2008 Suzuki Reno Review

Pros & Cons

  • Lengthy standard equipment list, affordable, abundant storage, long warranty coverage.
  • Below-average fuel economy, weak acceleration with automatic transmission, poor road manners, inconsistent quality.
Other years
Suzuki Reno for Sale
List Price Estimate
$2,000 - $3,732

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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

Vehicle overview

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.

2008 Suzuki Reno models

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.

2008 Highlights

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

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2008 Suzuki Reno.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Better than experts say it is
Don,05/26/2008
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
Practical with a small kick
rye,05/31/2008
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
fun small car
rc,09/02/2009
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!
Great Buy
Tony,02/04/2010
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!

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Poor
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Acceptable

More about the 2008 Suzuki Reno

Used 2008 Suzuki Reno Overview

The Used 2008 Suzuki Reno is offered in the following submodels: Reno Hatchback. Available styles include 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 4A), 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M), 4dr Hatchback w/Convenience Package (2.0L 4cyl 4A), and 4dr Hatchback w/Convenience Package (2.0L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Suzuki Reno?

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Which used 2008 Suzuki Renos are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 2008 Suzuki Renos you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Suzuki Reno for sale - 2 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $23,947.

Find a used Suzuki for sale - 8 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $25,634.

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Should I lease or buy a 2008 Suzuki Reno?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Suzuki lease specials
Check out Suzuki Reno lease specials