Suzuki Reno Review

Suzuki Reno Review

No matter how you slice it, the departed Suzuki Reno was basically a Suzuki Forenza wagon with a slightly more stylish body. It shared that car's basic architecture, engine and transmission. A four-door compact hatchback, the Reno should make for an affordable used car with plenty of interior space and lots of features. Don't expect class-leading performance, however, as the Reno lagged behind the competition in virtually every driving-related category -- even fuel economy.

Most Recent Suzuki Reno

The Suzuki Reno debuted for the 2005 model year. With its emphasis on value, the Reno's long list of standard features took center stage. Many modern compact cars come standard with power door locks and windows, a tilt wheel and other convenience features, but the Reno went a little further by offering such features as a micron air-filtration system for the cabin, a CD stereo with MP3 capability and a height- and lumbar-adjustable driver seat -- all without requiring the buyer to check a single box on the options list.

Clearly the Suzuki Reno has excellent value as a used car. Still, "excellent value" doesn't exactly mean comfort or power. While the EX trim level was loaded and included features like leather seats, remote keyless entry and cruise control, the Reno in any trim offered barely adequate performance. This was particularly true in the acceleration department, with subpar fuel economy adding insult to injury. Handling was also less than spectacular, as Suzuki endowed the Reno with a soft, smooth ride at the expense of cornering ability. However, this is a trade-off that the average consumer will likely appreciate.

Because the 127-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has to work so hard to keep up, a good deal of engine noise makes its way into the cabin. Competitors like the Mazda 3 are more refined and quicker by comparison.

The Reno's interior came up short as well when compared to other domestic and import-branded small cars. The materials were of low quality and many panels simply didn't fit correctly. We suggest that shoppers looking for an inexpensive used hatchback skip the Reno and check out more viable choices.

Changes were minimal during the Suzuki Reno's run. Model year 2006 brought the addition of a standard tilt steering wheel and new seat fabrics, while '07 saw the inclusion of a standard tire pressure monitoring system for all trim levels. Unfortunately for audiophiles, the formerly standard eight-speaker stereo was dropped altogether for '08, leaving a meager four-speaker unit in its stead.