By on November 23, 2020

A 2006 Suzuki Forenza in Denver junkyard, LH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
After the Daewoo brand fled these shores in 2002 (leaving Manny, Moe, and Jack in charge of warranty service and the company’s founder on the run from the long arm of the South Korean law), the sprawling GM Empire found a means to continue selling the Leganza and Nubira here: as the Suzuki Verona and Suzuki Forenza/Reno, respectively. Here’s a banged-up Forenza in a Denver yard with the extremely rare five-speed manual transmission.

A 2006 Suzuki Forenza in Denver junkyard, decklid badge - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe second-gen Nubira was known as the Lacetti in most non-North American markets; here, the sedans and wagons got Forenza badges and the hatchbacks became Renos.

A 2006 Suzuki Forenza in Denver junkyard, LH rear view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe idea was that potential Corolla or Civic shoppers would note the lower prices on the Forenza/Reno and smash down the doors to the nearest Suzuki dealerships in their frenzy to buy, climbing over the broken bodies of weaker customers in their haste to sign on the line which is dotted. As we all know, this Suzuki dream never materialized.

A 2006 Suzuki Forenza in Denver junkyard, front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe very cheapest Forenza sedan started at $13,449 in 2006 (about $17,660 today), which compared favorably to the stripped-down Corolla CE with manual transmission ($14,015) and three-pedal Civic DX sedan ($14,760). The Hyundai Elantra 5-speed sedan cost $14,065, but those favoring dirt-cheap South Korean iron in 2006 always had the Kia Spectra as a $12,895 option. Anyone seen a Spectra lately?

A 2006 Suzuki Forenza in Denver junkyard, manual gearshift - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsBy the middle 2000s, however, the idea of saving a grand or so by getting a new commuter sedan with a manual transmission seemed absurd to most North Americans. With ever-longer commutes and more addictive mobile phones, we needed both hands free while driving; any car-enthusiast nerd who preferred a manual would have held out for something like a GTI or Civic Si. Still, someone saw the bargain in this Forenza and took it home.

A 2006 Suzuki Forenza in Denver junkyard, engine - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsD-TEC just kicked in, yo! This 2.0-liter Opel four made a not-very-impressive 126 horsepower. An earlier version powered the Nubira and Leganza.


Top Gear UK switched to the Forenza (badged as a Chevrolet Lacetti) as its Reasonably Priced Car for 2006, and it just seems unfair that this car’s quickest celebrity driver kept referring to this South Korean car as a “Yankee piece of (BLEEP)” during his lap.

A 2006 Suzuki Forenza in Denver junkyard, wheel - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsAt least it took its final ride wearing MB wheels.


Show the cubes at your 9-to-5 that you want more out of life, by tearing off your clothes in the elevator, then sprinting off to a Forenza-enabled mountain bike ride. How did she get her sneakers on so quickly?


It gives so much and asks so little.


Because every Daewoo-designed car ends up being sold for decades around the world, this one could be purchased on every continent save Antarctica. The Indian-market version was known as the Chevrolet Optra.


Naturally, you can still buy one in a couple of the former republics of the USSR. Here we see a Uzbekistani driver challenging the Grim Reaper to take him (and maybe some unlucky bystanders) to the afterworld while behind the wheel of his Ravon Gentra.

For links to 2000+ additional Junkyard Finds (including many interesting Daewoo products), check out the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

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27 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2006 Suzuki Forenza with Manual Transmission...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    “Show the cubes at your 9-to-5 that you want more out of life, by tearing off your clothes in the elevator”

    Why do you think the elevator was so full?

    And that MY2005 commercial was the most 90s looking thing I’ve seen that was made after 2001.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    I do like that pull up collar for reverse on the shifter. It was one of the few things I liked on my Vega. But then, I didn’t miss it at all on my Swift. In fact it was better without it in the snow.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I’m guessing at 5000 less than a Corolla it might have had a chance, but at 500 less…not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      That’s what I don’t get about Hyundai/Kia. For the extra $12 a week, I’ll step up to a Honda or something. Like what are they doing with the savings that’s so important? A couple more times thru the Starbucks a week?

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        With the price difference between my Kia and something like an S5 or 340i I redid my back porch, fixed my landscaping, and bought some new yard & home equipment.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          You’re living within your means? How? Dare? You??

          Actually I bought a basic XL F-150 with the vinyl “bench” seat and rubber floor. Yeah I really wanted the King Ranch and could’ve paid cash for it too, but instead I bought some fixer commercial rental properties with some of the difference.

          The truck still works good after putting it through hell renovating them, but it’s now got carpet, leather, 20″ King Ranch wheels, custom console, etc.

          Basically I “renovated” it into the truck I wanted in the 1st place.

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        I think a lot of times, it’s because at the Hyundai/Kia/Mitsu dealer they sell the deal not the car.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Warranty. Kia/Hyundai offer a longer warranty. Which for many consumers means ‘peace of mind’.

          Additionally they used to offer far more ‘features’. Our Kia which was a ‘basic’ model came standard with some features that were either optional or not even available in vehicles at a higher price point including some’near luxury’ cars at that time. Features such as Bluetooth, heated seats, rear adjustable heat vents, fog lights, roof rails, ‘active’ head restraints, heated side view mirrors, and traction/stability control. Also discs on all 4 wheels, lit vanity mirrors and watertight storage compartment under the back hatch area. And small touches such as a retractable ‘purse hanger’ for the front passenger and the cabin air cleaner being placed in a ‘slide out’ compartment rather than just fitted/crammed into a slot.

          Adding those options (if even available) on a competing Japanese or European vehicle would have taken their price point into a totally different bracket.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            H/K/G still offers a lot of value in most segments.
            The really questions become “What’s the anticipated quality gap between it and a Japanese option?” and “What’s the performance gap between it and a European option?”

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Those are some compelling points. But they still seem risky, and I’ve never been good at gambling.

            All brands are guilty of denying warranty claims for stupid reasons. Especially the cheaper brands, but I guess I’m lucky to have mostly avoided dealers for warranty work (or any kind). Maybe it has less to do with luck.

            Following a sale, I wont go back to the dealer for free oil changes. I don’t want them putting their hands on it. Call it a superstition.

            They’re all criminals anyway. Until proven otherwise.

            But then there’s resale value. Aren’t H/K’s the first to the hit the BHPH lots? And the most disposable? By far?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “But then there’s resale value. Aren’t H/K’s the first to the hit the BHPH lots? And the most disposable? By far?”

            Here’s a very recent depreciation study. They don’t hold up to Toyota’s level but it doesn’t look “by far” bad either. Especially for Hyundai and Genesis.

            iseecars.com/cars-that-hold-their-value-study

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Thanks, that’s a great, comprehensive study. Lots of surprises, tons of no brainers and couple giggles.

            I guessed right that the Tacoma would be the least depreciating car in San Diego, but it actually depreciated less in PA.

            BTW, I moved around a bunch of albums yesterday, I have 1,000’s, and at random, the AJA album has been staring at me through a milk crate all day.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The original buyer must have been really old skool. You just didn’t buy a Chevette, CVCC, Pinto or something with the automatic unless you were worthless and weak. Or just get a Moped if you want to gamble with your life that way.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    Odd coincidence this post. I saw one of these on the road this past Saturday, in great shape and driven by a respectable looking 20-something couple. I wondered what the backstory was. I also saw a Kizashi last week, which is one of the nicest compact sedans nobody bought.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      They probably inherited it or bought it on Craigslist for pocket money and are self confident enough to not need the ego boost and smart enough to not waste a lot of money each month on depreciation.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Until recently I used to see the wagon version of the Forenza parked in my neighborhood.
    I think the Reno hatchback was the least expensive vehicle by a few hundred dollars that was sold in the US at the time.
    The Aerio hatch was kind of funky and a decent value with optional awd and its high tech digital dashboard. A cut above a typical Kia Rio or Hyundai Accent.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    The MSRP’s on Korean cars (up until COVID) are meaningless. In 2017 I bought my wife’s 2017 Hyundai 2017 Santa Fe XL-AWD Limited and it was a good $5,0000 less than the Toyo/Honda equivalent-after discounts and rebates.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Yeah, not anymore. Kia and Hyundai, due to their success as of late, command same or higher prices that their equivalent Hondas and Toyotas. Take a look at their new Sorento. Prices neck in neck with a Honda Pilot and the Sorento isn’t really the same class. A smidge smaller I would say. Hyundai and Kia are getting extremely confident as of late..I wonder if it is false confidence. We shall find out. I noticed that Kia as a brand is dropping a bit on the yearly CR survey

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    The MSRP’s on Korean cars (up until COVID) are meaningless. In 2017 I bought my wife’s 2017 Hyundai 2017 Santa Fe XL-AWD Limited and it was a good $5,0000 less than the Toyo/Honda equivalent-after discounts and rebates.

    And the difference is not $5,000.00 at resale time either.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I had one (automatic, obv) as a Rental in Seattle back in about 2010 or so. It was… adequate.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Having owned two Kia’s, and currently owning a third (08 Sedona with 143k on the clock), and having own one Toyota product (Scion xB toaster), given the choice I’ll take a Kia over a Toyota anyway. And the only reason they’re not high on my list for my upcoming 2021 car purchase is that they don’t sell an EV in my area.

  • avatar
    80Cadillac

    Leganza/Verona and Nubira/Forenza are correct, but I believe the Reno was the evolution of the smaller Lanos, not a hatch version of the Forenza. Like the Nubira, the Forenza was offered as a sedan or as a wagon. The Aerio and SX4 were actual Suzukis (FIAT version noted), while the Kizashi was an Epsilon, kin to a Pontiac G6 or Chevy Malibu. And while all this was going on, the excellent newer versions of the Swift never made it to the US. Big mistake!

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    As far as cheap and cheerful economy cars, this is one of the less tragic looking ones.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    10 year warranty would ruin Ford.
    A coworker purchased a Nubira hatchback brand new. I kept my opinions to myself. He was a smart man in many areas. Women and vehicles he was like a fly to poo.

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