Known for its small cars and sport utility vehicles, Suzuki added a midsize family sedan for 2004. Billed by the automaker as an affordable luxury sedan with a European look, Suzuki's Verona competed against the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry.
The front-wheel-drive Verona's European look is the product of the Italdesign organization in Italy. Developed with assistance from Porsche, the Verona's 2.5-liter inline-six-cylinder produces 155 horsepower. A tire-pressure-monitoring system and standard side-impact airbags went into 2005 models.
Suzuki has adopted a simplified model strategy for the 2006 model year. Verona interiors have been revised slightly, rear passengers have a new coat hook, and cruise control has been modified. The Verona now meets ULEV-II (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) emissions standards.
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. 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 heated mirrors are standard. Padded center armrests go in the front and rear. Trunk space totals 13.4 cubic feet.
Standard equipment includes 60/40-split, folding rear seatbacks, air conditioning with micron air filtration, cruise control, remote keyless entry with an anti-theft device, and a cassette/CD stereo system. The Luxury Package adds automatic climate control, heated front seats, leather-trimmed seats, an auto-dimming inside mirror, solar glass, 16-inch alloy wheels and a moonroof.
Suzuki's 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.
All-disc antilock brakes and seat-mounted side-impact airbags are standard. Every seating position has a three-point seat belt and head restraint.
Despite several 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.
Headroom and elbowroom in the front is ample, though the front passenger seat is short on leg space and the seat bottoms are short. Rear headroom and legroom are very good, and loading cargo into the square trunk is fairly easy. The gauges are deep-set but easy to read.