Used 2008 Suzuki Forenza
Pros & Cons
- Low price, spacious cabin, available wagon model.
- Below-average fuel economy, leisurely acceleration on models with the automatic transmission, sloppy handling, lack of refinement, discouraging crash test scores.
List Price Estimate
$1,645 - $2,996
Used Forenza for SaleSee all for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2008 Suzuki Forenza falls short of just about everything else in the highly competitive economy car class.
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.
Suzuki Forenza models
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.
The 2008 Suzuki Forenza features very minor changes from last year, including chrome inside door handles and available Bluetooth.
Performance & mpg
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.
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.
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.
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Trending topics in reviews
- fuel efficiency
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Most helpful consumer reviews
4/5 stars, Great for a Student/ or someone on a budget even
4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
I bought this car used at 90k miles, the only problems I had the first year was one of the headlights (easily fixed not a big issue), year two the car is now at 137k miles, I have only had to do the regular with this car occasional oil changes, one alignment (due to me), new tires ( because as I said I bought it used and the tires were pretty through). The most expensive issue I've had with this car was the alternator, which is not really expensive compared to other issues that could have arisen. As far as comfort this car is extremely roomy for someone who not too tall or too overweight, it's not made to be a family car in my opinion( for a big family at least...get an SUV or mini van if that's what you're looking for) However, I can comfortably fit five people in my car with enough space for everyone. The trunk space is perfect, and the interior space is as well granted I don't have a back seat full of car seats. When it comes to the sound system, I have the original still in mine because it sounds just fine.
5/5 stars, Great car if you know how to take care of one!
4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
Always great! Bought in 08, 130,000 miles. Great on gas. Regular maintnence. Cheap parts!!
5/5 stars, Love my Suzuki!!!
4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
Bought my 08 Suzuki Forename in 2011 at 40k miles and love it!! Has been very reliable vehicle for me and my family the past 5 years now! As long as you keep regular maintenance like changing oil every 3,000 miles and so forth the car is worth it!! Has never left us stranded great little car and great on gas!! Still running strong at 112k miles!
1/5 stars, DO NOT BUY THIS CAR WHATEVER YOU DO!
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!!!!!!!!!
Features & Specs
- Base MSRP
- MPG & Fuel
- 19 City / 28 Hwy / 22 Combined
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.5 gal. capacity
- 5 seats
- Type: front wheel drive
- Transmission: 4-speed automatic
- Inline 4 cylinder
- Horsepower: 127 hp @ 5600 rpm
- Torque: 131 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm
- Basic Warranty
- 3 yr./ 36000 mi.
- Length: 177.2 in. / Height: 56.9 in.
- Overall Width with Mirrors: N/A
- Overall Width without Mirrors: 67.9 in.
- Curb Weight: 2800 lbs.
- Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 12.4 cu.ft.
Is the Suzuki Forenza a good car?
The Edmunds experts tested the 2008 Forenza both on the road and at the track. You probably care about Suzuki Forenza fuel economy, so it's important to know that the Forenza gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg to 23 mpg, depending on the configuration. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the Forenza has 12.4 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Suzuki Forenza. Learn more
Is the Suzuki Forenza reliable?
To determine whether the Suzuki Forenza is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the Forenza. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the Forenza's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more
Is the 2008 Suzuki Forenza a good car?
There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2008 Suzuki Forenza is a good car. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2008 Forenza is a good car for you. Check back soon for the official Edmunds Rating from our expert testing team Learn more
How much should I pay for a 2008 Suzuki Forenza?
The least-expensive 2008 Suzuki Forenza is the 2008 Suzuki Forenza 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $14,489.
Other versions include:
- 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A) which starts at $15,589
- 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M) which starts at $14,489
- 4dr Sedan w/Convenience Package (2.0L 4cyl 4A) which starts at $16,089
- 4dr Sedan w/Popular Package (2.0L 4cyl 4A) which starts at $16,789
- 4dr Sedan w/Convenience Package (2.0L 4cyl 5M) which starts at $14,989
What are the different models of Suzuki Forenza?
If you're interested in the Suzuki Forenza, the next question is, which Forenza model is right for you? Forenza variants include 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M), 4dr Sedan w/Convenience Package (2.0L 4cyl 4A), and 4dr Sedan w/Popular Package (2.0L 4cyl 4A). For a full list of Forenza models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more