2008 Suzuki Reno Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Suzuki Reno Hatchback

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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 Reno 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 Reno

  • Though affordable, the 2008 Suzuki Reno is near the bottom of the list of subcompact hatchbacks due to its unrefined nature.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Lengthy standard equipment list, affordable, abundant storage, long warranty coverage.

  • Cons

    Below-average fuel economy, weak acceleration with automatic transmission, poor road manners, inconsistent quality.

  • What's New for 2008

    Other than the audio system being downgraded from eight speakers to four, the Suzuki Reno sees no changes for 2008.

Full 2008 Suzuki Reno Review

What's New for 2008

Other than the audio system being downgraded from eight speakers to four, the Suzuki Reno sees no changes for 2008.


When Bruce Springsteen sang "one step up and two steps back" for his song, "One Step Up," he could have been referring to the 2008 Suzuki Reno. That is, if he had the ability to see into the future and suddenly had an interest in crooning about a Suzuki economy car instead of cool rides like a '69 Chevy with a 396 or a Pink Cadillac.

On paper, the Reno looks competitive. Indeed, it boasts a generous standard features list, a long warranty and a 127-horsepower engine, the latter one of the most potent in the class. But when equipped with the automatic transmission -- which is how most folks are going to equip their Renos -- Suzuki's least-expensive car suffers the double humility of mediocre performance along with so-so fuel efficiency. In fact, the Reno posts mileage numbers that are among the lowest of cars in its price range. Go with the manual gearbox and performance is respectable, though fuel mileage still lags behind the others. The Reno's sloppy reflexes and less than composed ride, along with noticeable wind noise at freeway speeds, are nothing to brag about either.

Although entry-level shoppers may be tempted by the Reno's pricing, which is about a grand under rivals such as the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa, we'd advise them to skip the 2008 Suzuki Reno and pony up for one of its superior competitors.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Suzuki Reno is a four-door hatchback that essentially comes in one trim level. Standard Reno features include heated side mirrors, air-conditioning (with cabin air filtration), tilt steering wheel, full power accessories and a four-speaker CD/MP3 audio system.

An optional Convenience Package adds an automatic transmission, remote keyless entry, steering-wheel audio controls, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever, cruise control and security alarm.

Powertrains and Performance

The Reno comes with a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder generating 127 hp and 131 pound-feet of torque. Paired with the standard five-speed manual transmission, it performs decently. The available four-speed automatic shifts smoothly, but its lackluster response dulls performance.

Adding insult to injury is less than average fuel efficiency. Manual Renos rate 20 mpg city and 28 highway, while the automatic rates 19/28, respectively. Most rivals achieve anywhere from 5 to 8 mpg better.


Front side-impact airbags and four-wheel disc brakes are standard. Antilock brakes are optional. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the 2008 Suzuki Reno earned an "Acceptable" (second-highest) rating for frontal-offset crash protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

In an effort to spice things up a bit inside, Reno designers installed an attractive set of gauges surrounded by metallic accents which extend to the rest of the dash and console areas. Unfortunately, there's still too much cheap gray plastic everywhere else. Folks with lots of stuff will enjoy a multitude of storage compartments, and drivers looking to get more comfortable will appreciate the Reno's highly adjustable driver seat. In back, passengers are treated to competitive leg- and shoulder room, along with a fold-down center armrest.

Cargo capacity is less than 9 cubic feet with the rear seat up, but thanks to the hatchback architecture, opens up to a much more accommodating 45 cubic feet with the seat folded.

Driving Impressions

Equipped with the manual gearbox, the Reno has little difficulty merging or keeping up in traffic. However, when this little Suzuki is saddled with the available automatic transmission, acceleration weakens considerably and most maneuvers take some planning.

And compared with other budget-priced hatchbacks, the 2008 Suzuki Reno also comes up lacking in ride quality, as its soft suspension allows too much movement over bumps and ruts. Handling around corners is loose and unsure too, as there's excessive body roll while economy tires afford minimal grip. One bright spot is its four-wheel disc brakes, which provide short stopping distances despite a slightly spongy pedal.

Overall, however, we find the Suzuki Reno to be a compromised role player that struggles too much to keep up with more evolved, well-rounded competitors.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

My '08 reno

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Vehicle: 2008 Suzuki Reno 4dr Hatchback w/Convenience Package (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I just bought my '08 Reno a few days ago, and so far I'm very impressed with its performance and ride quality. MPG aren't too bad, but they could be a little better. For about 20-25 dollars you could expect to ride for a pretty good bit on a full tank. That's pretty good compared to a much bigger vehicle. My roommate has a minivan, and that take anywhere from thirty to forty dollars to fill up, and gas doesn't last half as long as it does in mine. I'm 24, and this is my very first vehicle, and so far I'm very happy, and well satisfied with my purchase.

Great buy

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Suzuki Reno 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I bought this '08 Reno with 2,400 miles on it. It's my ride from home to work and back. This is the first small car that I have ever owned. I traded in my '98 Lumina (168k miles)and $5400 cash and drove it off the lot. So many of the reviews have been less than complimentary, but as an owner, I think this is a great little car. 3 year/36k mile bumper to bumper, a 100k powertrain warranty, and 24 hour roadside assistance. I don't like the fact there aren't many dealerships around for service concerns, but I have only had one issue with the airbag light staying on all the time. Remember that you get what you pay for. I bought a 4-cylinder automatic. I don't expect to keep up with a Vette!

Fun small car

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Suzuki Reno 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

We bought this car with a sonata in mind but the price point was to much to pass up. Its peppy and quick for such a small engine. Plan to put on wheels, Cruise, tint and keyless with an alarm. Love it get lots of second looks in the parking lots. Put on a coat of turtle wax ice and it looks great. Only problem was pass seat airbag light but was resolved in one visit. 12k out the door cash and we are really happy with it! Lots of room for a small car and with some things like new wheels and tires maybe springs it will handle even better. Also try a k&n airfilter it will bump up the hp and gas mileage! Had a Suzuki motorcycle and this lives up to the name!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Practical with a small kick

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Vehicle: 2008 Suzuki Reno 4dr Hatchback w/Convenience Package (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I drive 90 miles a day and I get from 420 miles to 380 miles on a full tank of gas so the mileage is alright. Needs cruise but hey it's a good price on a car that get me to were I gotta go

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Better than experts say it

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Suzuki Reno 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I just purchased this vehicle but thought it odd there were no reviews from users on this vehicle (expert reviews are unkind). It truly is a bargain and drove every bit as well as a Ford Focus. Yes it is basic but for $240 a month for 60 months and 0 down how can you go wrong especially with the warranty this manufacturer offers. We all are facing some realities with gas prices escalating and while the given mileage specs aren't overly impressive most people are getting better than posted mileage. The interior is very nice a pleasent surprise This is the first time I have considered a compact car and I will be ok with this. I didn't feel silly in it and the Suzuki moniker adds intrigue

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Cool little car

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Suzuki Reno 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

Good car for the price with a good warranty. Comfortable, good looking. Lots of base price features. It's zippy, quiet, and rides well.

Talk About The 2008 Reno

2008 Suzuki Reno 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 ...

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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