Last post on Oct 17, 2013 at 4:16 AM
You are in the Suzuki Verona
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Suzuki Verona, Sedan
#1181 of 1859 My Verona Experience, Pt 1: Purchasing
Apr 15, 2005 (1:28 am)
I gotta say, I love my '04 Verona S, Sapphire Gray.
I needed a new(ish) car, because I was going to move to Hawaii and didn't think it was worth it to ship my '91 Corolla. My other car (staying with the wife) is a '01 Honda CRV. These are my benchmarks.
I was pleased with the Corolla, and liked the CRV. My main complaint with the CRV was road noise on trips, and engine noise going up any sort of grade. I was miffed that I paid Accord-level price for Civic-level 'luxury'. Not that there's anything wrong with Civic, for the price.
I really couldn't afford the $20k for a decent Camcord, though, so I resigned myself to getting a Civic VP for about $14k. But when I went to look at 'em, the dealer had slapped stuff I didn't want on it for an extra $1k, and the dash looked extremely cheap and cheesy, not at all what I expected from a Civic (I had also owned a '95 Civic before). I was also put off by having to go up to $18k to get one with remote keyless entry, and that I got lots of other stuff I didn't want for that $18k.
So I decided to try a Ford Focus. I'd heard so much about their "precise European handling". It didn't feel any better than my CRV or decade-old Corolla. I felt every bump, and felt like I was shoulder-to-shoulder with the salesman. Plus it would be $17k for the options I wanted.
So he recommended a '05 Forenza. I was dubious: crap car with lousy reputation, right?
But I was hooked from the test drive. Great brakes (the least understood factor of performance). Tight steering. Smooth. Comparitively roomy, the salesman's shoulder was inches away. It looked like a Grown-up car. I drove a Verona for comparison, but wasn't thinking that direction.
The things I wanted required the LX trim. But for that same price, I could get an unsold '04 Verona S, with even more room, more extras, more power, and nearly the same gas mileage, and looked even more Grown-up/sophisticated. I could pick up my CEO from the airport in this car and not feel embarassed.
I spent a few days teasing the dealership, finally closed at $14,700 with $500 for my trade-in, final price of $14,200. I'll add alloy wheels myself later, the only thing I wanted that I didn't get, and I'll probably get nicer looking ones for cheaper than the $500 Suzuki would have charged me.
I loved the car from the first.
The problem with the engine bothered/puzzled me slightly, until I looked at Consumer Reports complete book of 2004-5 car reviews. Here's the thing (and I'd think Alpha01 would understand this, if he wants to get into the car business): most car manufacturers assume: 4-cyl for fuel economy, 6 cyl for power/speed. Among all the 4-cyls, the larger ones have approx. 2-5l displacement, the same as the Verona, whereas most of the 6-cyl have 3.5l or higher. There's no way you can compare that much displacement with a 2.5l engine!
So compared to the 4cyl, the Verona's 2.5l I-6 accelerates the car just about as quickly (despite the much larger, heavier body) for only 3-5 mpg less. At $3/gallon, that actually works out to only about $200/year in fuel costs, or $1k for the entire time I intend to own the car. The other comparably-equipped 4cyl Japanese cars are at least $3k more...
Driving the Verona, it is as smooth as silk. It has plenty of power for my needs. I have noted some of the reviews are contradictory, yes, but I'm more puzzled about the seemingly deliberate misinformation.
For instance: shouldn't professional car reviewers note what I did about the engine size? That if you want to compare the engine, you should compare it to other engines in the 2.5l range? And isn't it then inethical to not point out the smoothness to someone who might appreciate it? I notice that while the Verona is supposedly weak/underpowered, the brand new Jetta has a 2.4l I-5 engine that puts out 150hp and 170ft-lbs of torque, yet hits the quarter mile and 0-60mph only fractions of a second faster...yet no one calls that car weak or underpowered! And the fit, finish, and quality of the Verona surely equals that of a $21k (as tested) Jetta. Why the disparity in reviews?
Another reviewer complained that the cupholder could only hold a 12oz can, not a 32oz cup. I found that not only will the holder accept a 44oz cup, it holds it far more securely than any car I've ever ridden in! Why the seemingly deliberate falsehood? Most of the reviewers said it has mushy or unresponsive steering...but it steers and handles far better than the lauded Focus, and better than the CRV (which Consumer Reports says has tight, responsive steering). I just don't get it.
It doesn't matter much, because I bought the car, and I love it, and I know it is simply the best car out there at this price. It makes no difference to me whether 5 other people buy it or 500,000 (except for resale value). But I am concerned that people who should know better seem to be looking for ways to criticize it or otherwise not give it its fair due. Professional jealousy? Worried about looking dumb for recommending an unknown car from a derided manufacturer?
...but it is true that no one knows about this car. I didn't. If it weren't for a sharp salesman, I wouldn't own this car. I've impressed all my friends and family with it. They can't believe the price I got (and I probably should have done better). Everyone loves the looks and the comfort.
Oh, yeah: Hyundai is getting great reviews for its fit/finish/quality. But most reviews also say Hyundai does use cheap materials, whereas nearly every review of the Forenza/Verona said it used good-quality materials. My friends in the car business agree that Hyundai may have better quality workmanship now, but because of the cheaper materials, it still disintegrates on you before 100k miles, just about the time it is paid off.
Bottom line: I love my Verona, and additions of HP or torque or fuel economy at this point make no difference. However, they have a potential "Suzuki Fanatic for Life" in me with as much as I love my Verona...what they do in the next 5 years will make a difference. If they don't close the gap on Camcord's engine performance to go along with the price increase I expect (they can't stay value-priced forever), or if the car has bunches of niggling breakdowns of minor parts, they'll lose that chance. Hear that, Suzuki? Impress me!
#1182 of 1859 My Verona Experience, Pt II: Driving/Owning
Apr 15, 2005 (1:43 am)
4k miles, absolutely zero problems with it to date.
But my Verona seemed good to go "out of the box". No apparent break-in period.
I got 20mpg city driving from the get-go.
After driving it 3 weeks, I took a roadtrip from Spokane, WA to Bozeman, MT, then in one day went to Denver, CO...and then 2 days later I did the entire 16-hour drive from Denver to Spokane in one day.
I averaged 28-30 mpg throughout that trip.
Impressions: crossed three passes going to Bozeman...the first and second through rain/snow/sleet/slush. The car did great at 70mph, never felt any traction problems at all.
After 9.5 hours turned into 10.5 hours because I got lost after arriving at Denver, I got out of the car and felt totally fine. No stiffness or fatigue at all. And I'm pushing 40! Absolutely the most comfortable car I've ever driven. My CRV causes pain after 6 hours, my Corolla after just 4-5.
The car cruises awesome. I noticed the 3-4mph loss when setting the cruise control, but that's happened in every car I've ever had cruise control on, so no big deal. On the other hand, unlike every other car's cruise control, it stayed steady on 77 mph, regardless of up or downslope. And if someone forced me to brake, hitting resume meant a smooth and swift return to the set speed. No jerkiness or over-revving at all. Moreover the sound system is great, combined with low road noise. At 6 you can still talk with people, but also still hear all the subtleties of the music. I never noticed any wind noise at all, despite gusting through Wyoming.
On the long trip back, I did start feeling tired at 10 hours, stiffness at 14 hours, and pain at 15 hours. Still, though, with all the driving I'd done in just that weekend, I can't complain.
I also noticed that the only time the cruise control had problems at all with the grade was going up to the Continental Divide east of Butte, where it was better for me to drop out and keep it at 70 to avoid keeping it in the passing gear.
At Lookout and 4th of July Passes in Idaho, I tried to keep it in cruise control going around some 50-mph corners at 75 or so. At first I kept chickening out, until I discovered that if I felt I was at the limit of traction, I could just cut it a little tighter and the car would settle in and corner like it was on rails. Huh.
So the next week, when I drove it to Seattle (to ship to Hawaii), I tried to see if I could make it over the pass and into Seattle without ever touching the brake.
75 mph and it did it easily, without a single white-knuckle feeling. In the rain.
Yeah, I love my car.
I got admiring glances at it at a convenience store in Montana, and a flag-lady turned to look at it in Wyoming. A friend in Denver said it looked better than a Camry. Another friend in Seattle couldn't believe its pep.
Now, obviously I'd have much higher expectations if I'd spent $25k on it, or even $20k. But I think I'd still be proud and pleased and smug at the value I'd gotten if I'd paid $17k. I think a straight-up comparison to a similarly equipped Camry, Accord, or Altima with a 2.5l engine would make the Verona look worse in numbers, sure...but you buy a car to drive it, not look at numbers, and Verona wins all the intangibles, including look, comfort, smoothness, quietness, and sophisticated look.
So I'm giddy that I got it for less than $15k. I love it more with each week. I leave for Hawaii tomorrow...can't wait to pick it up!
#1183 of 1859 Re: My Verona Experience, Pt 1: Purchasing [brainfertilize]
Apr 15, 2005 (2:43 pm)
Yes, the Verona "S" does offer real value. You got a good deal. Although, I still would have considered the Forenza - due to the parking situation in Hawaii! Good luck with your purchase!
#1184 of 1859 Re: My Verona Experience, Pt 1: Purchasing [chuck1]
Apr 15, 2005 (3:58 pm)
Well, the tight turning radius on the Verona should keep things easy. And it is still smaller than my CRV, which I purchased and drove there for about 4 months back in 2001.
#1185 of 1859 Re: motorcity [motorcity]
Apr 16, 2005 (8:42 am)
motorcity, I'm interested in the chrome exhaust tip you purchased. Did you have to cut the original tip on your muffler to get it to br straight out? My original tip is pointed downward, it seems I would have to cut off the downward curve to get it straight out the back.
#1186 of 1859 Re: Car is back... [rasup]
Apr 16, 2005 (8:42 pm)
I think I know what your problem is, rasup. If you look under the skin I bet you will find a Mercedes or BMW there. Someone put that beautiful Verona skin on a German car. That is why it has been in the shop so often. lol I should know. Those German cars are great drivers but mine liked to live at the shop. That's why I switched to my Verona, an '04 EX. I have over 18k miles on it and it has only been in the shop for oil changes. The quietest and smoothest car I have ever owned and I have owned a lot of new cars in the last 40 years.
Apr 17, 2005 (9:20 am)
I guess the red flag should have went up when people found out that Suzuki had nothing to do with the design or quality control of these cars. Suzuki is just the marketing agent here for GM. At least Suzuki dealers are for the most part very helpful and are doing their best. When we had our Chrysler we felt like we were left alone in the desert. Chrysler and it's dealers were of no help. When they replaced something it was with another faulty part. So far all the stories on the Verona can't add up to all the problems we had on one car. our folder was about four inches thick with service tickets. Problems started at 500 miles and the car was in the shop for something new every week after that until the engine failed just after the warranty went out.. not lot lessen anyone's problems... It just goes to show you know one is immune. From what i hear MB and Audi are just as problem prone and look at the price people are paying to spend time in rental cars with them. .
#1188 of 1859 Re: GM typical [chrisducati]
Apr 17, 2005 (3:13 pm)
"I guess the red flag should have went up when people found out that Suzuki had nothing to do with the design or quality control of these cars."
Your statement is only partially correct. It is my understanding that a different transmission was speced by Daewoo (Asan- I think). But a change was done at the last minute to a GM transaxle. I heard there were other changes made by GM as well. The Daewoo Leganza had a reputation as pretty reliable. I believe the Verona COULD HAVE BEEN just as good. As far as the Audi and Mercedes owners are concerned, I am not sure about Audi-but Mercedes sells a heck of a lot of more cars than Suzuki in the U.S. So-it goes back to shear numbers. But you are correct, there have been many problems with the 200 series Mercedes.
#1189 of 1859 Not a lot of Veronas sold in the US
Apr 20, 2005 (12:05 am)
While waiting for my car to arrive here in Hawaii, I've been driving an '05 Chevy Malibu V6 for the last 3 days.
It has more power, and can really pin you back in the seat.
But the power is jerky, you have to floor the pedal to get it (it isn't smooth or immediate or in proportion to your pressure); the car is nimble, but doesn't lock in to the turn like my Verona. It's styling is adequate, but not well-planned or attractive.
It's just not a fun car to drive. I'm totally bored after 3 days.
I still got (will get) a thrill driving the Verona after 3 weeks.
It does what I want, when I want, with style and grace. Since I got used to my Verona, every other car I've driven seems loud and noisy. Sure, that's just the Malibu, a CRV, a Focus, and a '98 Camry...
But even though there will be probably 10 times as many Malibus sold as Veronas, I don't think Chevy should be proud that an '04 Verona is more fun than their '05 Malibu, despite all its horsepower.
Suzuki is only losing due to brand recognition.
While I'd love to see Suzuki get the credit I think they deserve, my pocket book hopes they sell just enough cars to make it worth it for them to keep selling cars at rock-bottom prices and excellent value.
...as long as they fix whatever quality control problems that contributed to the complaints on this board (although I haven't had a single one yet)
Apr 20, 2005 (12:18 pm)
Considering that the Verona is really a 2000 model Daewoo Magnus, GM should not be proud at all of the Malibu, or any other model they have.
The only problem I have experienced with my 6 year old Daewoo Leganza is that I cannot tolerate driving any other car . I am sure that you will experience something similar with the Verona.