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February 2005
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2005 Suzuki Reno EX ABS

The Good:  Good quality of interior parts.  Low noise levels inside.  Good amount of horsepower.  Quick and stable ride.

The Bad:  A bit too small for our tastes.  Micro car looks which looks wimpy.  Only grey interior color offered. Very small rear trunk.  Priced too high.  Cheap looking dash.


Suzuki is increasing showcasing new models with sleek Italian designing and high interior parts quality.  This compact hatchback is a newly released model offering versatility along with sleek exterior looks with a very nicely designed interior. 

"The Reno joins last year's launch of the midsize Verona and premium compact Forenza sedans to dramatically expand Suzuki's model line, overall buyer appeal and sales in the U.S.," commented Tom Carney, director of automotive marketing. "Coming on the heels of our doubling of sales in five years and an extremely strong response to the Verona and Forenza, the Reno is well positioned to continue Suzuki's public and industry acclaim momentum." The Reno also strengthens Suzuki's growing brand awareness in the U.S. "Suzuki Motor Corporation sold 1.7 million units worldwide in 2002 and more than 600,000 small and mini cars in Japan alone," added Carney.  "Most of the world already knows us as the best-value automaker with small-car expertise - now we're eager for more U.S. buyers to discover Suzuki for themselves.  The Suzuki Reno is a versatile vehicle specifically designed to cross over a wide variety of function-seeking and value-oriented car buyers - from Gen Y to Gen X to Baby Boomers."

The sleek and very European look is all thanks to Ital Design.  Smooth shapes adorn the front and rear of the Reno.  From the available fog lamps embedded in the lower bumper, across the almond-shaped, clear-glass headlamps with projector style main beams, gracefully rising style lines guide the eye over wheel arches to a distinctive rear profile dominated by a versatile rear hatch and wrap-around taillights.  The roofline is punctuated by roof-rack grooves designed for easy installation of accessories to carry mountain bikes, skis, camping gear - even a canoe.  The side profile is simple and quite flat compared to the front and back.  Color keyed door handles and small 15-inch wheels along with a beltline makes for a simple and economical look.  The raked rear hatch features very nicely styled taillights with working parking lamps down low in the bumper.  Overall it is a very unimposing and sleek design, nothing aggressive or very sporty. 

The Suzuki Reno is available in three trim levels from S, to LX, to EX.  The starting MSRP of the Reno is $13,449 and with incentives you can lower that to $11,000.  Standard for this price in the S model are four wheel disc brakes, air conditioning, speed sensitive power steering, power locks, windows, and heated mirrors as well as a great stereo system with 8 speakers; much more for your money than in a Toyota.  The LX model adds about $2000 and sends a power sunroof, fog lamps, 15-inch wheels, cruise control, and keyless remote entry your way.  Add another $1200 and you can have an automatic transmission and leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob in the EX model.

Inside, the Reno's roomy, five-passenger compartment and six-window greenhouse speak to recreational-minded buyers looking to make a style statement without sacrificing multi-use practicality.  The Reno offers maximum space utilization resulting in class-leading interior dimensions.  Suzuki claims more front and rear legroom than Mazda3 and Matrix and more front and rear shoulder room than Matrix.

Behind the Reno's stylish sheet metal is a functionally sculptured grey interior.  The lack of color choices inside is a particular negative point for the Reno.  We just don’t like grey; grey skies, grey cloudy days, and grey car interiors.  Many items inside are styled like the VW Beetle such as the arced shaped on the doors and the circular air vents.  Highlighting the sporty instrument cluster is a large speedometer centered around other dials.  It is very simplistic and we think that the Mazda 3 has the Reno beat in this department.  An in-dash AM/FM stereo with cassette and CD player is standard with eight speakers.  The system sounds very good but the controls for the system are too small and feel quite cheap.  The empty storage space just below the stereo makes it look as if something is missing here.  One essential feature that we did like was the steering wheel mounted stereo controls.

Adding appeal are such distinctions as heated power side mirrors and handy steering wheel-mounted cruise control.  Other standard touches include power door locks, key-hole illumination, factory-installed floor mats, overhead sun visor vanity mirrors with ticket holders, a center-dash 12-volt power outlet, and rear window defroster.  For optimal driving comfort, Reno drivers can manually adjust the driver's seat using the dual-height and lumbar support adjustments along with the tile steering wheel.  We found both front seats to be quite comfortable with minimal amounts of side bolstering which is quite comfortable in normal daily driving.  Rear seats with three headrests and a pull down center armrest are also both comfortable.  Knee room is tight with a fully loaded car of adults however.  We think that the Mazda 3 is more roomy inside, especially in terms of overall interior width.  Targeting utility and riding comfort for every passenger, the Reno offers a 60/40 split-folding rear seat.  However taking off the rear shelf in the trunk is necessary for a totally open space.  The rear trunk is also quite small, much smaller than competitors.  Our EX model also features a quiet power tilt and sliding sunroof.  Leather trimmed seating surfaces also feel very nice compared to the cloth trim found on most models, even when it is in our most hated color, grey.  The gathered look of the leather looked very upscale for this model and the steering wheel and shift knob felt both very good in leather.

            Accommodating buyers' active lifestyles - as well as their CDs, sunglasses, trail maps, beverages and other trip essentials - are a wealth of storage possibilities ranging from a center console fitted with dual cup holders and large forward storage compartment to an under-driver's seat storage bin, front and rear door compartments, driver and passenger seatback pockets, lighted glove box, sunglass holder and driver's-side change tray.

A standard four-cylinder, 2-liter, DOHC, 16-valve engine pushes output to 126 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 131 foot-pounds of torque at a low 4,000 rpm.  In addition to boasting a larger and more powerful engine than the Scion, the Reno employs an efficient engine design to optimize power, acceleration, and fuel efficiency while reducing noise.  On the highway, the Reno gathers speed quite easily and with confidence.  You would be hard pressed to guess that so little horsepower was available under the hood.  Engine noise is only loud above 4,000 rpm.  We even found wind noise to be very low thanks to the Ital design exterior body, and even with the sunroof open, noise is low compared to many other vehicles.  Do not be surprised to find a Reno moving quickly passing other cars on the highway. 

The front-wheel-drive Reno is available with a five-speed manual transmission and a four-speed automatic transmission featuring an adaptive control system and step-gate shifter.  One fault with the shift lever on our automatic EX model is that you must push down to change the transmission gears and its overall feel is of cheap plastic.  A small button entitled “hold” allows you to lock in the gear at which you are driving at in case you are climbing a tall hill or stuck in very slow traffic.  Speed-sensing power steering, standard on all models, self-adjusts the amount of steering assist for driving ease.  The feeling is very sharp and quite stable at varying speeds, something that is hard to say on most cars under $20,000.  MacPherson struts up front and dual-link suspension in the rear offer a great ride.  Bumps are absorbed quite nicely and body lean is minimal. Some sway is felt and it is not the sporty athlete that the Mazda 3 is.  Headlamps work well with the fog lamp function turned on.  High beams point a bit too far and do not provide adequate amounts of light directly in front of the car.  The Reno delivers good fuel economy: when equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, it earns a strong 22/30 -mpg city/highway EPA rating.  Buyers choosing the Reno with four-speed automatic transmission get 21/29.  Other manufacturers do deliver more miles per gallon in their small compact cars and so we would like Suzuki to increase its mileage rating in all its cars, hopefully matching Toyota soon.

            The Suzuki Reno comes standard with four-wheel disc brakes, typically not found at this price range.  The Reno also offers a dual-airbag system for the driver and an advanced dual-airbag system for the passenger as well as height-adjustable shoulder belts.  Rear-seat passengers are protected with the help of a center headrest and three-point seatbelts for all three passengers.  Keeping the family in mind, the Reno offers the child seat LATCH system, rear seat child safety door locks, and luminescent trunk release lever.  ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) is offered on all models as an option.  No traction control system is available on the Reno. 

Like 2004 Suzuki models, the 2005 Reno will be covered by Suzuki's Open Road Promise, featuring a 100,000-mile/7-year powertrain limited warranty that's fully transferable to succeeding owners and free of deductibles for covered items.  This is in addition to the 36,000-mile/3-year new-vehicle limited warranty.  Other components of Suzuki's Open Road Promise include a three-year Roadside Assistance program and a Warranty Repair Courtesy Vehicle program.

The Reno EX model tested here has a base MSRP of $16,949 which is quite high considering the brand name and the price most people would expect for a small car such as this.  The only option is the antilock brake system for $500.  Destination charges of $500 bring the total to $17,994.  Minus large incentives and you have a low real world price for this car with many features.  We think that for under $14,000 this is a great buy with the features offered in our test car.  Priced any higher, this will be a hard car to sell, especially with competition from the Mazda 3. 


Base Pricing 16,646 17,494
Destination 545 545
Anti-Lock Brakes 475 500


  2005 Suzuki Reno
EX 4dr Hatchback w/ABS (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
2005 Ford Focus
ZX5 SES 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
2005 Pontiac Vibe
Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
2005 Toyota Matrix
XR Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
2005 Mazda MAZDA3
s 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
MSRP $17,449 $17,215 $17,130 $17,170 $17,105
Invoice $16,576 $16,092 $16,017   $15,994
Basic 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Drivetrain 7 yr. / 100000 mi. 5 yr. / 100000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Base Engine Displacement 2.0 liters 2.0 liters 1.8 liters 1.8 liters 2.3 liters
Valvetrain 16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
Horsepower 126 hp @ 5600 rpm 136 hp @ 6000 rpm 130 hp @ 6000 rpm 130 hp @ 6000 rpm 160 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque 131 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 133 ft-lbs. @ 4500 rpm 125 ft-lbs. @ 4400 rpm 125 ft-lbs. @ 4200 rpm 150 ft-lbs. @ 4500 rpm
Tires P195/55R15
all season
all season
all season
all season
all season
Upholstery Type leather cloth cloth cloth cloth
Air Filtration interior air filtration interior air filtration Not Available interior air filtration Not Available
Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror Not Available Not Available Not Available Not Available electrochromatic - Optional
Brakes - Rear disc drum drum drum disc
Xenon Headlights Not Available Not Available Not Available Not Available Optional
Remote CD Changer (# CDs) Not Available Not Available 6 - Optional Not Available 6 - Optional
MP3 Standard Standard Not Available Not Available Optional
Total Number of Speakers 8 4 4 4 6
Navigation System Not Available Not Available DVD navigation system - Optional Not Available DVD navigation system - Optional
Max. Cargo Capacity 45 cu. ft. 40 cu. ft. 54 cu. ft. 53 cu. ft. 31 cu. ft.
City 22 mpg. 26 mpg. 30 mpg. 28 mpg. 25 mpg.
Highway 30 mpg. 35 mpg. 36 mpg. 34 mpg. 32 mpg.
City 319 mi. 364 mi. 390 mi. 370 mi. 363 mi.
Highway 435 mi. 490 mi. 468 mi. 449 mi. 464 mi.
Fuel Tank Capacity 14.5 gal. 14 gal. 13 gal. 13.2 gal. 14.5 gal.
Length 169.1 in. 168.5 in. 171.9 in. 171.3 in. 176.6 in.
Width 67.9 in. 66.7 in. 69.9 in. 69.9 in. 69.1 in.
Height 56.9 in. 56.8 in. 62.2 in. 61.6 in. 57.7 in.
Weight 2783 lbs. 2729 lbs. 2700 lbs. 2778 lbs. 2826 lbs.
Wheel Base 102.4 in. 103 in. 102.4 in. 102.4 in. 103.9 in.
Interior Reno Focus Vibe Matrix MAZDA3
Front Headroom 39.1 in. 39.1 in. 40.6 in. 40.6 in. 39.1 in.
Rear Headroom 37.9 in. 38.6 in. 39.8 in. 39.8 in. 38.4 in.
Front Shoulder Room 54.6 in. 53.5 in. 53.2 in. 53.2 in. 54.9 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 53.7 in. 53.6 in. 52.6 in. 52.6 in. 54 in.
Front Hip Room 53.5 in. 49.4 in. 51.7 in. 51.7 in. 54.9 in.
Rear Hip Room 53.7 in. 50.7 in. 47.8 in. 47.8 in. 53.9 in.
Front Leg Room 42.1 in. 40.7 in. 41.8 in. 41.8 in. 41.9 in.
Rear Leg Room 36.7 in. 37.6 in. 36.3 in. 36.3 in. 36.3 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 8.8 cu.ft. 18 cu.ft. 19.3 cu.ft. 21.8 cu.ft. 17.1 cu.ft.



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