Compact car; Built in South Korea
  • 4-door hatchback
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $2,500 – $6,700*

2004 Suzuki Forenza

2005 Suzuki Forenza

2006 Suzuki Forenza

2006 Suzuki Forenza

  • Cargo room (wagon)
  • Instruments/controls
  • Acceleration (auto. trans.)
  • Noise

Forenza comes with a host of standard features and offers better interior space than most compacts. It falls behind competitors in performance and refinement, but prices should be lower than those of most rivals on the used-car market, and Suzuki’s transferable warranty is a plus.


Suzuki added a South Korean-built compact sedan to supplement its Japanese-built Aerio models for 2004. Forenza came in S, LX, and top-line EX models. All had a 2.0-liter 4-cyl engine and 4-wheel disc brakes. Automatic transmission was standard for the EX, optional for S and LX in place of manual. ABS was available for all, but side airbags were not offered. Standard on all Forenzas were air conditioning, heated power mirrors, power windows and locks, tilt steering wheel, CD/cassette stereo with steering-wheel controls, and 15-inch wheels. The LX added alloy wheels and cruise control, keyless entry, power sunroof, and fog lights. EX had leather upholstery instead of cloth. Like other Suzukis, Forenza carried a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty that included roadside assistance, and transferable 7/70,000 powertrain coverage with provision for a free loaner car. Forenza was designed by the bankrupt Daewoo Motor Company, Ltd., and was assembled by GM Daewoo Automotive Technologies, which was formed by General Motors after it bought parts of Daewoo. GM also owned a stake in Suzuki.

Yearly Updates

2005 Forenza
A wagon version of the Forenza was added, along with a 4-door hatchback called the Reno (see separate report). Front side airbags were made standard on all models.
2006 Forenza
Model names were changed to Base and Premium. Base equipment was similar to that of the former S, Premium’s was similar to the former LX but added ABS. Leather upholstery was no longer available.
2007 Forenza
Forenza carried over unchanged.
2008 Forenza
The 2008 Suzuki Forenza was largely unchanged for what is likely this compact car’s final model year.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

A 2.0-liter 126-hp 4-cylinder engine with 131 lb-ft of torque was offered with 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 126
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 131
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

A sedan equipped with an automatic transmission is the only Forenza made available for testing. Good progress from a stop fades to modest acceleration as speed rises. The transmission downshifts very quickly for more power, but requires a hard shove on the throttle and results in more noise than progress at higher speeds. The test EX averaged 17.8 mpg in mostly city driving. Suzuki recommends regular-grade fuel. The ride is somewhat stiff and bouncy, and bigger bumps jostle occupants, putting Forenza below the best in this class for comfort. Steering is light and responsive, but there’s noticeable body lean even at modest cornering speeds. Four-wheel disc brakes provide fine pedal feel, and ABS is available on all models. The engine roars under acceleration and turns buzzy at higher speeds. There’s some pounding over bumps, and highway speeds induce a fair amount of wind noise.

Audio and climate controls are clear and easy to reach and use, though they’re mounted just a bit low. Materials impress for the price. There’s plenty of front head and leg room, even for taller folks, and the standard tilt steering wheel and height-adjustable driver seat allow most people to find a comfortable driving position. Visibility is better than average for a sedan. In back, there’s adequate head, leg, and toe room for adults as long as the front seats aren’t more than halfway back. Entry/exit is good for a compact. The wide trunklid has a low liftover, but trunk capacity is slightly below average for the class.


Model Tested: 2004 Suzuki Forenza sedan, auto.

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 3
Fuel Economy - 5
Ride Quality - 5
Steering/Handling - 5
Quietness - 3


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 6
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 2


Value - 4

Total: 43


4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
102.4 177.2 67.9 56.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
12.4 14.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.1 37.8 42.0 36.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 204 Forenza 4-door hatchback


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: Rear brake noises are corrected by installing revised brake pad springs on the calipers. (2004-05)
Cold-starting problems
Description: The idle may jump to as high as 2,000 rpm when coming to a stop on vehicles with manual transmissions, or it may idle rough or stall with an automatic while the engine is cold after cold soak, requiring a computer flash. (2004-05)
Cold-starting problems
Description: The engine may not start as quickly as normal when the weather turns cool and low volatility fuel is in the tank requiring recalibration of the powertrain control unit. (2006–07)
Door handles
Description: There was a dealer campaign to replace the inside plastic door handles (not chrome) for breakage. (2006)
Oil consumption
Description: Excessive oil consumption and blue smoke from the exhaust may be due to a broken or missing PCV restrictor in the valve cover requiring a new valve cover. (2006)
Rear wipers
Description: The rear window washer may not spray because the hose cracks or detaches due to the material from which it was made. (2005-08)
Valve cover leaks
Description: Valve cover gasket may leak and an improved gasket is available. (2004)
Electrical problem
Description: Damaged insulation on wiring harness between left fender and its liner results in short or opens, causing various components (from lights, fuel pump, rear defogger, etc.–about 40 circuits in all) to quit working. (2004-05)
Electrical problem
Description: The key may not come out of the ignition lock due to a problem with the shifter lever not making electrical contact when shifted into park. (2004-06)
Transmission problems
Description: Harsh 4-3 downshift on automatic transmission, accompanied by a check engine light, requires reprogramming the transmission control unit (2004-05) and reprogramming is also needed to correct a harsh 2-1 downshift when coming to a stop. (2004)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may illuminate and the engine may stumble, hesitate or lack power in cold weather due to ice building up in the MAP sensor port. (2004-08)

Recall History

2004 Forenza
Description: A malfunctioning brake-light switch could cause the brake lights to remain on, even without the driver’s foot on the brake pedal. Following drivers would not be able to tell when the brakes had been applied, which could result in a crash. Dealer will replace brake-light switch.
Description: Headlamp low-beam or Daytime Running Lights function may be inoperative due to a melted splice pack on the wiring harness. Dealers will splice the power circuit wires for the low-beam headlamps and daytime running lamps.
Description: The front seat belt tongue will not latch into the buckle and, in rare cases, even the locked tongue will pop out by low stretching force. Dealers will replace the front driver and passenger seat belt buckles with the improved part.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

Share this: