2005 Suzuki Aerio

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$13,449

starting MSRP

2005 Suzuki Aerio

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Fuel economy
  • Ride comfort
  • Price
  • Interior space
  • Fun to drive

The bad:

  • Unusual appearance
  • Some engine noise
  • Resale value of sedan

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • S

    $13,449

  • LX

    $15,149

  • SX

    $15,449

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2005 Suzuki Aerio trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • 155-hp, 2.3-liter four-cylinder
  • Sedan and hatchback body styles
  • Available AWD
  • Manual or automatic
  • Upright profile

2005 Suzuki Aerio review: Our expert's take

By

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

Remember when your mother told you not to go out with a wet head, or else you’ll catch a cold? Wrong.

Some myths just will not die.

In the automotive world, there’s a false perception that all imported cars, especially Japanese cars, are superior to American cars. This is not the case.

Just try on a Suzuki Aerio SX for a week.

This car looks like a good deal on paper.

The Aerio SX is a 5-door hatchback version of the Aerio sedan. The car receives a fresh face for 2005, along with a new interior. The least-expensive versions come standard with front-wheel-drive and a choice of a five-speed manual or four-speed-automatic transmission. Opting for the top trim level, LX on the sedan, SX on the hatchback, gives you the choice of front- or all-wheel-drive, although the all-wheel-drive drivetrain comes only with an automatic transmission.

Suzuki provided an all-wheel-drive SX for testing.

When I got the car, I was impressed.

For a test price of about $17,000, here was a car with all-wheel-drive, anti-lock brakes, power locks/windows/mirrors, a tilt steering wheel, automatic climate control, AM/FM/audio system with in-dash, six-CD changer, height-adjustable driver’s seat, two 12-volt outlets, heated exterior mirrors and steering-wheel-mounted radio controls.

Despite the car’s short length, there’s a lot more room than you’d expect, both front and rear. The car’s tall roof and low beltline give it an open, airy feel. The new instrument panel is a big improvement over last year’s. The gauges are easier to read than the old digital ones. The heater warmed up quickly, despite arctic-level temperatures.

In short, this car offers an awful lot for not a lot of money. It allows the average working guy to indulge in the kind of features found on more expensive models.

But using the car day-to-day revealed that there’s a price to pay for getting all those features at a bargain-basement price.

The car’s drivetrain is peppy enough. Its 2.3-liter four-cylinder is significantly more powerful than a Toyota Matrix AWD, but less so than a Subaru Impreza. The engine is quite boisterous, its vibrations resonating throughout the car’s body structure. The car’s door panels, steering wheel and seats vibrate while idling. It’s enough to make you search for the slot to insert quarters for a vibrating bed.

The transmission was fuss-free, downshifting promptly. The brakes are fair, with a spongy-feeling brake pedal that doesn’t inspire confidence. Grip is quite good in corners, but there’s a lot of body lean. The suspension is punishingly firm, kicking hard over Pennsylvania’s rippled road surfaces and producing a symphony of plastic rattles.

But the most surprising part of the car was its behavior in exactly the type of weather that most people buy an all-wheel-drive car for: lots of snow, ice and muck.

The Aerio’s all-wheel-drive system is called QuadGrip. Like many all-wheel-drive systems, it works mostly in front-wheel-drive until slippage is detected. Then, up to 50 percent of the vehicle’s power can be transferred rearward.

On a partially plowed road, the car started to fishtail lightly, first one direction, then another. Any corrections I attempted to make didn’t seem to matter as the vehicle struggled to maintain grip. Personally, I would have preferred front-wheel-drive for its predictability in such situations. The all-wheel-drive system did little to inspire confidence.

This behavior contrasts with the Subaru Impreza and Toyota Matrix AWD, neither of which have had issues when driven in slippery conditions. All-wheel-drive is usually invisible in its operation and performance. That wasn’t the case here.

The light body structure, unpredictable all-wheel-drive, harsh ride and noisy engine all make me question whether getting features like automatic climate control is worth putting up with.

While Aerio SX looks good in theory, it’s not that great in fact.

And with that, another myth has been laid to rest.

lprintz@mcall.com

610-820-6713

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.2
  • Interior design 4.2
  • Performance 4.1
  • Value for the money 4.1
  • Exterior styling 4.1
  • Reliability 4.2

Most recent consumer reviews

4.9

This car '05 excellent in all important ways.

I expected this to be a bit 'rough' on the road, and for sure it is not a luxury car, but on the cheap, you get the best of the larger hatchback gas hogs, only with super-good mpg. I got my '05 in '17, w/80k miles. The tunes are good, it purrs going 80, and have not had any problems, knock on wood. I even slept in it a few nights, a couple times, and was surprised how easy and comfy it was for such a little car. It packs a surprising amount of stuff. Not super roomy door-pockets or console, but does have room for the things you want handy, including drink holders, and a couple 'hide-a-ways'. It has great visibility, turns tight, and is easy and fun to drive. I'm glad I got mine ( 8

5.0

Great Car

I've had the Suzuki Aerio for a couple years, and so far I didn't have any issues with it. It's excellent on fuel millage and it doesn't cost anywhere near what a Civic or Corolla cost. You get the the same things with the Aerio but for a cheaper price. I just wish it had a little more room in the back.

4.9

HIDDEN GEM

I have the Suzuki Aerio SX, which is AWD, and really performed magnificent on the ice and snow winter 2008-2009 here in Seattle, even with average all weather tires! Can't beat the gas mileage (low 20s City, mid-30s highway) considering it's AWD, and the Japanese build a quality product indeed! Elegantly designed interior with every feature except heated seats; super 6 CD player and sound system, on wheel controls for stereo, cruise control, etc. Superb head room for tall folks, hauls cargo brilliantly, and has a truly powerful 4 cylinder engine that nips briskly onto freeways and away from traffic. Sleek design for its category, which led the pack for the new crossover type vehicles . . . have had it from new in Nov 2004, and the others have followed this design!! Trouble free maintenance; no problems. Don't abuse any car, and it will usually treat you well, eh? Have had all the required maintenances, on time. After the headaches of MB, BMW, Cadillac and random other 'good' cars over the years, this hidden gem is a completely delightful surprise!! If you are lucky enough to locate a well loved one, snap it up . . . !! Suzuki no longer manufactures these wagons, which were Japanese built. Many of their cars are now Korean from Daewoo origins? I had a Daewoo Leganza, and found it good, also, but not as fine as this Suzuki Aerio SX!!

See all 5 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