Not brilliant but a bargain
20 April 2004

Somewhere between my afternoon slumber and birdwatching on the university forecourt, I learned it was Keynes who believed that escalating prices are a necessary evil in a well-managed economy. But the folks at Suzuki obviously slept through that lecture, because the heavily revised Liana wagon has £1000 chopped from its previous asking price and now starts at a lowly £8995 for the base GL.

Five doors, capacious cabin and boot, effectively reworked interior and a capable 105bhp 1.6-litre for the price of a 1.4-litre Citroën C2 – must be a dream, right? Wrong. And don’t expect Suzuki to skimp on the standard kit either because, even clad in lower-spec clothes, it comes with anti-lock brakes, EBD, CD player, electric windows and driver and passenger airbags. The top-spec GLX tested here adds air-con, front side airbags and fog lights, all for a not-unreasonable £9995.

But run out to take a test drive and you’ll realise where the Liana hasn’t received any amendments – the ride.

Like the old car, the facelifted Liana is jittery at low speed and crashes over anything more intrusive than a Catseye. Stirring the notchy shifter and experiencing the nasty kickback through the helm leaves spirited drivers wanting more. But if you don’t long for detailed communication through the wheel, and I suspect most Liana customers don’t, then you won’t be let down by Suzuki’s superb example of mini-MPV practicality.

Try carrying four adults in comfort, revelling in the tactility of the massively improved cabin materials, or folding the 60:40 split rear seats completely flat as you utilise the wealth of load space and then you’ll be thankful that Suzuki clearly hasn’t heard of Keynes.

Jack Galusha

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