Suzuki Forenza

Suzuki Forenza Wagon
Based in Japan, the Suzuki Company began by manufacturing small inexpensive motorcycles to the U.S. in 1963 before transitioning to compact fuel-efficient cars reasonably priced since 1985. In 2004 the Suzuki Company launched the Forenza, an economic alternative to the popular Civic and Corolla. Available in both sedan and wagon body styles, the compact car featured a roomy interior, inexpensive pricetag and a variety of standard features. The design was European-inspired and proved to be a popular choice at its launch, especially with a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

The sedan was offered first, with the wagon body style following soon after in 2005. Korean automaker Daewoo built the vehicle and it was rebadged as the Forenza for the American market. The four-door sedan or wagon was offered in a single trim level with a variety of available packages. Base equipment included AC, front seat side airbags, four-wheel disc brakes, lumbar seats full power accessories and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with steering-wheel controls. Other standard equipment included daytime running lights, child safety locks, driver and passenger-side airbags, rear window defogger and intermittent wipers.

Powering the compact sedan was a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 127 hp and 131 lb/ft of torque. Though the engine was tolerable when joined to the manual transmission, its performance was sorely lacking with the four-speed automatic. Unfortunately the engine wasn't refined or fuel-efficient either.

The interior of the Forenza featured lots of stylish metallic accents, plenty of rear legroom and a 60/40 split-folding seatback. With the sedan there was an available 12 cubic feet of trunk capacity, and a roomy 62 cubic feet of space in the wagon when the rear seat was folded.

Side impact airbags became standard in 2005. The following year the Forenza underwent a facelift that included a new front fascia, new wheels, newly redesigned seats and updated trim levels in S, LX and EX. All of the trim levels come with a standard 126 hp 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder with either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic, depending on the model.

For 2006 the Forenza was offered in three different trim levels, Base, Convenience and Popular. For 2008 Bluetooth became available.

Though the well-equipped Forenza seemed like a great bargain, critics have found fault with its less than stellar performance, poor handling and lack of fuel efficiency. Suzuki ended Forenza production in 2008.


By Jessica Donaldson