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Wallet Watchers: Suzuki Reno a fun, affordable compact
Friday, November 12, 2004
By Don Hammonds, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


If you think that small car and good looking are mutually exclusive terms, you might want to check out Suzuki's new Reno, a compact front-wheel-drive hatchback sedan that is turning heads everywhere.

Powered by a 126- horsepower, 2.0- liter four-cylinder engine that is rated at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 on the highway, the Reno offers European styling by the well-known Italdesign studio. Its proportions are just right for its size, and looks a bit like a three-quarters scale version of Infiniti's FX crossover wagons -- not a bad way to look at all.

Standard equipment is extensive, including power steering, brakes and windows, side air bags, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls for a CD player with MP3 capability, tilt wheel and heated power side windows. If you spring for the LX, you'll also get a power sunroof, leather steering wheel, cruise control, aluminum alloy wheels, front fog lamps and a spoiler. Go to the top-of-the-line EX and you'll also get an automatic with leather interior.


Suzuki Reno (top) and interior (bottom).
Click photo for larger image.

The good news is that this all comes at a reasonable price. The EX, for example, costs $17,994 including delivery fees. That makes it our Wallet Watcher for this week.

It would be one thing if you got a mediocre car for your money, but that is not the case here. Though some auto journalists consider this car to be somewhat underpowered, I sure didn't notice. It is peppy on the road and it seems to want to be thrown into corners. The steering is quick and pretty precise.

Inside, I was surprised at the lavishness. The seats are comfortable, and you even get an armrest. There's brushed aluminum trim generously spread throughout, and the leather steering wheel is about the right size for enthusiastic driving. The back seats fold down, which adds greatly to the usability of the Reno.

Problems? There were a few. The biggest is undeniably the shifter and gate with the automatic. You have to push, pull, fiddle and otherwise fume to get the shifter to go where you want it to. You have to remember to push it down to reverse, and there were several times when I thought the car was in a certain gear and was mistaken. This absolutely must be corrected.

I also was annoyed by the power door locks. I never did find the switch for it, if there was one, and I resorted to using the key fob inside the car to get out and to lock the doors all at once. Then there's that ear-splitting screech you get when you lock the car from the outside instead of a much quieter sound from other cars.

But I think the biggest problem that the Reno will have is the increasing amount of competition. Though the car is inexpensive, so are a lot of other cars that are much nicer, starting with the Mini Cooper. A nice one will run you about the same amount of money if you watch the option list. Honda's Civic, Toyota's Corolla and Scion lines, and other models also will give the Reno a run for its money.

Still you could do a lot worse than buy what turns out to be one of the most fun small cars I've driven in a while.

Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04317/410638.stm
 

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Originally posted by ShortBuSX@Nov 17 2004, 09:51 PM
Or for just about the same cash you could get 155hp Suzuki Aerio :blink:
[post=]Quoted post[/post]​
155hp? The spec I have says 141hp <_<
 

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Originally posted by ShortBuSX@Nov 17 2004, 12:51 PM
Or for just about the same cash you could get 155hp Suzuki Aerio :blink:
[post=]Quoted post[/post]​
That is true. Suzuki is trying to market the Reno as more of a "crossover" vehicle, and the Aerio SX as a hot hatch. I'd take the SX myself, but the Reno has its own appeal of a different kind.
 
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