Suzuki Compact Cars

Gone and kind of forgotten: here were the small-car offerings from Suzuki’s days in the US market.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Alita Dark
Suzuki withdrew from the US auto market over a decade ago, but here are the compact and subcompact cars it offered during its run from the mid-1980s to 2012. 
If the title of this article made you tilt your head to the side and think, “Suzuki? Do they still make cars?” don’t feel bad. Although still very much a presence in the international auto market, Suzuki withdrew from the US auto market in 2012, largely due to lackluster sales, disconcerting crash test ratings, and a general failure to compete against rival brands. They continue to sell motorcycles and marine motors in the US, but not cars. 
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Suzuki compact and subcompact car models

The most commonly known Suzuki models are their petite SUVs, the Sidekick and the Samurai—but they made some compact cars as well. Let’s take a peek!

Suzuki SX4

The little
Suzuki SX4
was available as a sedan, a wagon, and a hatchback and was sold between 2007 and 2012. Today, a late-model SX4 costs around $5,000 to $7,000 on the used car market. The SX4 had available all-wheel drive, lots of cargo room, and a standard navigation system on the higher trim levels—which was pretty cool back in 2012. 
Gas mileage was good but nothing to write home about. The interior was pretty spartan, which was in keeping with the make’s overall vibe. Owner reviews ran the gamut from people who thought it a well-kept secret to those who called it a “disposable junk car.” Seems a little harsh, if you ask us. 

Suzuki Aerio

This compact sedan was sold between 2002 and 2007 and is kind of indicative of Suzuki’s overall problems in the US market at the end of its tenure. Was it cheap? Yes—in both a good and a bad sense. The interior was full of subpar materials, the ride was mushy and unrefined, and the crash test results were pretty dismal. Not a good trio of traits to have in a market that was shifting towards placing a high priority on both value and safety. 
On the plus side, it had optional all-wheel drive and a roomy interior for a compact car. The MSRP for a
Suzuki Aerio
in 2007 was a highly competitive $14,000 to $16,000, but it still paled in comparison to what rivals were offering for comparable costs. Today, a used 2007 Aerio is around $2,000 to $3,000

Suzuki Reno

Suzuki Reno
was a four-door hatchback sold from 2005 to 2008 and was essentially only available in a few trim levels. The Reno was affordable (about $15,000 in 2008) and had lots of cargo room along with a generous amount of standard features
But the same issues that plagued the Aerio were also present in the Reno. The performance was decidedly meh, the fuel economy was underwhelming, and the quality was spotty as best. Though it looked good on paper, the Reno fell to the bottom of the heap in the real world. Words that frequently appeared in reviews of the Reno were “unrefined,” “inconsistent,” and “subpar.” 

Suzuki Forenza

Suzuki Forenza
was available as a sedate sedan and a grocery-gettin’ station wagon and was sold between 2004 and 2008. What can we say here that isn't repetitive? The Forenza was spacious and economically priced. You can pick one up today for just a few thousand bucks. (Its poor crash test ratings can give your commute an exciting infusion of danger?) Let’s move on. 
Like all the other compacts on this list, the Forenza, unfortunately, serves as an answer to the question, “Why doesn’t Suzuki sell cars in the US anymore?” To quote a withering line from an Edmunds review, “The 2008 Suzuki Forenza falls short of just about everything else in the highly competitive economy car class.” Ouch, man. Page the doctor to the burn ward. 

Other small Suzuki models

They’re not compact cars, but here are a few other models that Suzuki sold during its US run: 
  • Suzuki Samurai: This was Suzuki’s first four-wheel drive vehicle in the US, and it was a runaway hit. Its incredibly low price tag and
    gleefully silly ad campaign
    helped make it popular beyond Suzuki’s wildest dreams, and the manufacturer struggled to meet demand after its 1986 debut. However, a debacle over the Samurai’s propensity to tip over caused demand to plummet in the late ‘80s, and the Samurai (and Suzuki, really) never recovered in the US market. But wait…plot twist! Today, Suzuki Samurais are highly prized collectibles and are extremely popular with the custom-modding, off-roading crowd.  
  • Suzuki Sidekick: The slightly larger Suzuki Sidekick was introduced after the Samurai and also remains popular today among off-roading enthusiasts. This little trucklet was sold from 1988 to 1998 and fell out of favor when SUVs trended toward the “bigger is better” arena.
  • Suzuki Grand Vitara: The
    Grand Vitara
    was another SUV that did not fare well against more powerful competitors at the time. It was sold between 1999 and 2012 but was never very popular. 
If you travel abroad, you’ll see a good amount of Suzukis on the road. But in the US, not so much. Catch you on the flip side, Suzuki. 

Does Suzuki still sell cars in other countries?

Yes, you can still purchase Suzuki cars in other countries! They may be gone from the US market, but Suzuki is doing quite well in the international scene. As one pundit quipped in 2012, “The US doesn’t need Suzuki, and Suzuki doesn’t need the US.” Apparently, that turned out to be true.
MORE: Everything you need to know about Suzuki electric cars

How to save on your car insurance

Suzuki insurance costs
are likely to be pretty reasonable as all the cars are older. Even so, every little bit counts, and
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