- Long standard feature list
- Spacious interior
- Available Bluetooth on such an inexpensive car
- Dated design
- Uninspiring handling
- Interior materials and surfaces
- Poor fuel economy
- Safety concerns
The 2008 Suzuki Forenza still offers a lot of features for the money, but its older design lags in performance, refinement, and safety.
The 2008 Suzuki Forenza, built by Daewoo in South Korea, is a small, inexpensive sedan and roomy wagon that were first sold in the U.S. as the Daewoo Nubira, but later updated and sold under the Suzuki brand. For 2008, the Forenza is basically a carryover with only minor changes.
The Forenza’s shape was originally styled by the design house Pininfarina. The design is still quite clean and attractive, and wagons have bright roof rails as a functional accent. The interior follows a nice, basic design, but it uses a hodgepodge of mismatched surfaces and hard plastics. Seating is a high point for the 2008 Suzuki Forenza, though. In front, the seats are among the better ones in this especially low-priced car class, and in back there’s just adequate legroom for average adults, though headroom might be tight. With the seats folded forward in the wagon, an already impressive 24.4 cubic feet can be expanded to 61.8 cubic feet.
The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the 2008 Suzuki Forenza produces 127 horsepower and drives the front wheels via either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, but with either transmission it’s just adequate and noisy under moderate or hard acceleration. Fuel economy is poor for such a small car, at 19 mpg city with the automatic.
The 2008 Suzuki Forenza rides on MacPherson struts up front and a dual-link suspension in the rear, with variable-assist power steering and four-wheel disc brakes. The tuning is such that the Forenza has a rather firm, pitchy ride, but handling doesn’t feel especially confident either.
Features are a strong point; the 2008 Suzuki Forenza is a very good value, at least in terms of features for the money. Air conditioning, a CD stereo and power locks, windows, and heated mirrors are standard on the base Forenza, with anti-lock brakes, cruise control, fog lamps, keyless entry, and a power sunroof available on the Premium version. Changes for 2008 are limited to new chrome door handles, and standard fog lamps and steering wheel audio controls on the Convenience package. Bluetooth is a new option.
The Forenza received straight four-star ratings in the federal government’s crash tests for frontal and side impact, but the more demanding tests conducted by the insurance-affiliated IIHS found the 2008 Suzuki Forenza just ‘Acceptable’ in frontal impact and ‘Poor’ both in side and rear impact protection. Front and front-side airbags are standard across the line. Anti-lock brakes are only available, as a $500 option in addition to the $400 Convenience Package, and electronic stability control is not offered.
The 2008 Suzuki Forenza is especially attractive from one other aspect, though: warranty. Suzuki offers one of the best warranties of any manufacturer, with coverage up to seven years or 100,000 miles, and it’s fully transferable to other owners.