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2005 Suzuki Forenza Preview

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by John Matras

 

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Give Suzuki credit. Not for them a “Sport Wagon,” “Avant,” “Sport Cross,” or some other hoity-toity moniker for the extra cargo capacity formerly called a station wagon, the preferred transportation of the Norman Rockwell generation. Nope, none of that for Suzuki.

While Suzuki is indeed introducing a station wagon version of the Forenza sedan, new last year, it has tuned down the rhetoric. It’s simply “Forenza Wagon.” Admittedly they lost the “station” somewhere along the way, but really, it’s been some time since resorts retrieved guests and their luggage from the train station in a “station wagon.”

But back to the point, the new Forenza Wagon. It follows in the tradition of taking a family sedan and giving it a trunk with a view. Like the Forenza, styling is still fromItaly’s Pininfarina studios, and the Forenza Wagon trim levels match those of the Forenza sedan.

The base level S is well equipped down to heated power outside mirrors and a standard audio system that plays CDs and also caters to those with an extensive collection of cassette tapes. Nope, no eight-track player, though it does have steering-wheel-mounted audio controls that admittedly look like J.C. Whitney add-ons but they do the trick.

The LX level adds fog lights, keyless remote entry, alloy wheels, and cruise control. Leather trim and upholstery distinguish the top of the line EX.

Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on all Forenza Wagons, while anti-lock braking is optional for all trim levels. The ABS includes electronic brake-force distribution to optimize the wagon’s braking regardless of load.

Of course load is what a wagon is all about. The cargo area holds 24.4 cubic feet of stuff. With the rear seat that jumps to 61.4 cubic feet, compared to other wagons: the Focus (35.6), Jetta (49.3) or Impreza (61.6). The wide hatch makes the cargo area fully accessible for loading big stuff and tie down points to keep stuff from sliding around.

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