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Suzuki Liana 2004 Review

Kids sometimes tend to slam doors. But on this occasion, it wasn"t an over-enthusiastic or petulant teenager at fault; it was the Suzuki Liana"s rather clunky doors.

No matter how soft you shut them, they sound like they are being slammed and the windows about to break.

It is one of only a few quality niggles in Suzuki"s new cheap and cheerful small passenger car.

However, it should be pointed out that you still get an awful lot of features for your dollar.

At $18,990 for the base model, it's cheaper by $1000 than the Pulsar ST and Corolla Ascent, yet has features some cars costing $5000 more don't have.

The base model includes air conditioning; power steering, mirrors and windows; tilt-adjusting steering wheel; driver seat height adjustment; central locking; keyless entry, boot spoiler and body kit all standard.

Add $2000 for auto, $675 for cruise control and $185 for metallic paint.

The Z series, which I tested, comes standard with cruise control, alloys, fog lamps and lower-profile Z-rated tyres for $20,740.

There are plenty of creature comforts, including the integrated radio/CD with a seven-speaker system and audio switching gear conveniently on the steering wheel, something some of the more expensive competitors don't have.

Inside, it is evident that Suzuki is capitalising on its strong junior World Rally Championship performances last year and its creditable results this year, with the Ignis.

The new Liana interior has a sporty look and feel with plenty of brushed aluminium, a leatherette steering wheel and red-lit instrumentation.

Outside, the car looks quite attractive but a little out of proportion. The vertical lines appear to belong to a much wider and longer car, giving it the impression it has been squashed.

Yet its lines are not fussy and there is surprising luggage and seating room, especially the headroom.

But back to those clunking doors and quality problems.

Another lack-of-quality feel is in the notchy gear shifter.

It grinds and rattles quite a bit for a vehicle that had only done 3884km.

The Liana also seems under-tyred, with its 195mm Yokohamas on 15-inch wheels.

Its peaky 1.8-litre engine throws power to the front wheels in a spurt from 3000-5000rpm. This leads to wheel-spin when the wheels get a little light, such as on a turn, or in the wet.

Back off and because of the lack of torque, it bogs down.

There is not much that can be done about the engine characteristics, but wider tyres and bigger wheels could resolve much of the problem.

Otherwise, the ride and handling have been improved with a stiffer chassis and fully independent suspension with MacPherson struts.

It now sits fairly solidly on the road for its size.

And it is one of the few small cars that still has a full-sized spare.

Pricing Guides

Based on 12 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

(base) 1.8L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,500 – 5,990 2004 Suzuki Liana 2004 (base) Pricing and Specs
GS 1.6L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,599 – 5,999 2004 Suzuki Liana 2004 GS Pricing and Specs
(base) 1.8L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,000 – 5,990 2004 Suzuki Liana 2004 (base) Pricing and Specs
GS 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,599 – 4,990 2004 Suzuki Liana 2004 GS Pricing and Specs