For basic transportation and cargo hauling, this car is great! It has been rock-solid reliable at 135k miles. Anything over basic transportation, though, and you should look elsewhere. Although a lot of nice features and afterthoughts are included, Suzuki overlooked many of the basics. The lower dash and doors are soft plastic, which scratch and mar easily. The seats aren't particularly comfortable, though they feature several adjustments. Handling, acceleration, and braking are competent, but feel disconnected. I've averaged 24-26mpg combined throughout the life of the car.
Lock-up torque converter helps with acceleration and gas mileage, and is a unique feature (that's what the Hold button is for on the gearshift). Great cargo space. Adequate power delivery and acceleration for a 4-cyl. Many nice touch features for the price/ class. They're fairly inexpensive cars as well, both new and used. Headlights have hazed on top, but the fronts remain crystal clear. Durable auto transmission. Love all the storage compartments under the cargo floor and on the sides of the cargo area. Headroom and legroom is great in both the front and back seats.
Standard tires are an odd size; buy a more common size when replacing all 4 (like 185/60/R15). The steel rims are very soft steel, and bend easily. Fuel economy isn't stellar. Handling is neutral, not much feedback. ABS isn't standard. Parts and service availability is extremely limited outside the dealership. Cabin is noisy, but that's par for competitors as well. Factory stereo is anemic at best. Seats are not very comfortable for long trips.
although this is one of my favorite cars i have had, it has a lot of problems. it's estimated mpg is [non-permissible content removed]. i have never seen better than 25 mpg. it looks pretty ugly, paint is terrible and is chipping away. has no power what so ever. if i have my ac on and try to go i have to burn the clutch to hell. recently somebody tried to break into my car and messed the locking system up and the dealership wants to charge 1200 dollars for it. break light never goes off. dealer wants 2300 for that. and my airbag light is on, which again is 1200 dollars to fix. although i have no problems with the rims. take it off roading where i'm not supposed to be and can take the abuse.
stick is nice. radio control. seats are pretty comfy. heater works like a beast. trunk is quite large for the size of the car.
bigger engine. better suspension. needs a better horn. better sound system. better quality in the center counsel. auto door locks. needs a better look. more quality to it. try to make it more appealing. bring it back!
I bought my 2005 Forenza brand new. I've bent numerous rims on it (7), It's been through 2 transmissions only one of which was covered under the warranty, it's gone through 4 sets of tires and I'm happy to say I just traded it with 126,000 miles on a Ford Taurus. The gas mileage was horrible even thougg I did mostly highway driving. The car left me stranded on three seperate ocassions and I've had numerous electrical problems. Also went through 8 headlights.
If you're looking for a car in this catagory, stick with the old timers like Nissan, Honda, and Toyota. You may pay a little more up front but your cost of ownership will be significantly lower.