- Jul 2015

Feature Friday: Suzuki Celerio vs Volkswagen UP!

Battle of the babies

When I was a very young boy I remember my mother purchasing her first car, a white Fiat Uno. She went for the slightly fancier version called the “Tempo” and she had it specified with colour coded bumpers and mag wheels. We loved that car because it was so simple and small. I spent many years sleeping in the back seat of that car on our way back from school. Whenever I see one of those cars on the road now, I laugh because in my mind it felt like such a spacious car at the time and it was for a six year old. Cars like those were literally four wheels, some seats and a steering wheel. The biggest safety feature you had in a car like that, were your prayers to God. What could you expect for around R35 000 for a new car? That was more or less what my mother paid for hers.

Gone are the days of spending very little on a brand new car. With inflation being what it is, eighteen years make for a very big price hike for entry level cars. For R100 000, your options are limited, if you have a bit more saved up we might be able to assist you. I’ve spent the past week reviewing two small cars, the Volkswagen UP! and the Suzuki Celerio manual. Both cars are competitively priced, both cars offer similar features yet both cars are very different. Let’s start by discussing the target market these cars are aimed at.

Cars like these are aimed at the young and up coming. Perhaps they’ve just graduated from university or they’ve just started a new job, whatever the case, these are start-up cars for many. Let’s narrow that market more by talking about the words many people use to describe both these cars. “Cute”, “Sweet”, “noo-noo” and “Aww” are a few words I was told these cars represent when asking my peers. That being said, its safe to say that many men, especially young men won’t want to drive something labelled as “cute”. If you give a pimple faced man-child  R140 000 to spend, he will most likely find some used turbocharged car that’s seen better days, it’s silly but true.   DSC_0031

Therefore at the risk of sounding sexist, I will say the Volkswagen UP! and the Suzuki Celerio are cars that young females would be drawn to. As a result, there are aspects about both cars that may or may not affect your decision making.

Firstly: Is it practical? The Volkswagen UP! loses this round as it only has two doors. You may think two doors are fine but wait until its Friday night and you have to go out with your friends, then it’s not fine. The Celerio wins this round since it has four doors and can snugly seat three people in the back. The Celerio is also a higher car so you have more headroom to bob your head to your tunes.

Secondly: Is it safe? Both cars have air-bags and ABS braking systems but the Volkswagen UP! has curtain air-bags additional so based on that, we will give the point to the Volkswagen UP!

Thirdly: Is it economical? Both cars use 1.0l three cylinder engines and the power difference between the two is 5kW so its not a lot. Both cars have the same size fuel tank and having driven both I can say both cars are excellent on fuel so for economy, it’s a draw.

Fourth: Is it affordable? The Suzkuki Celerio I drove was the higher specification GL model which comes in at R126 900. It comes with many features as standard such as full electric windows, radio with bluetooth, central locking and power steering. The Volkswagen UP! I drove was the Move UP! which is also the one with higher specifications and has all the same features as standard. The difference is that for the UP! you will spend R144 700. So this round goes to the Suzuki again.

At this point, the Suzuki Celerio has got the upper hand, with practicality and price. The Volkswagen UP! has got the added air-bags as its only advantage now. It’s not over yet though, there is still a very important factor to consider, the looks or “Aww” factor as some may call it.

Fifth: Is it “Aww?” The Suzuki Celerio is not a bad looking car, it looks average in my opinion. There is nothing about it that stands out from an aesthetic point of view. The Volkswagen is the winner of the “Aww” factor, it is the better looking car. It has a unique modern shape that sets it apart from its competitors.

So it looks like we have a tie on our hands. The Volkswagen UP! takes safety and looks whilst the Suzuki Celerio takes the price and the practicality. The truth is, whatever car you buy you won’t be making a mistake because both are fantastic little cars that were both fun and entertaining to drive. Kids growing up in this generation and falling asleep in the back of either one of these cars are spoilt, they don’t know how good they’ve got it.