Full 2006 Suzuki Aerio Review
What's New for 2006
For 2006, the Aerio is equipped with a new MP3-compatible, six-speaker CD audio system, and all models feature standard antilock brakes.
The compact Suzuki Aerio sedan and wagon first debuted in 2002. Despite the fact that the Aerio offers advantages like an extra-roomy cabin and optional all-wheel drive, it has faced an uphill battle to gain market share. With heavy hitters like the Civic, Focus and Corolla in the same pool, it's hard for a small-time player with average overall credentials to get the attention of economy car shoppers.
The Aerio's styling is meant to look aerodynamic (thus the name) and distinctive. It's aimed at youthful customers and in the case of the wagon, offers plenty of space to haul their gear around. With an overall height 3 to 4 inches greater than most vehicles in its class, the Suzuki Aerio boasts a surprising amount of passenger and cargo room at the cost of a chunky profile. Legroom meets or exceeds that of most competitors, and the same is true for cargo space. Unlike most manufacturers that have a few different engines for their compact, Suzuki offers just one for its Aerio: a 2.3-liter inline four that's good for 155 horsepower. This engine offers more horsepower than most of the car's competition. On the basis of power alone, the Suzuki Aerio offers impressive performance for a car in its price range.
The Aerio's suspension uses MacPherson struts all around, but the car's higher-than-average center of gravity results in considerable body roll. Consequently, the Aerio isn't particularly rewarding to drive, though the soft suspension does soak up the bumps without jostling the passengers, making the car a decent choice for commuters. Is a relatively low price, a healthy horsepower rating and an optional AWD system enough to justify a purchase? In such a competitive segment, there are other choices we'd look at first before the Aerio. If you're looking for an inexpensive compact capable of handling the rough weather, however, the 2006 Suzuki Aerio might be worth a look.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The Suzuki Aerio is offered as a sedan in base trim, and a wagon version in SX trim. Standard features include color-keyed front and rear bumpers; daytime running lights; automatic climate control; a six-speaker stereo with a CD/MP3 player and steering wheel-mounted controls; power windows, locks and mirrors; keyless entry; tilt steering wheel; rear spoiler; and an outside temperature gauge. A Premium package is available on both body styles and includes an in-dash CD changer with seven speakers, heated mirrors and cruise control. Both models have the additional option of all-wheel drive.
Powertrains and Performance
All Aerio models come with a 2.3-liter inline four engine that produces 155 horsepower and 152 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on front-wheel-drive Aerios, and a four-speed automatic is optional. The optional all-wheel-drive system is only available with the automatic transmission.
Side airbags and four-wheel antilock brakes are standard on all Aerios. In crash tests conducted by the NHTSA, the Suzuki Aerio earned four stars (out of five) for its protection of the driver in frontal impacts, and three stars for front-passenger protection. NHTSA side-impact tests on an Aerio without side airbags returned a perfect five-star rating for the front seat, and four stars for the back. In frontal-offset crash testing conducted by the IIHS, the Aerio earned a "Good" rating, the highest possible. In IIHS side-impact testing, an Aerio with side airbags earned a "Poor" rating, the lowest.
Interior Design and Special Features
With an overall height 3 to 4 inches greater than most vehicles in its class, the Suzuki Aerio boasts a surprising amount of passenger and cargo room, and passengers will find it easy to get in and out. Sedans offer a generous 14.6 cubic feet of trunk space; wagons provide 21 cubic feet with the rear seats in use and 63.7 cubic feet when they're folded. Interior plastics are low in quality compared to the class leaders in the economy car segment. In the past, all Aerios had a hard-to-read digital instrument panel, but Suzuki replaced it with an analog gauge pack last year, while adding a couple of sorely needed storage areas.
Solid power from the standard four-cylinder engine makes the 2006 Suzuki Aerio impressively peppy for daily commutes; match it with either the automatic or the manual, and you can't lose. The Aerio provides a smooth ride on the highway, but the cost is excessive body roll around corners that is accentuated by the car's tall stance. Opting for the all-wheel-drive system gives the Aerio true all-weather capability.