Overview & Reviews
Despite spending an impressive six years on the market -- and enjoying advantages like a roomy cabin and available all-wheel drive -- the compact Suzuki Aerio remained nearly invisible to most consumers. If you ask us, it probably had something to do with the Aerio's average-at-best overall report card. To use a football analogy, it was like a second- or third-string specialty player that Suzuki forced to suit up against several heavy-hitting, all-purpose first-stringers. This wasn't a game the Aerio was likely to win -- yet it was a better car than its sales numbers and anonymity would suggest.
Most Recent Suzuki Aerio
The compact Suzuki Aerio debuted in 2002 as a sedan and four-door hatchback wagon. Initially, there were S and GS (later called LS) trim levels for the sedan; the hatchback came in SX trim only. Later Aerios were offered in either base or Premium trims. Versatility was always a strong point for the hatchback -- with the rear seats folded down, it could carry an impressive 64 cubic feet of cargo.
Aerios were initially powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine; displacement was later bumped to 2.3 liters, with a commensurate increase in power. A five-speed manual transmission was standard on entry-level cars, while a four-speed automatic was optional on those models and standard on higher trim levels. The Aerio was available in either front-wheel or, beginning in 2003, all-wheel drive.
With either transmission, the Suzuki Aerio was sufficiently responsive for running errands around town or commuting. However, although the Aerio provided a soft, smooth ride on the highway, we found there was a penalty to be paid: excessive body roll around corners, which was exacerbated by the car's relatively tall, tippy stance. Opting for AWD settled things down a bit, and of course it improved the Aerio's traction in wet weather as well. Indeed, that optional all-weather capability was one of the few compelling features the Aerio had to offer.
Thanks to its high roof line, the Suzuki Aerio boasted a surprising amount of interior room for its size, and we found ingress and egress to be an all-around cinch. The Aerio offered a generous 14.6 cubic feet of trunk space, too. Unfortunately, interior plastics quality, execution and overall refinement were below average compared to the economy class leaders.
Some notable changes occurred after the Aerio's debut. In 2003, it received a slight power boost to 145 horsepower (from the initial 141 hp) and minor interior trim refinements; uplevel GS and SX models got a six-disc CD player and could be had with all-wheel-drive traction. The 2.0-liter engine was replaced by a 2.3-liter unit in 2004, and horsepower rose to a rather impressive 155. Suzuki added more standard features in 2005 and redesigned the instrument panel, which we had previously criticized as having hard-to-read gauges and a lack of storage compartments. The wagon was dropped for 2007, leaving the sedan to finish out the Aerio's production run by itself.
As a used car, the Suzuki Aerio does have a few things going for it. Its attractive price when new looks even better now that depreciation has taken its toll, and its peppy engine and optional all-wheel drive were pleasant qualities. But the Aerio was never particularly enjoyable to drive and generally came up short in terms of refinement and features.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 352.00
Value with Extras and Power - 2006 Suzuki Aerio
By FJG - December 30 - 5:10 pm
This was my first Suzuki purchase and it was a good choice. The car has ample room, comfort and offers good performance. Its 155 horsepower delivers over 30 mpg in combined city/hwy driving. I have owned it for six months and had zero issues.
Megamega Tire Eater - 2005 Suzuki Aerio
By Joe - December 26 - 3:40 pm
Our car eats tires. We also lost our AWD. Our dealer has fixed the viscous coupler joint and aligned the tires. We still have a serious vibration at 55 mph and above. Our current tires are wearing fast.
Practical Fun - 2002 Suzuki Aerio
By Ellesmere - October 8 - 2:00 am
Purchaced the Aerio one week ago. Very sporty car with lots of internal storage and space. Handling is a little wobbly, probably due to the height and light steering. Transmission shifts very well and the cockpit is remarkably quiet. Have found some vibrations when going over bumps, that I will need to get fixed.
Dirt Road Commuter - 2006 Suzuki Aerio
By Robin - September 28 - 11:50 am
I almost bought a Subaru RS instead of my Suzuki Aerio. I'm glad that I didn't. I saved a bucket of cash and now own the best mountain dirt road long distance commuter I've ever had. I am still in the honeymoon stage though. Give me some time to be more objective.
Beat Car I have Ever Owned - 2007 Suzuki Aerio
By n/a - September 26 - 2:26 pm
I was impressed with how roomy the inside of this car is. I am close to six feet tall and it has plenty of head and leg room! Also, I love its unique looks. It preforms great, though it does not do well on ice as it is a very light weight car. All in all, it is the best car that I have ever owned.
Fun & Inexspensive - 2003 Suzuki Aerio
By KingPenguin - September 23 - 10:00 am
Our 20 yr old daughter bought our Aerio SX, I her father has ended up driving it just as much as she has. In town, short trips it is wonderful, fun to drive good on gas milage for a 4 banger, and a real looker of a car. Long distance is were is falls some, a little noice do to engine haveing to work but for High Schooler or College kid, or as a second car, this is a great choice and the warrenty cant be beat. Hats off to Suzuki for a great little car.
new review - 2003 Suzuki Aerio
By Veronica2 - September 20 - 2:00 am
Overall the vehicle is pleasant to drive, quiet and responsive. The 6- disc, 6 speaker cd player is great but causes the door panels to vibrate when loud or when bass is at optimum level. The back lit feature on the player is not a plus as it washes out in sunlight.
Driving in an egg - 2003 Suzuki Aerio
By silkyfurz - September 15 - 2:00 am
Six months old, less than 2,000 miles, three bumper replacements - 2 front, 1 rear.
Still feels like new - 2004 Suzuki Aerio
By misskellu - August 24 - 1:20 pm
I bought my Aerio S new in Dec 2003 and still enjoy driving it as much as I did the first week. It's small and easy to park but feels roomy inside. Its high profile makes it comfortable to get in and out and also provides good visibility. I'm tall and it's the first compact that I've had where I didn't feel like my backside is dragging on the ground while I'm driving or that I have to fall into the seat and haul myself out. I can pretty much just step in & out. The handling is decent on the freeway I have no problem accellerating to pass. The engine is very quiet while idling and has a nice lil growl when you punch it. I live in a hilly city and the automatic scales them with ease.
ENIGNE, TRANSMISSION & PAINT - 2005 Suzuki Aerio
By Bonzar - August 19 - 9:13 pm
This car is junk. At less than 100,000km the paint began to chip, the muffler and exhaust rotted completely, went through 2 sets of tires, and im pretty sure my rotars are long overdue. At 105,000km, I had the engine replaced because of a manufacturers defect. A Piston rod snapped firing the remaining pieces through my block, into the oil pan. At 120,000km, My transmission goes (M.T.). My synchros is finished causing severe grinding when decelerating during a downshift. The stock battery is terrible. I left my stereo on for 10 minutes while the car was off. DEAD. My airbag light came on at 85,000km. The road noise is terrible, the electrical motors in the windows are failing. enuf said?