Suzuki’s largest car trims its model offerings and gets additional standard equipment for 2006. Verona drops its S, LX, and EX trim levels and now comes in base and Luxury versions. Both have a 2.5-liter inline 6-cyl engine and 4-speed automatic transmission. Standard equipment includes front side airbags, and–new for ’06–antilock 4-wheel disc brakes. Also standard are power windows/locks/heated mirrors, keyless entry, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, height-adjustable driver seat, CD/cassette stereo with steering-wheel controls, and split folding rear seat.
Verona disappoints with sluggish takeoffs and mediocre midrange power. Automatic transmission smooth, but slow to kick down for more passing power. One test car’s engine ran erratically when first started on cool mornings.
The Luxury adds 16-inch alloy wheels to replace 15-inch steel wheels, plus automatic climate control, sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and power driver seat; optional is a traction-control system.
Verona is nicely equipped for its price and boasts a strong warranty, but it’s plug-ordinary in performance, where its 6-cyl acts more like the 4-cyl engines of many rivals. Also, this Suzuki is likely to suffer lower resale values vs. more-established competitors.
Verona won’t be back for 2007, a victim of early quality problems and an undersized engine that held sales way below Suzuki’s projections. A Suzuki spokesman says an improved version or a different midsize sedan may be substituted at some point, but would not say when that might happen.