2008 Suzuki Forenza Performance
The Forenza offers decent performance for around town driving, but little else, contributing to a mediocre performance score. Car and Driver jokes, "I produce more horsepower buttering my toast than the Forenza's four-banger does."
U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman notes, "The Forenza doesn't deliver much pizzazz, but the ride is stable and firm. Handling is adequate."
Acceleration and Power
The only engine available on the Forenza is a 16-valve 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that makes 127 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque. Engine performance is acceptable for basic everyday driving conditions. According to Car and Driver, the Forenza goes from zero to 60 in a modest 11-second time. Kelley Blue Book reports, "The 2.0-liter engine is not big on power, but if it's just you and one other person onboard, the Forenza's acceleration should be enough to get you down the highway and around traffic." However, if you are specifically looking for power, the Suzuki Forenza is not for you. "Driving it through the mountains is a chore. Hesitate with the gas, and -- boom -- you're going 55 mph," says Car and Driver.
The engine can be paired with the standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. Most reviewers found a slight but noticeable difference in acceleration between the manual transmission and the more sluggish automatic. "The four-speed automatic was unbelievably slow to downshift at highway speeds from fourth into third, leaving the driver waiting impatiently -- perhaps in a mild state of panic -- for extra acceleration," says the.
The Forenza's small-car designation and four-cylinder engine do not automatically translate into good fuel economy. With the manual transmission, the EPA estimates that the Suzuki Forenza gets 20 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. With the optional automatic transmission, the Forenza gets 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Both of these estimates are still well below the fuel economy ratings of other cars in this class. Still, the calls it "an economical family hauler" that is "a lot cheaper to operate than most SUVs."
Handling and Braking
Although reviews on handling are mixed, the majority of reviewers agree that overall, the ride quality for the Suzuki Forenza is comparable to that of other cars in its class. According to the Kelley Blue Book has a similar view, stating, "The ride is relatively smooth, so long as the pavement remains civilized, and body roll and pitch are held in check in all but the most extreme maneuvers. The 15-inch tires are designed more for comfort than performance, which seems fitting for the Forenza's mission in life." Contributing to the handling experience is an independent MacPherson-strut front suspension and independent dual-link rear suspension that work together to provide a comfortable ride and decent handling capabilities. "It's a tried and true setup that does its job well, and is well-sorted in this car, with few extraneous ride motions, and an overall comfortable ride," says New Car Test Drive., "On the road, the Forenza's ride isn't as quiet as a Toyota Corolla's, but it's comparably smooth. Handling is limited by the smallish 15-inch tires."
A vocal minority of reviewers are less impressed Forenza's handling and ride quality, due to below-average steering. Edmunds says that "the Suzuki Forenza exhibits soft, rubbery handling and poorer ride quality than many of its competitors, as well as excessive wind noise at times on the highway." About.com reports, "The Forenza wanders…on the freeway, so I found myself making constant corrections, and after half an hour on the freeway my hands were starting to ache. I can't imagine taking this car on a six-hour drive and having to fight the steering all the way."
Four-wheel disc brakes come standard on the 2008 Forenza and according to most reviewers, they perform well. "Standard four-wheel disc brakes a nice plus in this price range, provide fine pedal feel," reports Consumer Guide. Braking distance is adequate -- Motor Week notes that with the "ABS, stops from 60 averaged a good 130 feet." Although ABS is optional on all trim levels, it has the added benefit of Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), which helps to maximize stopping power by taking into account variables such as speed, load weight and road conditions.