By on November 28, 2016

2004 Suzuki Verona in California wrecking yard, front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

What American car buyers in 2004 really needed was a lengthened Daewoo Leganza with Giorgetto Giugiaro styling, a transverse-mounted straight-six engine, and Suzuki badging … or so GM Daewoo Auto & Technology believed. Not so surprisingly, American car buyers weren’t so excited about the Verona, and these things are now nearly as rare as the similarly puzzling Isuzu Oasis.

Here’s one that I spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard.

2004 Suzuki Verona in California wrecking yard, front seats - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Why would anyone have bought this car instead of a Camry or Taurus? Lots of standard features for cheap and a generous warranty! On the downside, Verona buyers got supersonic depreciation and an edge-case marque.

2004 Suzuki Verona in California wrecking yard, engine - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Fitting a straight-six sideways in a front-wheel-drive car requires narrow cylinder bores and promises squished fingers for future mechanics. This one made just 155 horsepower, two fewer than the new Camry’s four-cylinder produced in 2004.

2004 Suzuki Verona in California wrecking yard, inspection sticker - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

It does have S. H. Han’s OK, though.

2004 Suzuki Verona in California wrecking yard, radio - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Cassette and CD! Verona sales were even lower than GM/Daewoo/Suzuki had expected, and the model got the axe after the 2006 model year.


The “6-CYLINDER” animated billboard in this ad is pretty neat.


This Texan dealership wanted Verona shoppers to know that Suzuki was the fastest-growing car company in America.


South Korean-market car ads tend to go Full Macho or Extreme Schmaltz. This one for the KDM version of the Verona takes the latter approach.


Here’s the macho version.

[Images: © 2016 Murille Martin/The Truth About Cars]

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73 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2004 Suzuki Verona...”


  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Its natural habitat seems to exclusively be in the ghetto these days, along with the Forenza. I feel bad for folks who choose this as their hooptie of choice, I can’t imagine parts availability is very good. A rusty Taurus or W-body with a whining transmission would honestly be a safer bet. Hell I’d take an oil-burning Diamante over one of these, at least parts are everywhere for the Mitsu 6G motors.

    I bet that I6 is super smooth when in good repair though!

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Didn’t know these had an inline 6. Wonder if these are good interstate cruisers. Then again, with 155hp I’d probably just go with a 3800 equipped Buick to fill the cheap highway Cruiser role.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Big Al we butted heads over the GM vs Toyota large sedan thing in another thread, but here I can whole-heartedly agree. For the sort of person who ends up buying a Verona these days, a simple and sturdy 3800-powered car would have been the way to go.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Ye be blessed my sons.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          “I can whole-heartedly agree”
          “Ye be blessed my sons”

          IT’S A FESTIVUS MIRACLE!!

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Don’t get too excited 28 cars, for my own use I will pick the big “T” all day every day!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            A Toyota FWD product powered by the LORD would be epic.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I don’t think the raspy and rough OHV mill would jive very well with the otherwise refined ambiance! I wouldn’t mind the torque and taller gearing, my ES sits right around 3k rpm at 75mph. Mind you it is turbine smooth and you don’t mind or notice at all, but I’m sure MPG would be improved if it was a bigger motor that could loaf along. A 2gr (Toyota’s corporate 3.5L V6) swap with a modern 6spd Aisin would be pretty cool.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            gtemnykh-

            Your mistake is not believing that the 3800 belongs in all things. It is all engines to all cars. It was forged in the fires of Saginaw Casting and assembled on the hallowed ground of Buick Engine Plant No 36, so that our sins may be forgiven.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I have a healthy respect for them and there are definitely some cars in which the swap makes sense. My beloved Toyotas are NOT one of them!

            Believe it or not in 1994 plans were maturing to import Russian UAZ 469 soft top jeeps and 452 4×4 vans to the US. Part of the plan was to eventually replace the factory Volga 2.5L cast iron carbureted 4cyl OHV mill with a Buick 3800! Now that’s a good fit.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Brother Adam speaks the TRUTH.

            Cease ye disbelief and pray to the LORD for forgiveness of blasphemy, heathen gtemnykh.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Well consider me Martin Luther then, nailing down my list of grievances on the church of 3800’s door! :)

  • avatar
    Joss

    I recall looking at Verona around 2006 – it’s last year. Suzuki was touting the smoothness of a six. But there were few dealers. And not many positive reviews in the handling & braking depts. Mileage and power weren’t anything special and the interior seemed cheap.

  • avatar
    JLGOLDEN

    I liked these when they were new, and I was slightly interested in getting a black one. But the interior felt flimsy and I feared long-term reliability, extended-warranty serviceability, parts. Not long after this car crush, my ex was leaning toward a new Reno hatch. We passed on that, too.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Back in the early-mid-00 the Reno hatch was the least expensive car you could buy in the U.S. I still see a few wagons on the road. They are actually quite stylish but reliability of all Reno’s is meh.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    Junkyard wandering and scavenging is so much fun. FYI: Korean GM’s and most Suzuki have sunglass compartments that screw in the place of the driver’s side grab handle- which you don’t need on a LHD car b/c you have the steering wheel to assist with entry. These swap out and bolt on to a bazillion cars, and the neutral color matches most headliners. Some cars have them in gray too. VW has these, but the colors are weird, and the compartments aren’t nearly as generous.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    155 HP? GMs troubled Quad Four -AKA the Half Northstar- beat that back in 1992.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      The Quad-4 was an Oldsmobile product (the last Olds engine actually). Let’s not sully its name with the N*.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Yyyyyyeah, I don’t think I’d cite the Quad Four as a good example of much anything other than maybe advertising.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          Lol.

          I had an Achieva SCX and I miss it.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          It was a highly advanced engine that made a lot of power. Yes, it had head gasket problems, but it is still the engine I’d want in an Olds Alero or pretty much any GM car it was used in.

          Its not like the gutless 2.2L I-4 with its timing chain issues was a far better choice, nor was the crappy 2.8L-cum-3.1L V-6.

          The Quad 4 would run most any V-6 engine of the day, it was quite powerful for the time.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            The Quad-4 actually had more power than the 3.1L that most often replaced it. My Achieva had 190 HP. It was very VTEC like. It didn’t have a ton of torque so you had to get on it.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            Yep- the story of GM. Engineer an almost-great product and it turns out it breaks.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Just looking at that engine compartment makes me wince. I hope this thing has a timing chain and they figured out a way to make a routine serp belt change less-than-agonizing.

    At least a spark plug swap won’t require major surgery, like it does with so many transverse V6’s!

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    “More Passenger Room”

    Heh… how ignorant we were back then to have valued that. We’ve since been properly assimilated to the contrary.

    Thank you, Borgs!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Samurai notwithstanding, I am glad Suzuki is gone from USDM. I was looking forward to Mitsubishi joining it, but twas not to be.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      Mitsubishi still has one foot in the grave. They essentially have two products; the Outlander and Mirage.

      As for Suzuki, anything they made should have just had a GM logo slapped on it (often it was). I’d rather have the Samurai back as the Chevy Trax/Tracker than the Suzuki Jimny.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      The Sidekicks are good trucklets too IMO, very sturdy and offroad capable things. Swifts/Metros were also good for what they were engineered to be (fuel miser econoboxes), with the GTi being a really neat pocket rocket.

      My brother’s ’02 XL-7 has been a bit of a mixed bag. Timing chain tensioner needed replacement on the DOHC 2.7L V6, a very involved task(15hr book time, he did it himself of course). To add insult to injury, the replacement tensioner seems to be getting a bit slack now already. One of the Driveshaft CV joints is making noise, no a simple u-joint replacements here, he had to hunt down a junkyard shaft. 140k on it now with daily gravel road use, suspension is still tight except for rear shocks that were replaced a while back (in favor of adjustable air units). No appreciable visible rust anywhere. In contrast he worked on a neighbor’s 2nd gen Tracker, a shorter wheelbase version of the same gen truck as his that was assembled in Canada IIRC and not Japan like his. Rotten rocker panels, ball joints, CV axles, rotted brake lines by 100k. I definitely can’t say that it’s my brother’s meticulous care for his own truck that has magically preserved it. He blows through the same forest service roads I do on my 4Runner with much less sympathy than I do for my truck (which has substantially more ground clearance than his ‘Zook, and shorter wheelbase). He did at least install an aftermarket skid plate to protect his oil pan.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Didn’t know there were two small carmakers crazy enough to stuff a straight six sideways into a car back then…

    (Volvo was the other one, in the late 1990s.)

    • 0 avatar
      amoore100

      Actually I don’t think Volvo did it until the early 2000’s when they stuffed the six-cylinder variant of their Modular Engine into the first-gen S80 sideways. Before that, the 960/V90 used the same engine in longitudinal format. Then, in the mid 2000s Volvo refreshed the Modular Engine and renamed it the SI6 before jamming it sideways into any and every P3 platform car from the humble 3.2 XC90 to the mighty Polestar V60.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Nope- the Volvo S80 first came out in MY1998. It was all-new and the “last” all-new car that Volvo made as an independent car company. I put “last” in air quotes because it was a departure from many of the things that traditional Volvo buyers liked about the make:

        Wiiiiiide turn radius (any former 240, 140, 122, 544 owner will understand this) because the transverse six could barely fit
        Front wheel drive (although the 850 and 440 did this earlier)
        Not exactly durable (there was a recall for front ball joints collapsing… what the heck, Volvo??)

        On the other hand, it still had comfortable seats, great brakes, and was head and shoulders safer than contemporary cars. But it was a “different” kind of Volvo.

        • 0 avatar
          amoore100

          Well I guess I was being pedantic, 1998 is close enough that I would say it’s part of the 2000s era Volvos since the most notable Volvo I6s of the ’90s were the North-South V90/960 engines. Anyways, as for the rest of those “features” we’re quite aware of them since my dad’s 2001 P2 platform V70 T5 has experienced all of them. Still, it’s at 211K miles and going strong so at least the chassis and engine are up to par, even if the suspension has been a bit troublesome.

  • avatar
    ciscokidinsf

    Poor Suzuki – They are like the battered wife of auto manufacturers. First GM abused Suzuki. Suzuki gave all the good stuff to GM, (Tracker/Geo) and what did GM do? They Made them sell piss-poor Daewoos under the Suzuki brand. After a break-up, Suzuki ended up at VW, in search for hybrid tech. Instead, what happened? VW took 20% of the company and just jerked them around & did squat in 2 yrs. Nothing done in 2 years, not even one measly concept. Now Suzuki is at Toyota’s house. Who knows what will happen now? And I love Suzuki. I have a Kizashi and want to buy an SX4 soon.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    M-m-m-my Verona!

    I was always interested in these because of the uniqueness of the Inline 6 and its colourful history. There is a manager at the local AutoZone that drives a black Verona in showroom condition.

    I mean “interested” enough to pay a few hundred dollars for one, not like I’d go to a BHPH lot and sign for one of these. Not on my worst day.

  • avatar

    Apparently that straight six was co-developed with Porsche!

    http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/suzuki-verona-ex-road-test

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    There are still a few of these kickin’, and some even broke 100K.

    MY06 Suzuki Verona

    06/21/16 Manheim Arena Illinois Regular $800 71,634 Avg Silver 6G A Yes
    09/15/16 Manheim El Paso Regular $1,200 100,375 Above White 6G A Yes
    03/28/16 Manheim North Carolina Regular $300 125,246 Below Black 6G A Yes
    09/01/16 Manheim Albany Regular $350 125,448 Avg Black 6G A Yes
    09/14/16 Manheim St Louis Regular $950 136,665 Avg Black 6G A Yes
    10/18/16 Manheim St Louis Regular $1,500 136,673 Above Black 6G A No

  • avatar
    JimZ

    they paid Giugiaro to come up with something resembling a Ford Five Hundred front merged with a Honda Civic rear?

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    ATTENTION: The following vehicles were NOT Suzuki made cars: Verona, Forenza, and Reno. They were all Daewoo products. The almighty GM raped and pillaged Suzuki, only to RUIN it’s reputation. They even had the collosal gaul to put the once respectable Grand Vitara and XL7 on a Chevy Equinox platform.
    Fortunately, the economy crash enabled Suzuki to be free, somewhat, and be mentally abused by VW.
    Now, Suzuki is in the works with Toyota. Hopefully, they will not only survive, but come back to the U.S.
    GM is, was, and ALWAYS will be nothing but a joke. Polluting the automotive industry with its awful products. Not to mention polluting the planet with a complete waste of resources, that could actually be used to make better cars.
    Personally, I feel they should have gone bankrupt along with Chrysler…who is also doing similar deeds.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “The almighty GM raped and pillaged Suzuki, only to RUIN it’s reputation.”

      What reputation? I’d bet if you asked anyone what they remember about Suzuki vehicles, the only non-motorcycle responses you’d get is about some little cute-ute which rolled over all of the time.

      • 0 avatar
        kmars2009

        I had the pleasure of owning a 1996 Suzuki Sidekick SPORT 4WD SUV. It was the most trouble free, and reliable vehicle I have EVER OWNED. I put 76,000 miles on it(with zero problems) then sold it for a Mercedes-Benz S Class. The Mercedes-Benz has not been as reliable or trouble free as the Suzuki…and I paid considerably more for the Mercedes.
        REAL SUZUKI vehicles, actually made by Suzuki, are great cars.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      The funny thing is that selling Daewoos destroyed Suzuki’s reputation, which was actually decent from selling Samarais, Sidekicks and Swifts. The quality that was so disappointing to buyers of Japanese cars revolutionized GM’s customer satisfaction scores when the dead-enders that still buy Chevrolets and Buicks got their hands on Daewoos. It’s all about expectations.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    These were sold as Chevrolet Epicas, at least in Canada. Ran a commercial with some airport traveller getting into one thinking it was a BMW or something similar.

    • 0 avatar
      NOSLucasWiringSmoke

      I guess that was a Canada-only thing. I remember when it came out at the Toronto auto show around 2003-4 (the only time I ever went to it, my residence in TO was brief) and thinking it looked sharp-ish for what it was (well, compared to Chevy’s other sedans at that time). But at any time they were about as rare as hens’ gold fillings on the road, I never saw more than a handful in Ontario. The cheaper Aveo and Optra sold better, and you could even get the Optra (I think) as a small station wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        mleitman

        Epica was also sold in Europe and elsewhere. The Magnus-based model was replaced for 2007 (outside North America) with one based on the GMDAT Tosca https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daewoo_Tosca

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        A friend of mine purchased an Optra Wagon new. He was quite enamoured of it. Inexpensive, surprisingly reliable and large enough that we moved a dining room buffet, china cabinet and table in it. Unfortunately after many miles and years of good service it was written off when hit from behind by an impaired drive. Nobody in the Optra was seriously hurt, thankfully.

        The Optra was known in the UK was the Chevrolet Lacetti and was the ‘Reasonably Priced Car’ used on Top Gear from 2006 – 2009. It was later destroyed by placing it beside a large industrial chimney that was being imploded.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    It’s not a bad-looking car. This one was done in by driver side denting, windshield and rear window replacement cost, and of course, gas filler on the passenger side. It was a little low on power for a straight six, but the sound was probably gorgeous.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Yet in Canada the Chevrolet Epica was a massive success (almost as much so as the Optra) since we’ll buy anything cheap. I still see 4-5 daily, and not the same ones. There’s 2 just in the parking lot at my work.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    How sad is it that Rod Stewart whored himself out for the commercial for this. This is how you know your career is over.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    It’s wearing a note lot’s ad plate on the rear, which makes me wonder if it was vandalized while on the lot, or soon after it went home with a sucker, er, buyer. Backlites don’t usually get broken, unless it’s via large hail (not too common in the Bay Area) or shooting out or vandalism.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Sad to see one this new all dirtied up like this. But 2004 was 13 years ago now! Wow. Cars are better made now. Was watching the “Seven Ups” a few weeks ago. The film was made in 1973 but you can see 1968-70 cars which are dented up, covered in filth, and without hubcaps.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    Well, at least the spirit lives on. The Reno (Lacetti) gave birth to the Cruze aka Lacetti Premiere, and the current Malibu seems to be more a descendant of the Magnus than the car you knew America could build.

    What I don’t like about current GM cars that dont have their roots in a pure Opel, Holden or Cadillac base meaning they’re GM Korea is that the chintziness of Daewoo is evident in their design and execution.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Am I the only one with The Knack in his head?

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The only vehicle with a traverse mounted I-6 that I can think of is the previous generation (P2, P3)Volvo S80.

  • avatar
    Bill

    I remember about the time this car came out one of the Suzuki dealers in Denver used to run radio ads breathlessly proclaiming Suzuki’s had “Japanese quality like Toyota and Honda, but for thousands less!” Luckily I don’t think too many people took the bait.

  • avatar
    jamescyberjoe

    This was not a bad car just that the manufacturer was Daewoo. And they had that stigma attached about bad Korean cars.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Crap

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