What's New for 2007
For 2007, the Aerio SX wagon has been dropped.
After several years on the market -- and despite advantages like a roomy cabin and available all-wheel drive -- the compact front-wheel-drive Suzuki Aerio has struggled to boost its popularity in the marketplace. If you ask us, it probably has something to do with the Aerio's mediocre design, and it can be viewed as a second- or even third-string specialty player in the econocar game.
For 2007, only the Aerio sedan marches on for one more year -- the previous Aerio SX wagon has been replaced by the new all-wheel-drive Suzuki SX4 five-door hatchback. On the positive side, the Aerio's distinctive, aerodynamic styling is geared to appeal to youthful customers. And because it's 3-4 inches taller than most vehicles in its class, the 2007 Suzuki Aerio offers a generous amount of headroom and interior volume for its size. Legroom and cargo space also match or exceed that of most competitors.
Unlike other manufacturers, Suzuki offers just one engine for its compact sedan -- a 2.3-liter inline four-cylinder that puts out 155 horsepower. It offers more motivation than most of the competition, delivering impressive get-up-and-go for a car at its price point. Underneath, however, are more trade-offs: The Aerio's suspension uses MacPherson struts at all four corners, but they don't seem up to controlling the car's considerable body roll due to its relatively high center of gravity. As a result, the Aerio's soft suspension offers a smooth enough ride for freeway commuters but makes the car a little uneasy to drive more aggressively when the road twists and turns.
As we see it, the question is this. Does a relatively low price tag, decent power and an optional AWD system justify the purchase of an Aerio sedan, particularly in its final model year? In such a hotly contested segment, we'd certainly suggest checking out other newer, more refined competitors before the 2007 Suzuki Aerio -- particularly if you're looking for all-around competence and don't require all-wheel-drive traction.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Suzuki Aerio is offered as a surprisingly well-equipped four-door sedan in Base and Premium trim. Standard features on all include daytime running lights, a rear spoiler, automatic climate control, a six-speaker CD/MP3 stereo with steering-wheel controls, powered accessories, keyless entry, cruise control and an outside temperature readout. The Premium package adds an in-dash CD changer with seven-speaker sound, heated outside mirrors, variable-speed wipers and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Powertrains and Performance
All Aerios are powered by a 2.3-liter inline-4 that's good for 155 horsepower and 152 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on front-drive Aerios and a four-speed automatic is optional; the available all-wheel-drive system is offered on both models, but is only paired with the automatic transmission. Fuel economy is below average for this class: EPA estimates are 25 mpg city/31 mpg highway with a manual transmission.
All Suzuki Aerios are equipped with front side-impact airbags and four-wheel antilock brakes. In government frontal crash tests conducted by the NHTSA, the 2007 Suzuki Aerio earned four out of five stars for its protection of the driver and three stars for the front passenger. In independent frontal-offset crash testing conducted by the IIHS, the Aerio earned a "Good" rating, the highest possible. In IIHS side-impact testing, however, the Aerio earned a "Poor" rating, the lowest.
Interior Design and Special Features
Because of its height advantage, the Suzuki Aerio boasts a surprising amount of interior room for its size, and passengers will find getting in and out fairly easy. The Aerio sedan offers a generous 14.6 cubic feet of trunk space, too. Interior plastics quality and execution, unfortunately, are below average compared to the economy class leaders. A vastly improved analog gauge cluster carries over from last year, though, as do a couple of additional -- and badly needed -- storage areas.
Regardless of which transmission you choose, the torquey 155-hp four-banger makes the 2007 Suzuki Aerio sufficiently responsive for running errands around town or commuting. Although the Aerio provides a soft, smooth ride on the highway, there's a penalty to be paid: excessive body roll around corners, exacerbated by the car's relatively tall, tippy stance. Opting for all-wheel drive settles things down with a touch more stability under power, and also extends the Aerio's reach through all four seasons. In our opinion, that's one of the only reasons for considering an Aerio.