Known for its small cars and sport utility vehicles, Suzuki added a midsize family sedan for 2004. Billed as an affordable luxury sedan with a European look, and available in three trim levels, Suzuki's Verona competes against the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry.
The front-wheel-drive Verona's European look is the product of the Italdesign organization. Developed with assistance from Porsche, the Verona's 2.5-liter inline-six-cylinder produces 155 horsepower. A tire-pressure monitor and standard side-impact airbags go into 2005 models, and the LX sedan now comes standard with a tilt-and-slide sunroof.
Wider than the Altima and Camry, the Verona features fog lamps and dual-halogen headlights. The sedan sports chrome door handles, and color-keyed side moldings have chrome inserts.
Measuring 187.8 inches long overall, the Verona rides a 106.3-inch wheelbase. Steel wheels on the S sedan hold 15-inch tires, but LX and EX models get 16-inch tires on aluminum wheels. Speed-sensing power steering and all-disc brakes are standard.
A tilt steering wheel with integrated stereo controls is installed in a woodgrain-accented interior that seats five. Power windows, locks and mirrors are standard. Padded center armrests go in the front and rear. Trunk space totals 13.4 cubic feet.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning, cruise control, remote keyless entry, an anti-theft device and a cassette/CD stereo system. Automatic temperature control is installed in the LX version, and the EX sedan gets heated front seats and an eight-way power driver's seat.
Under the Hood
The all-aluminum, 2.5-liter inline-six-cylinder develops 155 hp at 5,800 rpm and 177 pounds-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. The four-speed-automatic transmission has a gated shifter, and the adaptive control system can "learn" driver habits and alter the shift pattern to optimize performance.
Antilock brakes are standard on LX and EX models and optional on the S sedan. All seating positions have three-point seat belts and head restraints. Side-impact airbags are now standard.
Despite imperfections, the well-equipped Verona midsize sedan delivers plenty of car for the money. You get a pleasant and cushy ride on smooth surfaces, and the Verona deals with harsher pavement relatively well. Steering isn't the most precise among midsize sedans, but it's adequate. Nicely stable on the highway, the Verona isn't entirely confident through fast, tight curves.
Acceleration from a standing start is satisfactory after a moment of initial sluggishness. The six-cylinder engine is quiet most of the time but grows noisy when the transmission is downshifting. Those downshifts tend to be somewhat uncertain and hesitant, but they're less noticeable on level roads.
The seat bottoms are short. Headroom and elbowroom in the front is ample, though the front passenger seat is short on leg space. Rear headroom and legroom is very good, and loading cargo is fairly easy in the square trunk. The gauges are deep-set but easy to read.