The fun little city car

Suzuki Celerio AGS


It was about time Suzuki overhauled the old Celerio with the latest model. It was getting long in the tooth and desperately needed modern powertrain features and a fresh exterior redesign.

Enter this Speedy Blue Metallic test unit that I had for five days. It is the Celerio AGS (Auto Gear Shift), one of two variants Suzuki offers locally. The other is a five-speed manual.


The exterior of the third-generation model is a lot shapelier. It looks more muscular because of the rounded finish of the hood, fenders, and roof. The front fascia has a small, smiley-looking grille because of the chrome strip that runs across it towards the halogen multi-reflector headlamps. The black 15-inch wheels are a nice touch and complement the body color very nicely. The rear brings up a small tailgate and large taillights.

I wish for slimmer lighting elements, maybe even LEDs and daytime running lamps, but having front fog lamps and position lamps helps a bit. The body looks like it took a page of the S-Presso, minus the ride height, so it appears much bigger than it is and definitely a lot larger than how it looks in the pictures.

As a P754,000-unit, it does not have a smart key, only a keyless entry system. Oddly enough, one click unlocks just the driver’s door. A double click is needed to unlock all four doors. It also has a key-in ignition system, and without a Park gear, the driver must have his/her foot on the brake to crank the engine.


The cabin has fabric upholstery, and the front seat has a built-in, non-adjustable headrest. Fortunately, it is measured to fit Asian sizes, so I received ample support. The bolstering was not up to my liking, but since the seat fit was small, it didn’t feel too big.


There are no soft-touch surfaces on the dashboard, but it has silver accents around the aircon vents and the 6.2-inch infotainment system. There are four speakers in total and a head unit-mounted USB port. The instrument panel has one big speedometer and a smaller digital dial on the right that features the tachometer, the fuel gauge, and the odometer. Aircon controls are the manual, rotary type.


The leg room is fine in front, limited in the second row, but headroom is substantial, so taller drivers will be ok. It still does not have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but Bluetooth is already standard. Weirdly, the location of the lock/unlock button is in the center stack with the front power window controls. The rear power window switches are at the end of the center console (near the second-row passengers).

A 1.0-liter engine with an idle start/stop system, dual-jet injection system and dual variable valve timing produces 67-horsepower and 89-Nm of torque. It sends power to the front wheels using Suzuki’s AGS transmission. Acceleration is brisk in the city. It feels very responsive even if the AGS cuts power to the wheels when it upshifts (or downshifts). It is not an automatic gearbox and must not be treated as such to get the touted fuel consumption numbers and a smooth ride.


The AGS a manual transmission that uses a computer and solenoids to shift. No, it doesn’t have a clutch pedal. Its proper operation requires the driver to lift off the accelerator at the right shift point because drive to the wheels will momentarily stop while the transmission is shifting.

It is on the highway and during overtaking that the meager engine output is palpable. I had to floor it during high-speed overtaking maneuvers, which made the engine revs highly audible in the cabin.

Handling is floaty at best, and body roll is unusually high for a subcompact vehicle, but I like how nimble it is and smoothly makes a U-turn even in narrow city streets.

The suspension is tuned for city driving, so it handles humps and potholes very well. Noise, vibration, and harshness levels are high and must come down using sound-deadening panels in a future update.

Crossover SUVs may be all the rage now, but there is always room for small, affordable compact city cars, and the Suzuki Celerio AGS is a perfect fit in this segment. It is easy to drive, fun to take around, and best of all, returned 17.3 km/l in mixed driving conditions.