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Quentin Crisp once said, "If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style." It's a message Suzuki wisely took to heart in its expeditious handling of the short-lived Verona.
Sold as the Daewoo Magnus internationally, the Suzuki Verona was launched on U.S. shores in model-year 2004, a reflection of Suzuki's desire to carve its niche in the lucrative midsize sedan segment. The Verona came armed with one of the lowest price tags in the segment, along with a decent interior and pleasant ride quality. Still, it became immediately apparent that the sedan's modest charms weren't enough to lure buyers in this highly competitive segment.
Suzuki's sales goals were by no means overly ambitious -- the manufacturer hoped to sell a meager 25,000 Veronas per year. Sales fell short of even these humble expectations as consumers were turned off by the car's lack of key safety features and unimpressive handling and performance. Suzuki quickly called it a day, killing the Verona in 2006. However, the manufacturer hasn't let go of its dream of conquering the midsize sedan segment. Suzuki has announced plans to re-enter the category in the near future with an all-new vehicle.
Most Recent Suzuki Verona
Available in a single generation spanning 2004-'06, the Suzuki Verona midsize sedan was the largest car in Suzuki's roster at this time. With one of the lowest price tags in its segment, this Suzuki was designed to appeal to buyers wanting an inexpensive way into the midsize sedan category.
Verona buyers got a car with handsome though nondescript looks, and a wheelbase roughly equal to that of a Honda Accord. The most inexpensive Verona was the S trim, which came with keyless entry, 15-inch wheels, cruise control, air-conditioning, full power accessories and a CD player. Next up was the LX, which added climate control, 16-inch alloys and auxiliary remote steering wheel controls. Those who chose the Verona EX benefited from additional features like an electrochromatic rearview mirror, heated seats and a power moonroof. Traction control was the only option, available solely on the EX.
This family sedan was more notable for what it didn't offer than for what it did. Convenience features like a tilt and telescoping steering wheel and one-touch up/down windows weren't available, even though they were commonly found elsewhere in the midsize segment. Also absent was an in-dash CD changer. Its safety features list also came up short, as the Verona initially failed to offer side and head curtain airbags. (Side airbags were eventually added, however.)
Inside its cabin, the Suzuki Verona drew favorable comparisons to the Honda Accord and Volkswagen Passat. Gauges were pleasant to look at and some materials did a nice job of conveying an air of quality. Materials weren't universally up to snuff, though. The Verona's leather was coarse to the touch, and plastics on the dash felt cheap. Control stalks were flimsy relative to those of other cars in its class.
The car's engine, a 2.5-liter inline six-cylinder producing 155 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, struggled laboriously to help the Verona accomplish even the most basic passing maneuvers and distinguished itself as one of the weakest in its class -- even relative to competing sedans' inline four-cylinder engines. On the plus side, the car's four-speed transmission made the best of the situation with well-timed shifts.
Suzuki took steps to make the Verona more palatable. In 2005, the car got long-overdue side airbags, along with a standard tire-pressure monitoring system and a trunk-mounted tool case. LX models benefited from a standard sunroof. Antilock brakes became standard in 2006; the trim lineup was also condensed into two trims, the Base (which was similar to the former S) and the Luxury (similar to the ES).
In editorial reviews, the Suzuki Verona's driving experience proved to be a disappointment. Acceleration was lackluster and the car was wobbly around turns; steering, too, came up short, feeling disconnected from the road. In its favor, the Verona offered capable brakes and a comfortable ride.
In the end, though, even Clarence Darrow would be hard-pressed to win a case for the Verona. Although inoffensive, it simply didn't measure up to its rivals; in an Edmunds.com comparison test of 10 midsize sedans, the Suzuki Verona was the last-place finisher. Used-car buyers seeking dirt-cheap prices in this segment would be better served by choices like the Hyundai Sonata or Chevrolet Malibu instead.