After 17 years of production, Pak Suzuki replaced the MK-II Cultus hatchback earlier this year with the 1.0 liter Celerio rebadged as Cultus. Here is our take on the new Cultus after examining its premium VXL variant.
Internationally the Celerio hatchback was introduced to represent Suzuki in the 1.0 liter segment, because recent generations of Alto carry a 660cc engine and Suzuki needed a 1.0 liter hatchback to compete in global markets.
In Pakistan however the Celerio replaced the Cultus hatchback, the true replacement of the latter is already sold by Pak Suzuki with a 1300cc engine called as the Swift. The Celerio was rebadged as Cultus since Pak Suzuki wanted to cash in the already popular nameplate in the country, instead of introducing a totally unfamiliar name.
The new Cultus is available in two trims, the VXR and VXL. The Cultus VXR costs PKR 12.5 lac while the VXL version which cost PKR 13.91 lac comes equipped with features including Driver/ Passenger Airbags, ABS, Alloy Rims and other distinguishing features including chrome-finished grille, body colored door handles and side mirrors, fog lamps, power outside mirrors, 60:40 rear split seats and rear luggage shelf.
The Celerio has a compact yet modern design. Dimensionally it’s smaller but slightly wider and significantly taller than its predecessor measuring 141.7 inch in length, 63 inch in width and 60.6 inch in height. The old Cultus it replaced was 151.4 inch in length, 62 inch in width and 54 inch in height. It also has an ample ground clearance of 165mm.
The front design is part of Suzuki’s new design language with a curved two stat grille connecting the large crystal headlamps. The VXL version comes equipped with fog lamps placed within the front bumpers. At the back there is an embedded rear spoiler with integrated brake lamp. The red colored VXL emblem looked really nice on the blue car.
The VXL trim is also equipped with alloy rims paired with Euro Tycoon 165/65 R14 tires. Surprisingly there were no visible flaws in the fit & finish of the vehicle as it was nicely put together, something you don’t normally expect from a 1000cc Pak Suzuki hatchback.
The most unusual thing is the ‘tikli’, which is considered vital to value or devalue your car in used car market, is present inside the front passenger door. Normally it is located anywhere inside the engine bay but in case of new Cultus, the location is quite unusual.
Although design-wise the interior is nice & functional but it doesn’t look that appealing probably because of the fact that it’s all too dull and grey. In other markets the Celerio comes in a variety of interior colors & combinations including, beige, black/grey and black/ beige etc. Also lighter colors tend to make the interior look spacious.
There were no controls on the steering wheel either as found in international top of the line variants. However on a positive note the Cultus VXL comes equipped with Driver & Passenger Airbags.
The quality of materials used inside leaves a lot to be desired, especially the plastic latch that’s used to open the hood. It was so feeble that it almost felt as if would come out of its place, not to mention you need to pull the opener with a lot of force instead of just slightly pulling it back.
The door trims uses a very basic plastic that already had plenty of scratch marks developed on them. The front doors have a fabric upholstery section while the rear doors misses.
The seat cushion felt nice and comfy, there is good leg and head room for both front and rear passengers. Front seats come with a fixed headrest, while seat belts are there for rear passengers as well. But it is the width that seems insufficient, the rear seats could accommodate 2 adults with ease, but the third one might not have a good time especially on longer routes.
Also the quality of fabric looked questionable, as removing the plastic from the driver’s seat revealed a very substandard fabric adorning the driving seat, which as I personally believe won’t last long.
The boot space is generous 254 liters which is actually more than the space available in the Swift so it’s quite practical too. The rear seat can also be folded (VXL only) which doubles the luggage space.
Inside the engine bay you will find the 1.0 liter K10B engine that produces 67bhp and 90Nm torque. The international Celerio has a claimed fuel economy of 20.3 km in a liter however in real world scenario the local Cultus yields around 16-17 kms in a liter depending on the driving style and traffic conditions.
The only available transmission with the new Cultus is 5-speed manual, however internationally the Celerio also comes equipped with an AMT (Automated Manual Transmission). Without a clutch pedal, it is basically a manual transmission with a transmission control unit that actuates the hydraulics to shift the gears and the driver can drive in manual or automatic mode whichever desired.
The absence of automatic transmission from the new Cultus range is a huge drawback as automatic transmission is considered as a blessing in today’s congested in-city traffic conditions.
With not many options available in the market the Cultus seems to be doing fine. Still many people believe it’s better to go for an imported [used] Japanese car in this price, as any JDM will outshine the Pak Suzuki Cultus in terms of built quality, specs and features but the key advantage of having a local assembled Cultus is its fuel efficient engine and after sales support.
Overall the Cultus looks nice, it is a modern and practical hatchback and offers a lot in terms of specs than a 1300cc Swift sold by Pak Suzuki. But it always looks like a better replacement of Alto every time you see and experience it. And the price tag that touches PKR 14 lac, doesn’t really justify the car of this size. Particularly when you know that the better equipped international Celerio (with multi-function steering wheel, rear windshield wipers, automatic transmission etc) comes at a much lower price tag.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com