The subcompact hatchback segment has been one of the most popular, if not competitive, market segments in the local automotive industry. These small yet capable cars have drawn the attention of many Filipinos with staples, like the Wigo and the Eon, being both easy to drive and easy to own. They can haul a reasonable amount of cargo while offering a fuel efficient ride that’s perfect for the tight streets of the metro.
Today, we’ll be pitting two competitors against each other to see which among them is the hotter hatch. On one side we have the Kia Picanto, a strong contender from the South Korean car company and the Suzuki Celerio, a segment challenger from the Japanese multinational corporation. That said, we’ll break down their key differences to help hopeful Celerio and Picanto owners decide which of the two current-generation 5-door hatch is the best.
The Kia Picanto looks to appeal to younger drivers. Its exterior is outfitted with modern-looking features like large projection headlamps, bold fog lamps, a decent-looking radiator grille, 14-inch alloy wheels, and a spoiler-integrated high-mount stop lamp. The design language of the Kia Picanto’s exterior is bold and aggressive with plenty of sharp lines and a few curves, befitting its target market.
On the other hand, the Suzuki Celerio looks more conservative and composed — the embodiment of a tito car. The front fascia is designed to improve not only the Celerio’s appeal but also its aerodynamics. It does have the same set of lights front and back, but they are not as striking as the Picanto. Nonetheless, it gives the Suzuki Celerio distinct character lines and a stylish silhouette boasting dynamic styling that aims to transcend the concept of a small car.
The cabin of both subcompact hatchbacks are a reflection of their exterior. That said, you can expect the Kia Picanto to have updated interiors. Younger generations can feel easily at home with its up-to-date amenities that are focused on the front passengers including a 2.6-inch segmented cluster mono LCD, a 7-inch touchscreen audio with Bluetooth, Carplay, and Android Auto, AUX and USB ports, front cup holders for two overpriced coffee, a glove box, and a steering wheel with tilt adjustment among others. At the back are 60:40 folding rear seats for when you need to load groceries and a week’s worth of laundry.
Conversely, the Suzuki Celerio’s cabin looks plain and practical. Its focus is not on aesthetic but to improve daily driving performance. On that note, you get a combination of a digital and an analog gauge that comes with a tachometer, there’s also a seven-inch touchscreen multimedia panel and a head unit that can play AM/FM/CD/MP3/AUX formats — a true time machine. There’s a single climate control that can be operated using analog dials. It offers the same 60:40 folding seats at the back like the aforementioned Picanto.
The Suzuki Celerio offers a 254 liter luggage capacity while the Kia Picanto wins by a hair at 255 liters.
With two engine options, the Kia Picanto offers more variety to its potential customers. The LX variants are powered by a 1.0L inline three-cylinder petrol engine with multi point injection fuel distribution system that can be mated to a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. The 1.0L engine puts out 66hp and 95Nm of torque. Its EX variants come with a 1.2L inline four-cylinder petrol engine with multi point injection system, also can be married to a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. In terms of power, the 1.2L engine can produce 83hp and 122Nm or torque.
Suzuki’s Celerio makes choosing between drivetrains easy. Both the automatic and stick models run on the brand’s K10B engine, a 1.0L three-cylinder 12-valve DOHC petrol engine with multi point injection fuel distribution system. This gives both models 67hp and 90Nm of torque. The same engine can be found on another of Suzuki’s compact vehicles, the S-Presso.
The Kia Picanto LX variant is outfitted with two three-point seat belts with pretensioner in the front plus two three-point seat belts at the back, an airbag for the driver, and rear doors with child lock safety features. More can be had from the EX models including an added airbag for the front passenger, ABS, an immobilizer, and an upper and lower child anchor at the rear. In addition, the Kia Picanto boasts of the brand’s advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) and hot-stamped steel technology giving the Picanto phenomenal rigidity, improved average body tensile strength, enhanced cabin protection and improved dynamic performance.
Suzuki’s Celerio tells a different tale as it makes a full-suite of safety features standard for both manual and automatic models. Included are four 3-point Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) seatbelts with a center lap belt on the rear seats, childproof rear door locks, side impact beams, ABS, remote controlled door locks, an immobilizer, dual airbag systems, and a reverse sensor. Suzuki’s answer to Kia’s AHSS is its very own Suzuki Total Effective Control Technology (TECT). In the same way, this gives the Celerio high-rigidity, low-weight body that improves collision safety.
Pricing and Variants
Kia Picanto 1.0 LX MT - PHP590,000
Kia Picanto 1.0 LX AT - PHP635,000
Kia Picanto 1.2 EX MT - PHP700,000
Kia Picanto 1.2 EX AT - PHP745,000
Although lacking in terms of style and aesthetics, the Suzuki Celerio makes for a great option for prospective car owners who value safety over style — a true value for money vehicle. Nevertheless, those bold and confident enough with their skills can revel in the Kia Picanto’s updated design language. That said, depending on your preference, both subcompact hatches make for a good choice.
Photos from Kia and Suzuki