Economy class automobiles are like economy class airplane tickets. Sometimes the value outweighs the shortcomings and sometimes it doesn’t. The latter holds true for the 2007 Suzuki Forenza wagon. The largest of the Korean manufacturer’s compact cars offers an inviting price, a spacious interior and a solid list of standard features.
But the Forenza falls short in too many key areas, most notably craftsmanship and performance. As such, it isn’t a prudent choice in the economical wagon category.
My weekly drive, like all Forenza and Reno (the hatchback) models included a 2.0-liter, 16-valve, 4-cylinder, 127-horsepower engine. It also featured a four-speed automatic transmission (a five-speed manual transmission is also available).
The automatic transmission is the vehicle’s key disappointment. Acceleration is adequate from a stopped start, but it’s nowhere near as efficient in mid-range speed acceleration or in freeway situations. Likewise, the automatic shifting takes a concerted effort whether maneuvering into a forward or reverse gear or into the park position.
As an economy vehicle, the Forenza isn’t particularly economical with ratings of 21 (city) and 30 (highway) mpg. And the wagon isn’t quiet by any definition with a substantial wind rush at freeway speeds and a loud engine growl during acceleration.
Some entry level vehicles offer surprisingly refined interiors. The Forenza just provides the basics and it looks and feels like a basic vehicle.
The gauges are straightforward and illuminated with soft, pleasing backlit tones. The driver seat is comfortable, there’s good head and leg room and visibility is more than adequate (I’m a 6-0, 185-pound driver). But the back seat room isn’t as substantial, particularly if the front-seat passengers have their seats positioned halfway or more back.
As a wagon, the Forenza’s cargo area is accessible, without “dead” spots, and with the rear seat folded there’s 62 cubic feet of cargo space. The wagon also has an easy and spacious entry and exit design.
Standard equipment includes: four-wheel disc brakes, tilting steering wheel, 60/40 split rear folding seats, and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with eight speakers. The convenience package includes remote keyless entry ($150) and cruise control ($200).
Like all Suzuki vehicles, the Forenza has a 7-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and it shouldn’t be overlooked. But the vehicle is what it is: an entry level wagon that doesn’t have any features to make it standout against the competition.
The Weekly Driver: 2007 Suzuki Forenza Wagon
Safety Features – Dual front and side airbags.
Fuel Mileage (estimates) – 21 mpg (city), 30 mpg (highway).
Warranty – Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 7 years/100,000 miles, Corrosion, 3 years/unlimited miles; (24-hour) Roadside assistance program, 3 years/36,000 miles.
Base Price – $16,049.00