For an entry-level car, the all-new Reno from Suzuki packs a whopping value and a designer label. Ital Design, of Italy, crafted a sporty, highly functional little hatchback with a decidedly European style.
And features? Oh, my. The eight-speaker audio system — it includes a radio, CD player and MP3 playback capability — is just one of many standard features. Three trims stair-step the goodies, starting with air conditioning with micron filtration, tilt steering wheel with remote stereo controls, plus power sunroof and power window, door locks and heated outside mirrors. The list goes on from there. All Renos come with side airbags for the front-seat occupants.
The 2-liter, inline four-cylinder engine produces 126 horsepower — narrowly enough for blasting about, especially if ordered with the five-speed manual transmission.
Handling is lively and confident and the ride is remarkably smooth for a car of its size and price point.
Best of all, it gets wonderful gas mileage. During my week with the tester, I thought the gas gauge was stuck at a tick off “full.” I had been driving all over the place and the needle didn’t seem to move. The EPA estimate is 22 mpg city and 30 highway, but I averaged in the 30s.
What Is It?: The all-new compact hatchback from Suzuki comes in three trims — S, LX and EX. Prices for the base S model start at $13K.
Bummer: Anti-lock brakes are a $500 option.
Cheat Sheet: Suzuki got a foothold in the U.S. auto market thanks to General Motors, which now owns 20 percent of the Japanese company.
So, Where Are Ya From?: The Reno is assembled in Gunsan, Korea, but the engine is Aussie-made.
Watch This Space: Suzuki has been on a tear recently, introducing two new sedans — the Forenza and Verona — before the Reno launch and there’s more to come.
Bottom Line: This affordable ride is just the start for many younger buyers who see the Reno as a fresh palette onto which they can add expensive after-market customization packages, thus creating an individualized reflection of their personal style and depleted checking accounts. I’m just saying.
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