The reasons we conduct performance tests were thrown into sharp focus recently by the travails of the Suzuki Celerio, whose brake pedal, and any accompanying deceleration, failed catastrophically under the foot of one of our testers. Twice.
It’s barely comprehensible, is it? Cars cover hundreds of thousands of test miles during their development at a cost of hundreds of millions of pounds.
Even our limited tests have our publishers fingering their collars, because we spend close to six figures on them every year. Car makers spend years and nigh on 10 figures developing every new model.
And yet here we are. Through the Autocar and What Car? tests, you and Suzuki know about the failings of the Celerio. Its fault, whether ingrained in development or the result of deviation from the design spec, will be outed soon enough.
It’s rare that magazine performance tests reveal such significant problems. The last notable mechanical failure we had was with a Morgan 3 Wheeler, which received upgraded suspension components after its wishbones failed in our hands on a test track.
Usually, common defects slowly emerge only after myriad accident reports appear and are correlated, like the one affecting airbags supplied by Takata. Some of its bags have inflated with such force that the inflator bursts, too, deploying high-velocity shards of metal as well as the airbag towards the car’s occupants.
The problem stretches back more than a decade, but the first recall – then affecting only six car makers, all in the US – wasn’t raised until 2013. Two years on, more than two dozen manufacturers are affected and more than 24 million cars worldwide have been recalled.