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2008 Suzuki Forenza

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2008 Suzuki Forenza Review

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Like their mechanical clone, the Suzuki Reno hatchback, the Suzuki Forenza sedan and wagon also are manufactured in Korea by Daewoo and boast Italian styling, one trim level with loads of standard equipment, few options, attractive pricing and an outstanding warranty package. The pair share common Reno downsides, as well, notably an aging platform design, no higher-performance version, only mediocre fuel economy and the absence of features like traction control or stability control -- items offered by most of the competitors, including the Chevrolet Cobalt, Honda Civic, Kia Spectra, MAZDA3 and Toyota Corolla. Ironically, Suzuki's own SX4 crossover utility vehicle and new-for-2008 SX4 Sport sedan have become the Forenza's most direct rivals.

You'll Like This Car If...

If an affordable, well-equipped and reliable car with European styling flair and an impressive overall warranty package sounds like your kind of vehicle, the Forenza sedan or wagon deserve a look.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Those who demand the latest in safety or technology innovations, inherently sporty handling and/or premium resale value will be disappointed by any variation on the Forenza theme.

What's New for 2008

The Convenience Package adds steering-wheel audio controls and all models gain chrome door handles and optional Bluetooth connectivity, but the number of speakers for the audio system is reduced from eight to six.

Driving the Forenza
Driving Impressions

Sedan or wagon, the Forenza is a best viewed as a comfort-focused commuter and cruiser. The tilt steering column and height-adjustable driver's seat make it easy to settle in behind...

... the wheel and its compliant chassis does a respectable job of soaking up minor road imperfections. However, the engine's modest power and the amount of body roll during even modestly spirited cornering will not impress enthusiast drivers in the least; but then, enthusiast drivers are not likely to be interested in the Forenza, anyway. The Forenza's four-wheel disc brakes have a confident feel, but we'd still recommend stepping up to the anti-lock option -- even through it means having to spring for either the Convenience or Popular Package.

Standard CD/MP3 Player
The Forenza's standard six-speaker AM/FM audio system includes a single-disc CD player with MP3 playback capability.

Front Side-Impact Airbags
Unlike some pricier vehicles in its class, the Forenza's extensive standard equipment list includes driver and passenger side-impact airbags.

2008 Suzuki Forenza Details
Interior

Charcoal and silver define the sole color palette in the Forenza's spacious cabin, with that theme appearing on the dash, door panels and seats. There's an abundance of hard plastic trim, but the general level of fit and finish here is competitive in its class. Legible gauges are complemented by well-positioned primary controls and the instrument panel's center-stack switchgear. The front seats could use a touch more lateral support, but the 60/40 split-folding rear bench will accommodate a pair of medium-sized adults or three kids. Folding both rear seatbacks flat will add an extra measure of utility to the sedan's 12.4 cubic-foot trunk and increases carrying capacity of the wagon's cargo area from 19.3 to 61.8 cubic feet.

Exterior

With sheetmetal styled by Italian design house Pininfarina, both Forenza models have a clean, well-proportioned look punctuated by a crisp shoulder line, crystalline headlamp and taillamp lenses, body-color mirrors and door handles and pronounced fenders that cover 195/55 all-season tires on steel wheels. Both are identical forward of the B-pillar area. From there back, the gently arched roofline on the sedan breaks smartly into a short decklid while the rear quarters on the wagon match sloped contours with a large single-piece hatch that ensures plenty of real utility while imparting distinctive visual character.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Both Forenza sedan and wagon are available in only one, well-appointed trim level. In addition to a 2.0-liter engine and five-speed manual transmission, standard equipment includes power windows, door locks and heated mirrors, air conditioning, a six-speaker AM/FM audio system with single-slot MP3-compatible CD player, tilt steering column and dual-stage front and front side-impact airbags. Variable-speed windshield wipers are standard on both versions while the wagon also has a rear-window washer and wiper and standard silver roof rails.

Optional Equipment

Extras for the sedan and wagon are minimal and include a four-speed automatic transmission, the Convenience Package (cruise control and remote keyless entry with alarm) and the Popular Package (the Convenience Package features plus a power sunroof). Opting for either of those groups also allows you to add anti-lock brakes.

Under the Hood

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in all Forenzas makes 127 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque, sufficient for both city traffic and freeway running but pretty marginal when it comes to things like aggressive passing maneuvers. Although teaming it with the five-speed manual rather than the optional four-speed automatic gives a bit more get-up-and-go, even that modest edge is hampered by a somewhat balky shift linkage. Arguably the biggest shortcoming here is the engine's lackluster fuel efficiency regardless of transmission. With the sedan EPA-rated at 20/28 mpg city/highway with the manual transmission and 19/28 mpg with the automatic, and the wagon at 19/27 mpg with either transmission, the Forenza falls well short of its main competitors -- even those with larger and/or more powerful engines -- as well as Suzuki's own newer and more potent SX4 and SX4 Sport sedan.

2.0-liter in-line 4
127 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
131 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 (manual, sedan), 19/28 (automatic, sedan), 19/27 (manual, wagon), 19/27 (automatic, wagon)

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2008 Suzuki Forenza Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
6.2
Out of 10

Based on 393 Ratings for the 2004 - 2008 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    6.7/10
    Quality
    6.4/10
  • Reliability
    7.0/10
    Performance
    6.5/10
  • Comfort
    7.0/10
    Styling
    7.1/10

A great little car!

By on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"This was my first car as a 16 year old, so as you can imagine, I used and abused it quite a bit. I went longer than I'd like to admit without oil changes, scraped it against the side of a garage, and just generally didn't take the best care of it in those early years. Despite all that it lasted me a solid 11 years without breaking down on me or costing me much to maintain. After 11 years of abuse the car finally overheated and blew a head gasket, but that's the first time I've ever had a problem with it at all. For the low price and the ease of maintenance, I'd say its a solid car."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

HORRIBLE CAR

By on Sunday, December 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
5/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Do not buy this car. I have read many other reviews and have realized others have had the same problems. The transmission slips going downhill/uphill/on the highway. Rotors need replaced every few months. Shift lock breaks due to the horrible shifter placement. Coolant leak out of upper radiator hose & still leaks after new hose, new thermostat housing/gauge, timing belt, and water pump. Rear shocks leak, and tire pressure light goes on and off. Terrible gas mileage, and has trouble starting in cold and rainy weather. Moral of the story, do not buy this car. Suzuki is out of business and is for a reason."

5 people out of 16 found this review helpful

i miss my first

By on Monday, October 5, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Price, Fuel tank size + mileage"

Cons: "Small mirrors, parts are hard to find"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

back when it was a baby

"Wow, for what I paid for this car brand new, I like what I've received in return. It's not an Infinity but, it does get me where I need to go. As long as you maintain it clean, the car looks pretty nice(for some reason I have fallen in love with the taillights). I grew up on big V-8s so the power was a bit to get used to but, give it time and it will soon fly upwards of 80-90 mph and feel so smooth while doing it. For that reason I traded in my first silver 06 at 36k miles and bought another brand new (at the time) 2008 Suzuki Forenza before they discontinued its production. I hope this car makes it to my kids hands. Heck, no lie, I've had 2014 Ford Fusion owners tell me they love the way my car drives, so yeah."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

back when it was a baby

This car has been one of the best

By on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 97,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I've been having it for about 3 yrs 1/2 no problems always starts even in a he coldest winters no problem I am the second owner and I recommend it to anyone good reliable car ."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

It's still runs

By on Monday, August 3, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Amenities inside, Great for learners."

Cons: "Performance, replacement parts availability, mpg"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Perhaps the worst mpg for a 4 cyl. on the road, 26hwy at 110+/-8hp? If its get up and go you want, dont think about it. If you thought your chevy cobalt or cavalier is a drag, think again! I had a cavalier before this and I miss it every single day. Everything else is ok except replacing parts, just not everything is offered online or in parts stores like the strut springs. Its comfortable inside i dont know about the back seat though but up front it's decent. Amenities i would rate above average but its performance kills me, I cant get over it. The only reason I still have this thing on wheels is because its paid off."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Good first car!!

By on Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 124,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "roomy, cute style,drives fine"

Cons: "sometimes slow take off up hill"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Bought this car used had 100k miles on it, it now has 124k. I've had no major issues with this car other than the usual tune up, tire change, etc. Not bad on gas, gets you where you need to be, love the body and room inside the car, drives smooth with good tires on it, radio system it comes with sounds great. I really have no complaints about this car it's my baby!"

10 people out of 20 found this review helpful

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