As an entry level wagon, 2005 Suzuki Forenza offers budget-minded buyers a spacious wagon with a good supply of standard features. But as a debut vehicle, it's also unproven in resale market and has shortcomings that ideally define its position in marketplace.
My weekly test drive was LX wagon, one of 10 available Forenza models in 2005. The 2.0-liter, 16-value, 126-horsepower engine has a four-speed automatic transmission, only option.
The vehicle has good mileage estimates for its class, and wagon accelerates adequately in city driving scenarios. But it's sluggish and needs a full-throttle jolt on steady highway inclines or in a quickly needed lane-change situation.
The Forenza wagon isn't particularly quiet on open road and ride quality is marginal, with bumps easily felt and overall feel a little stiff. But as an economically priced wagon, Forenza also has several features that warrant its consideration.
The vehicle's exterior is designed nicely, with a contoured body, alloy wheels, fog lamps, and a power tilt slide sunroof. My test vehicle's test color was listed as "Fantasy Black," and exterior was complemented by cloth light gray seats.
Several passengers mentioned that while Forenza looks small from outside, they were surprised by interior spaciousness. One 6-foot-2 friend sat in back seat and had more than a one-inch clearance. He said headroom was more than he's had in back seats of some SUVs.
The same is true from driver's seat perspective. As a 6-foot driver, I had good head clearance and leg room. The spacious interior extends to cargo area, which is wide, easily accessible from back seat and has a convenient hatchback style entry.
The interior of Forenza seemingly has one general theme - simplicity. Radio controls and other instrumentation are easy to use and have a straightforward design. The instrument panel numbers have retro-style lettering, and back panel has an attractive light green tone when illuminated. Another nice feature is dashboard design. Its textured pattern looks like (and feels like) surface of golf balls - if they were black.