Junkyard Find: 2006 Suzuki Forenza With Manual Transmission

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 2006 suzuki forenza with manual transmission

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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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?

By 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.

D-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.

At 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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2 of 27 comments
  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Nov 24, 2020

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

  • Oberkanone Oberkanone on Nov 24, 2020

    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.

  • Jeff S I don't believe gm will die but that it will continue to shrink in product and market share and it will probably be acquired by a foreign manufacturer. I doubt gm lacks funds as it did in 2008 and that they have more than enough cash at hand but gm will not expand as it did in the past and the emphasis is more on profitability and cutting costs to the bone. Making gm a more attractive takeover target and cut costs at the expense of more desirable and reliable products. At the time of Farago's article I was in favor of the Government bailout more to save jobs and suppliers but today I would not be in favor of the bailout. My opinions on gm have changed since 2008 and 2009 and now I really don't care if gm survives or not.
  • Kwik_Shift I was a GM fan boy until it ended in 2013 when I traded in my Avalanche to go over to Nissan.
  • Stuart de Baker I didn't bother to read this article. I'll wait until a definitive headline comes out, and I'll be surprised if Tesla actually produces the Cybertruck. It certainly looks impractical for both snowy and hot sunny weather.
  • Stuart de Baker This is very interesting information. I was in no danger of buying a Tesla. I love my '08 Civic (stick), and it feels just as responsive as when I bought it 11 years ago with 35k on the clock (now 151k), and barring mishaps, I plan to keep it for the next 25 years or so, which would put me into my mid-90s, assuming I live that long. On your information, I will avoid renting Teslas.
  • RHD The only people who would buy this would be those convinced by a website that they are great, and order one sight-unseen. They would have to have be completely out of touch with every form of media for the last year. There might actually be a few of these people, but not very many. They would also have to be completely ignorant of the Hyundai Excel. (Vinfast seems to make the original Excel look like a Camry in comparison.)