2003 Suzuki Aerio

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Change year or car

$13,499

starting MSRP

2003 Suzuki Aerio

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • S

    $13,499

  • GS

    $14,699

  • SX

    $14,999

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2003 Suzuki Aerio trim comparison will help you decide.

2003 Suzuki Aerio review: Our expert's take

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The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

A Quick Ray of Sunshine
2003 Suzuki Aerio SX

It came in the midst of a reluctant spring, when the calendar said fair weather but the gray day and slow rain said something else.

It was a racy red 2003 Suzuki Aerio SX, a small station wagon with an SUV’s swagger and a sports car’s soul. That explains the SX part of the Aerio wagon’s name. It means “sport crossover.”

There were other test vehicles in the driveway — a desert-gold Chrysler Pacifica of mixed identity — part minivan, part wagon, part SUV — and a totally plush Toyota Sienna minivan of similar hue.

There also was the black-on-black Jaguar XK-R convertible I had driven a few days earlier before spring turned fickle, withdrew its sun, and dumped thoughts of love and romance into a cold shower. Looking at it through my picture window, with the background music of water flowing through house gutters, was disconcerting.

I had to go into the city. I took the Aerio, and I liked it so much I drove it the rest of the week.

The Aerio is a swift, gutsy, exceptionally agile little wagon — an urban street fighter if ever there was one. It easily slips in and out of tight creases in city traffic, and it’s equally adept at fitting into legal, minuscule parking spaces on city streets.

But its practical virtues aren’t its strongest selling points. People expect small cars to be practical, sensible, which is why those who buy small cars buy them.

Yet, small cars do not sell well, not even when gasoline prices are rising, war is raging and the national economy is heading south. Practicality doesn’t speak to the heart, stir the soul. It’s a gray suit in a world desiring pastel colors.

Thus, the composite goodness of the little Aerio SX is that it’s willing to carry you and your stuff, save you money at the dealership and the gas pump — and give you one heck of a good time.

The latter attribute is derived from some old-school alchemy — stuffing a relatively powerful engine, 140 horsepower in this case, into a tiny, lightweight body. The Aerio SX, available in front-wheel and all-wheel drive, has a short wheelbase, 97.6 inches. The tested front-wheel-drive version of the wagon, equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, weighs 2,630 pounds.

Of course, it isn’t enough to have a hot-to-trot engine to make a fun car. A well-balanced suspension helps, and the Aerio SX has one. It includes independent MacPherson struts with coil springs and stabilizer bars front and rear, with lower control arms up front. Fifteen-inch-diameter wheels complete the handling package.

It is a refreshing little car, very pleasant road company in good weather and bad.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.0
  • Interior design 3.6
  • Performance 3.5
  • Value for the money 3.9
  • Exterior styling 3.7
  • Reliability 3.6

Most recent consumer reviews

2.6

Expensive upkee

Brand new tires on all 4, less then 2months later the rear tires were bald, 1 with the steel coming through..... Periodically dies , quite often with violent jerkiness,for lack of a better word

4.6

Very smooth and reliable

Have had the car for awhile now and haven’t ran into any issues and it’s smooth , clean and great on gas. Service engine soon light came while on a road trip but I just disconnected the battery and reconnected and it went away. Great car

4.4

12,000 KM in 3 weeks and 35 states.

I bought this car because I was commuting 400km each way from my home in Kelowna BC down to Vancouver every week. My previous car, after 214,000 thousand km, blew a cylinder on the way to Kelowna, and the time had come to finally relax that. aFinally the day came when I had to remove that The drive included driving over two mountain passes, one almost 11,000 feet, in which a snap blizzard could happen. I did this in the Suzuki fri almost a year. Never had one single problem. We moved down to the coast in 2003, and in 2005, my 15 year old son and I took a Discover America 2005 road trip. Starting in Vancouver, Seattle, Boise, Vegas, Santa Fe, San Antonio, New Orleans, Florida, Savannah, DC, NYC, Boston, Smoky Mountains, Mephistopheles, Nashville, Denver then home. Almost 12,000 km in 3 weeks, 35 states. The car was ah-mazing. Not a single problem, AC worked like a charm, comfortable ride, fast enough, handles well, and we saw only one other Aerio on the entire trip, and that was in Seattle, a day from home. I loved that Aerio so much that I traded up for a 2005, with the reimagined dash, bigger motor and AWD. It was if I had pimped out my old car. The 2005 Aerio was even more awesome, although I didn’t need to commute anymore, and no more road trips, it was big enough with a great back seat to handle all five of us, with 3 large 20 somethings sharing the back seat. Traction was amazing, but when I had to buy new tires, I got these asymmetrical tread tires Nokia WX something. They were warranted until 100,000 Km. And are considered snow tires if you got stopped in the mountains. These things made that little Suzuki literally into the Sherpa of cars. One block over is a street with about a 10% grade that if there’s a whiff of snow the city barricades the road. I drove around those little barricades, gunned the car....and without any wheel slip! headed up that hill. Two of the best cars I’ve ever owned.

See all 22 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
36 months/36,000 miles
Corrosion
36 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
84 months/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance
36 months/36,000 miles

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See all 2003 Suzuki Aerio articles