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2008 Suzuki Forenza

Overview
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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
6.1
Out of 10

Based on 387 Ratings for the 2004 - 2008 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    6.7/10
    Quality
    6.4/10
  • Reliability
    6.9/10
    Performance
    6.5/10
  • Comfort
    6.9/10
    Styling
    7.1/10

I will never buy a car from suzuki again

By on Thursday, February 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 153,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Comfy car, good sound system, very roomy"

Cons: "unreliable, ac isn't very cooling even recharged"

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

"I got this car at 94000 miles and it has done nothing but break down on me over and over again. Each time I get it fixed, it breaks down almost immediately again. I hate this car so much but it's really comfy to drive in."

8 people out of 9 found this review helpful

This little car has exceeded my expectations!

By on Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 148,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "reliable very comfortable, great mpg, fun to drive"

Cons: "Cheap, parts are hard to find, lack of features"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

The forenza made the 1000 mile round trip to Minnesota without problems!

"This car has been nothing but good to me! The forenza has been almost 100% reliable. This car can go the distance and back wherever you need it to go. You can tell the car was made cheap. But that's the point of the car, cheap yet reliable. The forenza gives you a great value for your money. Parts are getting hard to find because of suzuki going out of business, but the parts are somewhat cheap. It has so far completed every task I have asked it todo and more. I give this car a 8/10 overall because the car does what suzuki says it does. Also, the car looks sharp! It is something I'm not asshamed to drive. But don't forget this is a cheap car. There is not a lot of features, but it gets the job done and then does it the next day. Love this car and I plan to drive it until the doors fall off!"

10 people out of 11 found this review helpful

The forenza made the 1000 mile round trip to Minnesota without problems!

Best Sedan for the Money

By on Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 91,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "gas, driving in snow, cheap to fix"

Cons: "none"

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

"I bought my 07 Forenza new in 2007. it is still running fine with over 90K miles. i drove it all over the US with no issue. it drives great in the snow. i replaced the following since i bought it: 1-new 4 tires at 60K 2-New brakes (front and Back) at 80K 3-regular oil change every 3 months"

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great car!

By on Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: new car

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "comfortable, no major issues, great gas mileage!"

Cons: "no cruise control, paint job was horrible,"

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

"I just traded in my car, 2006 Suzuki Forenza, for a new car but I wanted to let everyone know this car was a very good car. I traveled everywhere in this car and it was very reliable and comfortable. I had it for 7 years before the brakes needed changed, in the front. The back never needed changed. I never had any major issues with the car. I was told Suzuki went out of business, so good luck getting a new one but the old one was a great car. I actually would have loved to keep it but needed a down payment/trade in for a newer car. :("

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

I regret buying this car.

By on Thursday, November 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "cheap car for a kinda cheap price"

Cons: "Throwing away money"

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

"I got this car and paid $8000 for it when it is worth $2000 I have had to replace the tires a few times after having this car for 2-3 years. This car takes a lot of gas and there isn't a Suzuki dealership where I live. My advise is to NEVER buy a car that doesn't have a dealership in your town. This car is "throw away money" Good luck."

5 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Really BAD paint job

By on Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Very reliable, but has had many re-calls"

Cons: "Very inferior original paint job, peeling, dull"

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

"The 2006 Suzuki Forenza wagon had peeling paint in as little as 4-5 years of age. Now has a lot of paint defects, which lowers the value. Overall, it has been very reliable, no major mechanical problems. Low gas mileage though. Just a basic car, maybe good for a student."

12 people out of 17 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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