road cruising.
This latest mini-car is clearly an excellent town and city car as well and the low running costs will be extra appealing to motorists,â€ said Anderson. He said that while current lower oil prices meant welcome cheaper fuel pump costs, it was inevitable the cost of oil would again be on the rise.
In official combined fuel consumption tests in urban and open road conditions, the Celerio manual model returns 4.7 litres/100 km (60.1 miles per gallon), while the CVT (continuously variable transmission) automatic version is only slightly less economical at 4.8 litres/100 km (58.8 miles per gallon).
The new Celerio went on sale in New Zealand in early March, with prices starting from $15,990 plus on road costs.