GO
Avg. Price Paid:$4,551 - $5,032
Original MSRP: $13,839 - $15,439
MPG: 20 City / 28 Hwy
Search Used Listings:

2008 Suzuki Reno Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Suzuki Reno was new.

The 2008 Suzuki Reno is plagued by slow acceleration, sloppy handling and only a moderate fuel economy. Despite this, many auto reviewers agree with the New York Times' assessment that it's still an "adequate" automobile.

Although Car and Driver claims that the Reno experience is a "very forgettable" one, it's hard to imagine not remembering such a noisy car. While Cars.com notes an audible "engine buzz when accelerating at low speeds," a reviewer at MSN says, "I heard this engine readily as I drove. I also heard as it downshifted and worked up a noisy buzziness to get the car up hilly roads. This is not a refined, quiet ride." Many agree. In fact, reviewers at Consumer Guide declare it altogether "intrusive." However, in evaluating the engine's power, Car and Driver declares that the four-cylinder delivers "strong performance for its class."

Acceleration and Power

The Suzuki Reno is powered by a 127-horsepower, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and makes 131 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. "The engine's torque delivery is quite strong in its midrange, permitting effortless motoring on freeways," says Car and Driver. It is available in both a five-speed manual (standard) and four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. According to Edmunds, "The Reno gets around OK when equipped with a manual transmission but feels underpowered with the automatic."

In regards to acceleration, Kelley Blue Book says, "The Reno accelerates adequately enough, but isn't going to win many races to the other side of the intersection." Edmunds adds, "When equipped with the manual gearbox, the Reno has little difficulty keeping up in traffic. However, when the Suzuki car is saddled with the automatic transmission, acceleration is weak and highway maneuvers take planning." According to Car and Driver, the "bottom line" is that drivers shouldn't street race. Instead, "just drive around like a sane citizen, and the car will work great."

Despite being a compact car, the Reno only boasts a fair city/highway EPA fuel economy of 20 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 28 mpg on the highway (manual) and 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway (automatic). "With so little horsepower on tap, one would expect better fuel economy, yet the Reno's fuel economy figures are far from world-class," says Kelley Blue Book.

Handling and Braking

Auto writers are generally unimpressed with how the Reno handles. Car and Driver claims, "Lifeless steering, excessive pitch and roll, and one of the sloppiest shifters on the market make the Reno a chore to drive." Even so, MSN found that "the Reno's rack-and-pinion steering and small size make for nimble maneuvers." Consumer Guide adds that steering is both "quick" and "responsive" -- though "noticeable body lean" occurs "even at modest cornering speeds."

The Reno's suspension system consists of an Independent MacPherson strut in the front and an Independent Dual Link in the rear. According to the Detroit News, "The suspension is so soft, it will almost make you ill on bumpy roads." Car and Driver notes a similar experience, but says that this only occurs when "pushing the car harder than seems likely in normal use by the average owner."

All 2008 Suzuki Renos come standard with four-wheel disc brakes -- which Edmunds boasts "provide short stopping distances (although pedal and stability are unimpressive)."

An anti-lock break system (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) is an available option.

Review Last Updated: 10/14/09

Next Steps: Suzuki Reno

  • Search used Suzuki Reno for sale (74 listings)
  • Calculate monthly payment and apply for a loan
  • See Affordable Small Cars rankings