2008 Suzuki Forenza Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Suzuki Forenza

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Suzuki Forenza Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 127 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Suzuki Forenza

  • The 2008 Suzuki Forenza falls short of just about everything else in the highly competitive economy car class.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Low price, spacious cabin, available wagon model.

  • Cons

    Below-average fuel economy, leisurely acceleration on models with the automatic transmission, sloppy handling, lack of refinement, discouraging crash test scores.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Suzuki Forenza features very minor changes from last year, including chrome inside door handles and available Bluetooth.

Full 2008 Suzuki Forenza Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Suzuki Forenza features very minor changes from last year, including chrome inside door handles and available Bluetooth.


On the British automotive TV show "Top Gear," celebrities get the chance to bomb around a track in a "reasonably priced car" to see who can achieve the best lap time. Watching Simon Cowell or Helen Mirren taking high-speed corners in a car so dreadfully unsuited for such an environment is quite hilarious and hardly a ringing endorsement for the car chosen for its inherent comic appeal as a cheap penalty box. The "reasonably priced car" in question is essentially the 2008 Suzuki Forenza, a Korean-made sedan that is also sold around the world as a Chevrolet or a Daewoo. Although we know you'll never take the reasonably priced Forenza to a track (we hope), we're not sure you'd want to take one home either.

Introduced in 2004 into the highly competitive economy car market, the Suzuki Forenza sedan and wagon are value-oriented alternatives intended for buyers on the margin, with a somewhat responsive four-cylinder engine, a roomy interior and a low price of entry. Further sweetening the deal, Suzuki tries hard to set the Forenza apart with a host of standard features, a seven-year, 100,000-mile drivetrain warranty and styling by Pininfarina. However, just one look at the Forenza will make you wonder if that's Al Pininfarina, and not the famed Italian design house that has penned such beauties as the Maserati Gran Turismo and countless classic Ferraris.

Under the hood of the 2008 Suzuki Forenza rests a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 127 horsepower -- less motivation than in its similarly priced SX4 sibling or other competitors. Despite the power deficit, we find the Forenza manages satisfactorily when shifted with the manual transmission, but feels burdened and underpowered when saddled with the four-speed automatic. Unfortunately, it's not particularly fuel efficient or refined either. With mileage ranging from 19 mpg city to 28 mpg highway, the Forenza is one of the least economical economy cars on the market.

Over-the-road manners and overall refinement are other weak areas -- the Forenza exhibits soft, rubbery handling and poorer ride quality than many of its competitors, as well as excessive wind noise at times on the highway. Inside, more disappointments await. Although even the standard Forenza is equipped with most of what you want and its attractive cockpit is among the roomiest in this class, it loses points with inconsistent/poor-quality materials that detract from an otherwise inviting environment.

On paper, the well-equipped 2008 Suzuki Forenza appears to offer rewarding value. Unfortunately, its unrefined nature, labored automatic-equipped acceleration, poor fuel economy and sloppy handling dynamics place it far behind the leaders in the compact segment like the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Mazda 3. Even if you really need the extra space of its available wagon body style, we recommend that you instead shop one of its more worthy competitors such as the Mazda 3, Pontiac Vibe or Scion xB. The Forenza may be reasonably priced, but it's not much of a car.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Suzuki Forenza is a compact car available as a sedan or wagon. It comes in a single trim level with available packages of grouped extras. Standard on all Forenzas are 15-inch steel wheels, a height-adjustable driver seat, air-conditioning, powered accessories and an eight-speaker stereo with CD player. The optional Convenience Package adds cruise control, steering-wheel audio controls and remote keyless entry. The Popular Package adds those items plus foglamps and a sunroof. Bluetooth is a dealer-installed accessory.

Powertrains and Performance

The Suzuki Forenza is powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder with 127 hp and 131 pound-feet of torque. It performs reasonably well when mated to the standard five-speed manual transmission, but the optional four-speed automatic slows things down a bit. EPA-estimated fuel economy is below average for such a modestly powered compact, too, returning just 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway for an automatic-equipped sedan.


The Suzuki Forenza offers standard front side-impact airbags and the stopping power of four-wheel disc brakes. For added security, ABS is optional with Convenience Package-equipped Forenzas. In government frontal-impact crash tests, the 2008 Suzuki Forenza earned four stars out of five. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it a second-best "Acceptable" rating for frontal-offset protection and a "Poor" rating for side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The cabin of the Suzuki Forenza is compromised by inconsistent materials quality and an overall lack of refinement and execution compared with the leaders in its class. There's better news out back, though, with lots of rear legroom for adults and a 60/40-split-folding seatback for extra utility. The Forenza sedan's trunk capacity is a reasonable 12.4 cubic feet, and the wagon offers a useful 62 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat folded.

Driving Impressions

The standard 2008 Suzuki Forenza has little difficulty keeping up with traffic unless it's equipped with the optional automatic transmission -- in which case acceleration weakens and highway maneuvers take a little planning. Compared with other compact/economy cars, the Forenza's suspension and ride quality are also unimpressive -- although somewhat soft and compliant, we found there's little control over bumps and ruts. Handling around corners is loose and unsure too, as the hardware allows excessive body roll and cheap tires exert minimal grip. Overall, we find the Suzuki Forenza to be a compromised, marginal player struggling too much to keep up with better-bred rivals.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

You'll regret getting this one

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Suzuki Forenza 4dr Sedan w/Convenience Package (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I got this back in March with 51,000 miles. The speakers are blown out, windows off track, airbag and check engine light are always on when car is on, the transmission slips. It wont go into reverse half the time, the air/heat wont completely turn off, it makes a bad noise when turning sharp to the right. Does anyone know what to do to get the engine light to go off and stay and the transmission to stop whacking out? I've been told it could be the transmission fluid but no local shop can do it cause it's a foreign car. I've been told transmission sensors or a new trans as well and even a catalytic converter problem.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Never buy, can't drive my

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Suzuki Forenza 4dr Sedan w/Convenience Package (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I got my Suzuki two years ago this month... Bought it wil 18,000 miles on it. To start, they replaced the transmission a day before I got it. Dealer never said anything and said nothing was wrong with it, that it belonged to an elderly woman who only used it to run errands... I get the car n 6 months later (4,000 miles if that!) they had to replace the transmission again! 35,000 miles currently n on its 3rd transmission and current will need replaced yet again cause its slipping. It randomly shuts off, speakers blown out, outside door handle paint is all off n dealer repainted them, check engine light goes on n off, gas light doesn't come on until your out of gas, Nd much more! Don't buy!!!

It gets me where i

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Suzuki Forenza 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I love my little baby car she gets me where I need to go. I live in Alaska so that is kind of saying something haven't gotten stuck or had problems with the car starting up in the freezing cold.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Do not buy this car

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Suzuki Forenza 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I have had this car for a little less than 2 years now, bought it in 2010 with about 35k on the engine. I have gotten regular oil changes by a friend at his home of mine who used to own a shop for years. I have taken good care of the motor just blew out of nowhere. I got to school one morning and it just started knocking and now I have to spend 4k on a new engine! It is still under warranty but they want reciepts for oil changes when I got mine done for free. So basically im screwed even though the car was taken care of. Many other problems. headlights burned out, transmission slipping, windows not powering right, AC this summer(I fixed), bateries run out quick..... Just dont buy it!!!!!!!!!

I like mine.

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Suzuki Forenza 4dr Sedan w/Convenience Package (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I bought my 2008 Suzuki Forenza last October with 30,400 miles on the odometer. My car has the 2.0 liter 4cyl and 5 speed manual transmission. I use the car daily for a 33 mile commute. I am pleased with the gas mileage I get. I am averaging 29-30 mpg and my commute is includes mixed city/country driving. The car now has about 36,800 miles. A few things have required repair - two new rear struts, new drive belt on the engine and new valve gasket on the engine. All of these items were repaired at no cost to me under the warranty.

Please don't buy a suzuki

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Suzuki Forenza 4dr Sedan w/Convenience Package (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

i bought my car about 2 years ago. it seemed ok at first until it started turning off out of nowhere. That is when all my problems began. i took it back over and over again only for them to look at me like I'm stupid tell me they couldn't find anything and sent me home. now my check engine light stays on all the time, my air bags won't turn on and quite frankly this car is worse than the 92 buick lesabre that i got rid of to get this. my sister has an 07 forenza and we seem to have the same problems within months of each other. coincidence i think NOT!

Talk About The 2008 Forenza

2008 Suzuki Forenza Discussions See all Started By

Well, as little a 3-4 months back, they had said the Reno would have a sporty model added to the line-up, and the Forenza would be re-worked(by Suzuki)....

In 2007 and 2008, the Forenza and Reno made up the bulk of both years sales. Even though they both sold better than any other Suzuki models, they were Daewoo-built Korean piles of CRAP and they only ...

I have a 2008 Forenza that I bought new. Five days ago I noticed another Forenza that was blowing black smoke. I thought that was strange so, when I got home I checked and sure enough there is a lot o...

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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