The biggest little car in the world

2005, Suzuki, Reno

The Suzuki Reno is one of those cute cars you see whipping around the corner. With Americans finally figuring out that the $2 gallon of gas is going to stay they are looking for cheaper cars that get good gas mileage. Enter the Suzuki Reno.

Global marketing isn't just in the United States. The Reno is another in the line of vehicles being produced by General Motors and Suzuki in Korea by a partnership called GMDAT. So far, Suzuki has produced the compact Forenza and the mid-size Verona. General Motors owns Daewoo and a part of Suzuki.

The Reno design is based on the old Daewoo Nubira, sharing engine and transmission with the Forenza. According to J.D. Power the number one reason a person doesn't buy a car is the price. Americans are averaging $27,000 on a new car. Not on a Suzuki Reno. A Reno ranges from $13K to $17K.

When I went to I priced out the most expensive Reno I could. It included 4-channel Anti-lock Brake System with Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Front-seat-mounted driver- and passenger-side airbags, AM/FM/CD with MP3 player and 8 speakers, Air conditioning with micron air filtration Power tilt-and-slide sunroof, Power windows/ doorlocks/ heated outside mirrors, 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels 4-wheel disc brakes, Leather-trimmed seat upholstery and door inserts, Speed-sensitive Power-assisted Steering (SSPS), Remote keyless entry with antitheft device and trunk opener, Tilt steering wheel with integrated audio controls, Front fog lamps, Cruise control, Rear-window wiper/washer, 4-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission with gated shifter and "Hold" mode switch.

Including freight and all options it was still less than $18,000. Suzuki will give a $500 discount on top of that. How does a car that costs less than $18,000 drive?

My girlfriend Kathy and I were driving the Suzuki Reno with Cam Smith Arnold, Vice President of Calif.-based American Suzuki Motor Corporation. Standard in the Reno is an AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3 playback capability. None of us could really explain how an MP3 works. Cam offered to call her 13-year old son so that he could explain it to us. Sad.

The Reno was quiet, spacious and had a nice fit and finish to it. The gearing on the stick shift engages smoothly. The low end torque could be adjusted, but when I asked Cam Smith Arnold, Vice President of Calif.-based American Suzuki Motor Corporation she explained that if they did adjust the torque it would put the car in a different emissions rating. Nuff said.

According to Tom Carney, marketing director of American Suzuki Motor Corporation, Suzuki is joining the ever increasing tuner market. One benefit of a corporation providing tuner equipement is the price can be folded into the loan amount. Otherwise, the consumer purchases more equipment with each paycheck. The other benefit is the corporation (in this case Suzuki) gets the profit on the tuner equipment.

The emissions rating issue is also the reason the Suzuki Works Techno (SWT) group doesn't provide boosters for the horsepower. If the Manufacturer adds the booster on it changes the emissions rating and the EPA rating.

Suzuki is only expecting to sell 10,000 units of the Reno. According to Automotive News Suzuki's sales were up 25.9 percent during the first nine months of this year. Expect them to continue.


By Lou Ann Hammond

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Images of the 2005, Suzuki Reno

2005 Suzuki Reno
2005 Suzuki Reno
Standard is a MP3 player
Standard is a MP3 player
Lots of trunk space
Lots of trunk space