By on March 9, 2020

2005 Suzuki Reno in California junkyard, RH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWould you consider a special-edition version of the Daewoo Nubira’s successor to be worthy of inclusion in this series, even as I walk by 99 out of 100 junked BMW E30s? Hey, if I’m willing to photograph every Mitsubishi Lancer OZ Rally and Geo Storm GSi that I find in the junkyard, then of course a genuine, numbers-matching Suzuki Reno SWT makes the cut!

2005 Suzuki Reno in California junkyard, hatch emblem - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsDaewoo, the South Korean outpost of the General Motors Empire, failed in ignominious fashion when attempting to sell the Lanos, Nubira, and Leganza in North America during the 1999-2002 period. Still, the Leganza lived on— briefly— as the Suzuki Verona, and the hatchback version of the Nubira’s successor (the Daewoo Lacetti, of Top Gear Reasonably Priced Car fame) also got Suzuki badges: the Reno.

2005 Suzuki Reno in California junkyard, SWT emblem - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsDid you know that Suzuki offered a “Suzuki Works Techno” option package for the Reno for the 2005 model year? I didn’t, until I found this car in a self-service yard near the California state capitol. The SWT packages started out in Japan, then spread across the Pacific to include the Reno and Aerio.

2005 Suzuki Reno in California junkyard, tape stripes - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsYou didn’t get anything to make the Reno faster when you spent the 500 bucks to get the SWT, but you did get Sunburst Orange paint, faux-carbon-fiber accents, a spoiler, and these exquisitely mid-2000s tape graphics.

2005 Suzuki Reno in California junkyard, SWT emblem - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThere’s plenty of “carbon-fiber-styled” stuff to be found here, which should have appealed to fans of the early Fast and Furious movies.

2005 Suzuki Reno in California junkyard, automatic gearshift - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsYou could get the Reno with a manual transmission, but few buyers did so.

2005 Suzuki Reno in California junkyard, engine - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars126 horsepower here. So, what we have here is a cheap commuter appliance that looked more interesting than the ordinary Accents and Aveos in the office-park lot.

Suzuki gave up on selling cars in the United States after 2012, but still makes plenty of yen by offering the best-selling car in Japan.

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31 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2005 Suzuki Reno SWT...”

  • avatar

    Ok, I’ll start, was this car even sold in the US? I don’t even remember it. It’s not very old to be “junked”. Must have been great @ $99 down and $99 a month

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, it was sold in the US. Might have been a one year only thing, but according to a review online the SWT package added $1,965 to the price of the car, which is a little steep for an appearance package on a cheap compact in 2005. Which is probably why I’m guessing it was not popular.

      As for not old to be “junked”…it’s a 15 year old cheap and largely crappy penalty box from an automaker with no US presence, so it is not surprising it is junked.

    • 0 avatar

      re: It’s not very old to be “junked”.

      I’ve done some junkyarding as a hobby on my 2 most recent cars, and it seems that 10 to 15 y.o. is the sweet spot for inventory. You’d be amazed how many newer cars show up, no collisions, in seemingly good cosmetic condition. Finding a mediocre 15 y.o. econobox from a defunct brand isn’t surprising at all- in fact kudos for making it this far.

    • 0 avatar

      I remember them. But didn’t see them very often even back then.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Suzuki offered a full line of cars and SUV’s then. From the Aerio subcompact to the three-row XL7. Kind of a cut rate Subaru.

      I remember these being marketed in some states as the least expensive new car available in America undercutting an Accent, Rio or Aveo by a few dollars.

    • 0 avatar

      It is old because you can’t buy parts locally, and have to order from oversea to fix tiny little problems.

  • avatar

    U.S. market:
    – In 2005, you could buy a Suzuki Reno, but you couldn’t buy any iPhone.
    – In 2020, you can buy an iPhone, but you can’t buy any Suzuki automobile.

  • avatar

    The only modern Suzuki’s I even remember were the SX4, Divine Wind (whose actual model name I couldn’t spell on a bet), and the XL-7.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Well what do we mean by modern? Historically there was the Swift (sold by GM as the Firefly/Spring/Metro), the quirky X-90, and the underrated Sidekick (sold also as the TrackerSunrunner), which later became the Vitara/Grand Vitara.

      Also the Aerio which sold moderately well when new, and the Kizashi which was well received but considered too ‘small’ for its price point.

      Suzuki sold as many as 15,000 vehicles in one year in Canada at its peak.

      Also was largely responsible for setting up the CAMI (Ingersoll) plant.

      • 0 avatar

        To me a Modern Suzuki would be one that didn’t get a chance to be badged as a GEO. But then I’m 42 years old and grew up where American cars ruled the road – I saw far more GEOs in my misspent youth than Suzukis.

      • 0 avatar

        I have a Kizashi. They are pretty solid cars, but if the CVT gives up the ghost, the car will wind up in Murilee’s sights.

        When I was looking for my wife’s car (she wound up with a Civic) I almost got her an SX4 sedan. Very solidly put together car, but the owner hadn’t replaced a very whiny wheel bearing, so I passed. If it was a hatch I might have gotten it, and we would have really been a house of orphaned cars then.

    • 0 avatar

      Is the “divine wind” the Kizashi? I thought that meant “something great is coming.”

  • avatar

    ? Was it any good ? .

    Long ago a work mate’s wife had some Suzuki eggmobile and it ran well and they loved it but parts hard to find apart from the dealer .


  • avatar

    Jimney !!!

  • avatar

    “126 horsepower here. So, what we have here is a cheap commuter appliance”

    Not even. For whatever reason, this era of Daewoo 4 bangers got laughably poor MPG, especially in the city. The Aveo is a prime example of this as well.

    • 0 avatar

      Comparing apples to rotten oranges I once looked at a comparison between a 2004ish Aveo and my Escape, at the time I had a 2014 with the bog standard 2.5, and the Escape had the advantage. I even compared similar bodystyles in the hatchback version of the Aveo. Granted there was 10 years of advancement in engine technology, but I was gobsmacked.

      Makes me curious what my mom’s 2000 Lanos, with the laughable “power” button would have done.

  • avatar

    Around SoCal saw mostly the SUV Sidekicks and the descendant Vitaras. They are totally gone now.
    I suspect the demise of the dealer network had a lot to do with that. Even IF someone liked a Suzuki, they could not buy a replacement.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay


  • avatar

    I think it’s a crime that GM re-badged these Daewoo crapboxes as Suzukis. I still see the occasional Reno on the road.

  • avatar

    Pure Junk. Suzuki and Daewoo.

  • avatar

    Quite liked the looks of these, designed by Giugiaro. Sold in Canada as the Chevy Optra and in China as the Buick Excelle HRV. BYD in China also built a clone, with a Mutsubishi powertrain.

    C&D did an econobox comparison test several years ago. The Reno came in dead last. While they complimented the amount of power available, they said the shift linkage of their manual trans sample felt like it was made of “plastic forks and bungee cords”.

  • avatar

    The Lanos (I could have sworn it was “Llanos” with 2 L’s) became the Reno, and the Nubira became the Suzuki Forenza/Chevy Optra/Buick Excelle. It was a shame that Suzuki under GM was reduced to marketing the global Daewoos, especially when they continued, and still continue, to produce a Japanese Swift. The later Kizashi on GM Epsilon was too little, too late.

    In late 1996 I ordered a new ’97 GEO Metro sedan from Ingersoll. I deleted the air conditioning and power steering, and had it fitted with the 73hp 1.3l 4-cylinder and a five-speed. I also optioned it up with premium cloth seats, the top radio/CD player, and a tachometer. With the weight and engine drag savings from the deletions, it was a delightful car to drive, similar to my ’85 Renault Alliance with 1.7l and 5-speed. And it got 55 MPG all day on a trip. The worst I ever saw was on a tank of all city driving during the winter: 38 MPG. As for the GEO image, as soon as I got the car, I peeled off the “GEO” and “Metro” tape badges, and, voila, I had a Suzuki Swift. I rather liked the GEO Globe badge…nobody really knew what it was, without being clued in by the name badge.

    The Reno was inoffensive, and actually had nice interior lines, but it was just not a worthy successor to my little Metro/Swift limousine. Wish there were still lots of truly small cars in the US market.

  • avatar

    This was the ultimate subprime vehicle.

  • avatar

    I would love to know how long this sat on the lot before being sold, and how much of a discount was offered.

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