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Expert Reviews 1 of 3
By Jim Flammang
April 14, 2005
Vehicle Overview In March 2002, Suzuki introduced a new four-door, front-wheel-drive sport sedan named the Aerio and a related Aerio SX hatchback. Both cars have an unconventional appearance that places them in a unique spot in the marketplace.
All-wheel drive became available for the 2003 model year. For 2004, a new 2.3-liter four-cylinder that develops 155 horsepower was installed.
A mild face-lift for 2005 gave the Aerio a new front bumper, grille and fog lamps. A new analog instrument panel is installed, and audio and climate controls on the steering wheel are included. Side-impact airbags are now standard. (Skip to details on the: Aerio SX)
Exterior More upright than most small cars, Aerio sedans come in S and LX trim levels. Design features such as pronounced wheel flares and multireflector headlights enhance the sporty image. A stubby, ground-hugging snout incorporates a body-colored bumper.
Both body styles ride a 97.6-inch wheelbase, but at 171.3 inches long overall, the sedan is almost 5 inches longer than the SX hatchback. Large doors are intended to ease entry and exit. The LX sedan has 15-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps and a rear spoiler; the S sedan rides on 14-inch tires.
Interior Each Aerio seats up to five occupants on front buckets and a split folding rear seat. The tall roofline allows a high seating position. The trunk holds 14.6 cubic feet of cargo with front-wheel drive or 11.5 cubic feet with all-wheel drive.
Standard equipment includes automatic air conditioning, a tachometer, a tilt steering wheel, intermittent wipers, and power windows, locks and mirrors. The LX sedan adds remote keyless entry, cruise control and a height-adjustable driver's seat.
Under the Hood The Aerio's 2.3-liter four-cylinder generates 155 hp and teams with a five-speed-manual or four-speed-automatic transmission.
Safety Antilock brakes are optional. Side-impact airbags, daytime running lights and child-safety seat tether anchors are standard.
Driving Impressions In construction quality, performance and handling, the Aerio took a big step forward compared with Suzuki's old Esteem. It is more fun to drive than most small cars and can whip around urban areas. Acceleration is satisfying, and the automatic transmission functions without harshness or undue delay. Engine noise is noticeable during acceleration.
The Aerio is easy to steer and control, and it breezes through corners and moderate curves. A light feel on the highway yields acceptable stability, but the Aerio doesn't feel quite as secure as some other compacts. Its ride quality is impressive even on patched urban pavement, but imperfect surfaces can produce harsh suspension reactions.
Visibility is very good. All seats are comfortable and snugly bolstered. Space in the front and rear seats is abundant.�
Aerio SX Billed as a "sport crossover model," the youth-oriented Aerio SX straddles two vehicle categories: hatchback and wagon. The SX model has a liftgate that's close to vertical. Measuring 166.5 inches long overall, the SX is equipped with 15-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels.
The Aerio SX includes a cargo cover and can hold as much as 63.7 cubic feet of cargo. Standard equipment includes automatic air conditioning, a six-CD changer, a tachometer, a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, intermittent wipers, remote keyless entry, cruise control, and power windows, locks and mirrors. In nearly all respects, the driving experience in the SX is identical to that of the sedan. Back to top