A recent addition to the Suzuki lineup, the Reno is a subcompact hatchback. This type of vehicle, which typically promises high fuel economy, affordability and value, has enjoyed a recent resurgence as more automakers have come out with new models to take advantage of higher fuel prices and changing consumer tastes. In most regards, the 2007 Suzuki Reno is an OK vehicle to drive and own, but newer competitors have certainly upstaged it in the areas of handling and refinement.
Under the hood of the Reno rests a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 127 horsepower. Power is certainly adequate with the manual transmission, but the car feels underpowered with the available automatic. Ironically, fuel economy is not a strong point of this engine either -- the Reno posts mileage numbers that are among the lowest of cars in its price range. Ride and handling dynamics are another weak spot, as the Reno exhibits sloppy reflexes and a less composed ride than some competitors. Wind noise can be a bit excessive at times when cruising on the highway, too.
On paper, the 2007 Suzuki Reno hatchback appears to be a decent value -- and it might arguably be for some entry-level shoppers. Its interior is spacious and it has a lot of standard features. But overall there are too many faults. We suggest shoppers looking for an inexpensive hatchback skip the Reno and check out vehicles like the Honda Fit, Kia Rio5 or Nissan Versa.
The well-equipped 2007 Suzuki Reno four-door hatchback is available in one trim level with a few major options. Standard Reno features include a tire-pressure monitoring system, four-wheel independent/coil spring suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, heated side mirrors, air-conditioning with cabin air filtration, tilt steering wheel, powered accessories and an eight-speaker CD/MP3 audio system. ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution is offered as an option, as is a Convenience Package that adds an automatic transmission, remote keyless entry, steering-wheel audio controls, leather-wrapped wheel and shift lever, cruise control and security alarm. Even with the uptown Convenience group, Suzuki's suggested retail price for a loaded Reno is still under $15,000.
In an effort to spice things up a bit inside, Reno designers installed an attractive set of gauges surrounded by metallic accents which extend to the rest of the dash and console areas. Unfortunately, there's still too much cheap gray plastic everywhere else. Those with lots of stuff will enjoy a multitude of storage compartments, and drivers looking to get more comfortable will appreciate the Reno's highly adjustable driver seat. In back, passengers are treated to competitive leg- and shoulder room, along with a fold-down center armrest to rest their elbows. Cargo capacity is less than 9 cubic feet with the rear seat up, but opens up to a much more accommodating 45 cubic feet with the seat folded.
The Reno comes with a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder generating 127 hp and 131 pound-feet of torque. When hooked up to the standard five-speed manual transmission, it performs decently; a smooth but leisurely shifting four-speed automatic is optional, but is destined for little praise except among the hardcore commuting community. For them, unfortunately, fuel economy is below average for the compact segment -- depending on transmission, the EPA-estimated ratings are just 22-23 mpg/city and 30-31 mpg/highway.
When it's equipped with the manual gearbox, our editors find the Reno has little difficulty merging or keeping up in traffic. However, when this little Suzuki is saddled with the available automatic transmission, acceleration weakens considerably and most maneuvers take some planning. And compared with other budget-priced hatchbacks, the 2007 Suzuki Reno also comes up lacking in ride quality -- while striving for comfort, its soft suspension allows too much movement over bumps and ruts. Handling around corners is loose and unsure too, as the hardware allows excessive body roll while cheap rubber exerts minimal grip. One bright spot are its four-wheel disc brakes, which provide short stopping distances despite a slightly spongy pedal. Overall, however, we find the Suzuki Reno to be a compromised role player struggling a bit too much to keep up with more evolved, well-rounded competitors.
Front side-impact airbags, four-wheel disc brakes and a tire-pressure monitor are standard. Antilock brakes are optional. Rear-seat passengers get a complete set of head restraints and three-point belts. In independent IIHS crash testing, the 2007 Suzuki Reno fared well, with an "Acceptable" (second-highest) rating for frontal-offset crash protection.
The only change this year is the addition of a tire-pressure monitor.