Jon Rosner, Thu, 22 Dec 2005 08:00:00 PDT
The smart little five-door two-box wagon arrived in a shimmering electric blue. The car had all the attitude of a bright and bouncy ten year old with lots of energy. The first thing I noticed is that I did not bang my head getting into the car. That high roofline means that even the tallest drivers will have spacious headroom. The chunky steering wheel fits nicely, the gauges were neat and legible with the five-speed at a comfortable reach. A combination of soft to touch black plastic and aluminized plastic gave the interior an appealing simplicity. Front and rear sears were comfortable, supportive and covered in a kid-proof industrial-grade black fabric.
A turn of the key yielded a quiet idle. The clutch felt very light and was smooth. Given a bit of gas the Aerio pulled out smartly and the steering proved to be quite accurate. The ride is set to soft, and it felt a bit disconcerting as the car leaned a bit more than many when pushed on a corner. But it never lost its grip or its composure, and with good zippiness and easy shifting it was fun not having to fear for my innards when puttering over some really poorly maintained roads. The Aerio Wagon proved small enough to park anywhere and large two adults and two kids, their stuff and a weeks worth of groceries.
On the back roads the smoothness of the soft ride meant that no efforts towards playing sports car were going to be rewarded, the car made its limits well-known, but never put a tire in the wrong place when pushed just a bit. On the highway, lane changes were quick and easy with excellent visibility. But the car had no desire to be pushed in the far left lane where the engine let out a protest at being pushed any faster than the mid-seventies in fast traffic.
Suzuki's come loaded with standard features that are optional on other cars. The kids loved the color and the spacious interior. We averaged 26 mpg. Suzuki's have always represented solid value. And as long as you are not a charter member of the left-lane warrior/back-road burner club this is a nice, comfortable and spacious little wagon that will offer you years of dependable service.
The smart little five-door two-box wagon
Gauges were neat and legible
Mr. Mom Factor