2005 Suzuki Reno EX (548)


This week we’re looking at the 2005 Suzuki Reno EX compact 5-seat sedan. This is a little big car in that it will seat 5 but it does feel small. But so did the C320, and for the money this is a great commuter or starter car for a young family on a tight budget. It is likely the best of the bunch for the money. See my top three picks below.

It is a sign of the times to see this Japanese carmaker opting to have this Reno assembled in Korea. Now even the Japanese are seeking less expensive labor to get their product to market at a profit. It is a definite sign they have achieved a standard of living second to none. Meaning their labor force has become too expensive for production line level of expertise. As I mentioned last time, such labor in China for example is 60-90 cents per hour. Korea must be competing and seeking to put their people to work also. It is no wonder the world is knocking at the door of developing country labor pools. The industrial revolution has now touched all parts of the globe. But it did take a century for others in the world to have the opportunity to share in the good life.

Handling & Performance:

Zips around like a bumper car. Just kidding. This is a real car and I felt right at home on the freeways as well. Ok, so it is a little intimidating when up against the big road hogs so prevalent today. Bigger isn’t better simply by virtue of size. OK, so there are some exceptions we won’t go into.


Commuter cookie cutter might characterize the look, but that’s because it has such clean lines and similar to the more stylish Mercedes Benz C320 Coupe for twice the money.

Fit and Finish:

Quite good especially for the money.


Excellent pricing. There is absolutely no excuse not to own a new car if ones ego can be left behind. Consider a young married couple that goes out to buy that Mercedes when they could have two – count them – two brand spanking new Reno’s. Go figure.


Outstanding considering what the car sells for. Bottom line, extras (especially electronics) are not that much in today’s world.

Consumer Recommendation:

This Reno makes a great statement that you can not only afford a new car, you can have it with most all the features of cars at twice the money. I can’t imagine why ABS is an option, but for the $500 it’s worth the price for the added safety it affords.

My picks in this field is Toyota Corolla to Win, Nissan Sentra to Place and the Suzuki Reno to Show – that is if I were a betting man.

The Competition: 

Suzuki Reno $13-17,000, Ford Focus $13-18,000, Pontiac Vibe $17-20,000, Toyota Corolla $14-18,000, Toyota Matrix $15-19,000, Dodge Neon $14-21,000, Subaru Impreza $18-32,000, Scion xA $12,530, Honda Civic $13-22,000, Hyundai Accent $10-11,000, Saturn ION $11-21,000, Nissan Sentra $13-18,000, Volkswagen Golf $16-20,000, Mitsubishi Lancer $14-35,000, Kia Rio $10,000 and Mazda 3 $14-19,000.

Good News: 

Decent fuel economy, great pricing and a very comfortable commuter.

Bad News:

Small, lightweight may concern many with all those big SUV’s on the road to contend with.

Standard Equipment: 

2.0 liter 126 hp 4 cylinder engine, 5-speed manual trans, power steering, 4-wheel disc brakes, air conditioning, dual front and side airbags, cruise control, audio system with CD / MP3, tilt steering wheel with remote audio controls, leather wrapped wheel and shift knob, 60/40 split folding rear seats, alloy wheels, fog lights, remote keyless entry, power windows and locks, power heated mirrors, power tilt / slide sunroof. Options: ABS brakes.

Gas Stats:

22 City and 30 Highway MPG


MSRP $15,349.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2005 – An Automotive Love Affair

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