Page 1: Intro
Buy our car and we’ll mow your lawn forever!
As if. Point is, many mid-to-small automaker has a secret, a fickle combination that works sometimes and doesn’t work at other times.
Suzuki is betting that value will work every time.
The 2005 Suzuki Reno – and 2005 Forenza Wagon – is a value-based example. Not price, mind you, but value in the features it offers and the quality of its build. Price alone makes cars look cheap, and no one wants to buy a cheap car. Value is good, especially when the value is in equipment and protected by a great warranty. Judging from the 25 percent or so up-tick in sales that Suzuki has enjoyed of late, it seems that value is turning into a smart wager.
But now for the hard part: to keep it going, and to transform the idea of Suzuki, carmaker, through new cars built to compete with the likes of Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai. It’s happening, thanks to an assist from the bankrupt Daewoo – who originally designed the Reno and Forenza – and the GM Daewoo Automotive Technologies plant, where the cars will be assembled. So far, so good: with more cars scheduled to come to these shores, and based on the success of the Forenza compact car, Suzuki is indeed in the process of giving their car company a name based on value and design, and it starts with the Reno and the Forenza.
Not with pez bits and low-down dirty deals.
Page 2: Style
Page 3: Power
Page 4: Suspension
Page 5: Equipment
Page 6: Interior
While the quality of the materials is acceptable, the Reno does border on mediocre in a few important areas, namely the seats. They offer less support and structure than is ideal. Front seats seem flimsy from the back toward the front occupants’ backs. Plastics, though, are nicely executed – though more soft touch surfaces would be nice around the driver area. Suzuki’s efforts to reduce noise, vibration and harshness are notable, as the cabin was quiet enough to carry on conversations front and back, as well as listen the radio. With an engine working as hard as that little four-banger inside the Reno works, the calm and quiet inside the cabin is commendable.
The hope, of course, is that all vehicles on the road would use the best possible interior materials, and create an environment that is rich in comfort, strong in support, built to last and ergonomically precise. That’s just not realistic. Automakers use a sliding scale of material quality to improve profit margins and increase vehicle content in other areas. Most strive hard to provide the best possible experience within the budgetary constraint they live under, and Suzuki is no exception. Within the context of a long list of standard equipment, Suzuki thinks that their interiors provide a nice and comfortable experience. They’re right, mostly, though improvements such as better seats would help look, feel and value over the long haul.
Page 7: Warranty
Page 8: Wrap
Despite poor power and fuel mileage ratings, the Reno offers young buyers a good value. A great standard equipment list, strong warranty and good looks – all for a low price – makes the Reno a serious part of the compact conversation. Balance that against less-than great gas mileage and a powder puff power plant, and young shoppers looking for a new car would do well to seriously consider the Reno. It’s a perfect complement to what is perhaps the best vehicle Suzuki currently offers – the Forenza compact. Add to it the emerging involvement of SWT – Suzuki Works Techno –and the Reno has the look, price, warranty and content that both parents and kids will want – without the free pez dispenser, or a gardener for Dad.
Page 9: FAQs
Suzuki Works Techno, which is coming to the US in an effort to make Suzuki more attractive to a younger audience. SWT will start with appearance packages and may one day move into performance enhancements. The hope is that Suzuki will do something with SWT in time for next year’s SEMA show.
What did you like best about the Reno?
I liked the combination of price, looks, equipment and warranty. It’s hard to beat a car that offers a combination like that.
What did you like least about the Reno?
Not enough power, and rear window view is a little compromised. Also, seats could be of better quality.
Page 10: Notes
Standard Engine: 2.0L I4
Standard Transmission: 5 Speed Manual
Horsepower @ RPM: 126@5600
Torque @ RPM: 131@4000
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy: 22 / 30
Curb Weight Manual Transmission: 2739
Curb Weight Automatic Transmission: 2783
Photos courtesy of Suzuki