Thanks to the Auto Policy 2016-21 Pakistan is finally witnessing rapid and positive activities in the automobile sector. The policy not only attracted new entrants but pushed the existing players to improve their game.
Pak Suzuki Motor Company, Pakistan’s largest car manufacturer with over 50% market share finally decided to upgrade their vehicle lineup. After the launch of Vitara SUV and the Ciaz sedan the company is all set to launch the 1.0 liter Celerio hatchback replacing the Cultus which was on sale for more than 17 years.
Instead of taking a risk by launching an altogether new vehicle with an entirely new name for our market, the company has decided to call the Celerio as New Cultus thus wanting to carry on with the predecessor’s success.
The Celerio was introduced in international markets back in 2014 and is among the very few cars to be launched by Pak Suzuki which is currently available for sale in the rest of the world. Majority of the vehicles launched by Pak Suzuki including Mehran, Baleno, Swift, Liana and Kizashi were already retired globally at the time of their introduction in Pakistan.
The Celerio has a wheelbase of 2,425 mm and measures 3,600 mm length, 1,600 mm in width and 1540 mm in height. For the sake of comparison, the ground clearance is lower than a Corolla. The 11th generation Corolla has a ground clearance of approx 174mm while the international Celerio has that of 150mm. The overall design of the car is modern yet impressive.
Celerio offers a very spacious cabin complemented by an intelligent design that puts everything within easy reach. The Celerio provides ample leg room and knee room for the rear seat passengers, but it is the width that is the main issue. You can seat 2 adults in the back row, there are fixed seat headrests in the local version while the interior comes in a grey tone unlike the back/ beige combination found in Celerio across the border.
The Celerio boasts an impressive boot space of 254 liters which is actually more than the space available in the Swift or most other hatchbacks in its class. The rear seat can also be folded which doubles the luggage space.
The Engine and Transmission
Equipped with a 998cc DOHC 12-Valve K10B engine, producing 67bhp and 90Nm torque, the Celerio boasts a claimed fuel economy of 23 liters in a kilometer.
In international markets the Celerio is available with a choice of 5-speed manual, a CVT and a 5-speed semi automatic transmission called EZ Drive, which comes without a clutch pedal & is basically a manual transmission with a transmission control unit (TCU) that actuates the hydraulics to shift the gears.
In Pakistan however, Pak Suzuki won’t be offering the EZ Drive version according to the information received so far. The company wants the government to allow similar incentives like the new entrants, only then it will consider launching other Celerio variants in the country.
There will be two trims offered with the New Cultus, the VXR and the VXL. The VXR variant will have manual windows, comes without chrome radiator grill & fog lamps, has black colored door handles & side mirrors while there is no ABS.
The VXL will be equipped with an immobilizer, remote controlled central locking, fog lamps, power windows, power side mirrors, Airbags and ABS. The VXL will also be the equipped with chrome radiator grill, fog lamps, body colored door handles & side mirrors as well as body colored mud-flaps.
Pak Suzuki was already selling the 17 year old Cultus CNG for PKR 11.99 lac while it has recently discontinued the base DX trim of 1.3L Swift hatchback which does suggest that the company is making space to price the New Cultus around PKR 12.5 lac.
Pak Suzuki is planning to launch the New Cultus on the 22nd of April 2017.
What we expect..
The Celerio is quite a successful car in overseas markets. It’s primarily loved for its impressive fuel consumption, ample luggage space and decent performance. Overall the car has better looks compared to the awful looking Wagon-R so it has high chances of getting instantly successful in our market.
It will be the first locally assembled Pak Suzuki to come equipped with Airbags, and with a package consisting of ABS and Immobilizer, the New Cultus seems like a good value for money. However we do expect Pak Suzuki to offer us a vehicle that has a better built quality and comes with least quality control issues.