2005 Suzuki Aerio SX AWD
Comfortable seating position. All wheel drive. Roomy interior in every
position. Quick and sporty ride.
Wheels are too small. Overall shape is not bold or aggressive. Needs more
noise deadening materials.
been pulling strong sales recently with the addition of the full size
Forenza, combining Italian design and a smooth ride. However such luck has
not befallen upon the Aerio which is rarely seen on the roads of America.
Despite being an all wheel drive candidate at a very low price point, Toyota
Corolla, Mazda 3, and Ford Focus have all grabbed more market share than the
Suzuki Forenza. When looking at the numbers there is nothing that comes
close to delivering the features that the Aerio SX delivers at its price
point. So lets take a look at where the Aerio SX delivers and where it does
is available in four door sedan models labeled S or LX, or the hatchback
model tested here labeled the SX. On the outside the Aerio SX we tested is
compact and small. Many exterior parts have been redesigned from its first
introduction two years ago, such as the front bumper, rear tail lamps, and
alloy wheels. The front end is sleek with a large lower front spoiler
offering integrated fog lamps, a mesh grille, and small mock air channels to
the sides. A rear spoiler with an integrated brake light gives the Aerio a
sporty look, which is exactly as it should be.
hood is a 2.3 liter, 16 valve four cylinder DOHC engine that develops 155
horsepower and 152 ft-lb of torque. One thing we did not like when looking
under the hood was the fact that we could see straight through the engine
bay to the ground underneath. That just adds to the feeling of cheapness in
a car, and we feel that it should be fully covered underneath. Besides
looks, the engine in the Aerio is quick and fast. The Aerio quickly reaches
highway speeds in a controlled manner. Engine noise at high rpms is
noticeable and there is little sporty exhaust note. Gear shifts are smooth
and quick with the automatic transmission offering a comfortable drive in
We had a
opportunity to test the Aerio in a large snow storm where it performed
amazingly well. This car is a blast to throw around in large snow drifts.
The highly rated Yokohama Geotracker tires on the Aerio allow you to drive
through two foot banks of snow easily. Even on ice the tires along with the
four-wheel drive system performed to our amazement. During normal driving
on dry surfaces, power is delivered to the front wheels. Should front
wheels begin to slip, the QuadGrip all wheel drive system transfers some
power to the rear wheels, providing an optimum 50/50 front-rear power
distribution for improved traction and handling. The function is very quick
and hard to notice on slippery driving surfaces. Our model did loose its
back end when braking on slippery surfaces, and so we would highly recommend
the ABS system which is optional.
The interior of the Aerio is spacious and
nicely done. There is nothing that we found to be overly cheap, as we often
find in higher priced American brands. The small touches of silver on the
dash and door handles feel good. The differing materials on the seats and
doors also feel good to the touch. New large analog gauges lit in red look
very nice, much more upscale than this price would suggest, and silk chrome
rings add a performance touch. Automatic climate control is now standard
and we found it to work very well, never blowing hot air in your face and
being smart about when to raise the fan speed on cold starts.
Comfort is a very strong point of the Aero,
with a great entry and exit height in all seating positions. There is
plenty of legroom and the tall cabin offers loads of headroom for taller
adults. The driver’s seat offers an armrest for added comfort and features
manual adjustments for height as well. The front seat backrest offers
adequate support with nicely bolstered side portions. A remote keyless
entry is also standard with power locks, windows, and mirrors. A new
steering wheel with audio controls is essential and a great addition. It is
leather wrapped for a nice soft feeling and offers tilt function.
A six disc in dash CD changer along with
seven speakers and a subwoofer gives the Aerio stereo system great playing
power. The stereo is also laid out very nicely in a clean manner with large
buttons for daily tasks, giving the dash a simple yet modern look. Under
the center dash is plenty of storage for CD cases with built in slots, and
two cup holders. At night the Aerio glows red inside, which is good for
your eyes. Exterior low beams are a bit dull and ineffective but the fog
lamps do add a great amount of light directly in front of your car. The
rear tail lamps did not offer any special look to this model, we liked the
Kia Spectra5’s lamp design much more.
A great feature is the below deck storage
in the rear trunk. The storage compartment really helps things stay in
place and it was very useful on every day trips to the grocery store. We
wish more automakers would compartmentalize the floor of the rear trunk. A
split folding rear seat also allows you to add more cargo as needed with the
already large cargo opening. The seats in the Aerio are also very easy and
quick to adjust and fold down unlike many other manufacturers’ which require
you to pull and push using loads of force.
also thought of safety when making this small car. Front and side airbags
are standard equipment with a passenger seat weight sensing feature which
activated the airbag. Antilock brakes are still optional and we do want
this to be standard in all cars in the year 2005. All wheel drive is a
feature that really helps in this small car.
price for our model, the SX AWD is $17,249. This includes most options as
this is a upgraded model from the base Aerio. A 100,000 mile warranty is
also included. The Aerio gets 24 miles per gallon city, and 29 miles per
gallon on the highway.
While sales of the Aerio have gone down
over the past year, we still feel that this car is one of the few great
small cars available with four wheel drive. The Aerio is extremely
comfortable to drive. It is built well inside and has room in every seat
for larger American adults. While exterior looks are not as stylish as they
could be for a compact car, it is still a very practical vehicle. The front
headlamps could be redesigned for a more aggressive look and the rakish rear
hatch in black trim makes the Aerio look more like a fun toy than a serious
vehicle. This along with the very small aluminum alloy wheels does not
offer a full size car buying appearance. A more rounded exterior shape
would give the Aerio SX a bolder look, helping make it a contender in this
segment. We think that more sound deadening materials and a more stable
high speed ride would do wonders for the Aerio as well and this is its
weakest point. Cars such as the Mazda3 and Golf are quieter and feel much
better built. We hope the future generations of this idea are tested better
on the highways of the world.