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PERFORMANCE | 4 out of 10
acceleration yields typical small-car engine blare
struggled to get to highway speeds...annoyingly loud
Car and Driver
feels burdened and underpowered
engine...generally acquits itself well
acceleration is livelier with the manual transmission
Experts at TheCarConnection.com find most reviews in agreement: The 2008 Suzuki Forenza is severely underpowered, despite its relative thirst for fuel.
Cars.com reports that the current Suzuki Forenza is powered by a "2.0-liter four-cylinder [that] produces 127 hp and 131 pounds-feet of torque," adding "acceleration yields typical small-car engine blare." Edmunds finds it "feels burdened and underpowered." Testers at Car and Driver note "the engine struggled to get to highway speeds and was annoyingly loud and vibrated in a coarse manner." MyRide.com suggests "those who opt for the manual transmission will get the most out of the motor."
The Suzuki 2008 transmissions draw mixed reviews: According to Cars.com, "either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission can be installed...performance with the automatic transmission is satisfactory—even a touch spirited." Car and Driver is not impressed with the latter: "the [Suzuki Forenza] automatic transmission was knocked for the balky way it shifted and for how convoluted it was to move the shift lever from drive to park; no one liked the wrestling...involved." ConsumerGuide reports the automatic "downshifts very quickly for more power," while "a hard shove on the throttle results in more noise than progress at higher speeds." This source also notes "acceleration is livelier with the manual transmission, though passing power is still lacking."
For a vehicle with such a small, modestly tuned engine, the 2008 Suzuki Forenza’s gas mileage is inexcusably poor. In ConsumerGuide tests, "sedans averaged a dismal-for-the-class 17.8 mpg with manual transmission in all city driving, 29.5 in mostly highway work," while "automatic-transmission models averaged just 17.8 mpg in mostly city driving." Car and Driver reports that the Suzuki Forenza "recorded a mediocre 25 mpg over the long haul."
Overall, Suzuki Forenza handling is similarly mediocre. According to Edmunds, "the Forenza exhibits soft, rubbery handling and poorer ride quality than many of its competitors...suspension and ride quality are also unimpressive." Kelley Blue Book reports "the amount of body roll during even modestly spirited cornering will not impress enthusiast drivers in the least." ConsumerGuide notes this Suzuki 2008 offers "quick, responsive steering," but adds that "noticeable body lean is evident even at modest cornering speeds."
Performance driving enthusiasts should definitely give the 2008 Suzuki Forenza a pass.