- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 9, 2004

All you have to do is take a look at some of the latest Suzuki automotive offerings to suspect that almost all other automakers are charging way too much for their cars and trucks.

For 2005, Suzuki’s lineup of cars and SUVs expands with two new additions, the five-door Reno and the Forenza Wagon, starting at $14,000. The Reno and Forenza Wagon are the third and fourth in a series of nine new vehicles Suzuki will introduce in a bold attempt to triple its sales to 200,000 vehicles by 2007. With eight body styles — six cars and two SUVs — Suzuki offers an impressive array of products for cost-conscious buyers.

The Suzuki product lineup gained two new European-style models in 2004 — the premium compact Forenza sedan and the midsize Verona sedan. Now for 2005, the compact five-door Reno and the versatile Forenza Wagon join the substantially restyled Aerio sedan and Aerio SX. On the SUV side, Suzuki offers the Grand Vitara and the slightly larger XL-7. Prices for the Grand Vitara range from $17,400 to $22,599.

The brand-new 2005 Suzuki Reno is set to compete against the Scion xA, Mazda3, Toyota Matrix and Ford Focus. The Reno competes in a crowded marketplace with impressive standard equipment, including an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3 playback capability, steering wheel with integrated audio controls, four-wheel disc brakes, front seat-mounted side air bags, new advanced weight-sensing passenger-side front air bag, air conditioning with micron air-filtration system, power windows and door locks, heated power side mirrors and speed-sensitive power steering. Move up to the LX or EX trim levels, and you can get a power sunroof, 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps and leather seating.

Now that wagons are once again popular, the arrival of the Forenza Wagon is a timely addition that’s within reach of many more buyers. It has a long list of standard equipment, increased safety technology, plus available upscale luxury features such as leather seating surfaces.

The Forenza Wagon comes with features such as standard air conditioning, four-wheel disc brakes, speed-sensitive power steering, power windows, door locks and mirrors, eight-speaker AM/FM CD/cassette audio system, built-in roof rails, steering-wheel-mounted sound-system controls, and more

The Forenza sedan is poised to compete with the Civic DX, Corolla CE and Focus LX. Much of this model is carried forward from 2004, but for 2005 the Forenza is a bit more appealing, with the addition of front seat-mounted side air bags and new advanced weight-sensing passenger-side air bag as standard.

Suzuki made its first entry into the midsize sedan class in 2004 with the Verona, going head to head with cars such as Camry, Accord and Altima. Now in 2005, the Verona is an even more formidable flagship for Suzuki, with a few new features and upgrades, including standard front seat-mounted side air bags, a new advanced weight-sensing passenger-side front air bag and a tire-pressure monitoring system on all trim levels.

The newly restyled Aerio is an alternative to cars such as the standard Corolla, Civic and Matrix. It features a 155-horsepower, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine and is available with front- or traction-enhancing all-wheel drive and in two distinctive body styles — sedan or SX crossover.

New analog instrumentation advances style and readability and the new steering wheel incorporates fingertip audio controls for the brand-new audio system. Important equipment upgrades include standard automatic climate control on all Aerio models and power locks — even on the base S model.

The Suzuki Grand Vitara is practically sized with a truck-type ladder frame, a standard 2.5-liter V-6 engine and an available dual-range four-wheel-drive system that will take you where many light-duty all-wheel-drive vehicles can’t.The Grand Vitara has an impressive roster of standard features.

The Suzuki XL-7 has a rugged body-on-frame design that puts it in a group of true off-road-capable machines. This practical design, plus a standard high-torque V-6 engine, generous ground clearance and available four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing make the XL-7 off-road capable. It offers available third-row seating for seven that sacrifices the usual ample cargo space.

All 2005 Suzuki models are covered by a 100,000-mile/seven-year powertrain limited warranty that’s fully transferable to succeeding owners and free of deductibles for covered items.

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