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April 25, 2005

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I picked up my Suzuki Verona S from the shipping arrival center today. Whew! It's nice to get my car back.

I wondered if I had been building it up in my mind in the 2+ weeks since I last drove it, perhaps so much that the actual car couldn't match up to how good I was mistakenly "remembering" it was.

That turned out to not be the case. My Verona is still just plain a fun car to drive. In comparison to the 2005 Chevy Malibu LS V6, the strengths of my 2004 Suzuki Verona S are:

The driver's seat is far more comfortable.
It may not have as much power as the Malibu when you floor it...but the power curve on the Verona is much more smooth and evenly distributed. No matter what speed I'm going, a slight extra touch of the pedal brings a smooth surge of power to do whatever I want.
The sound system is better.
The steering is more precise and controllable.

The ultimate in luxury in US-style vehicles is to 'float like a cloud, not feeling the road...', right? The ultimate luxury in European-style luxury is to feel every aspect of the road so as to facilitate control at extremely high speeds, like on the autobahn. Well, just like in the debate between economical-but-rough/shrill 4-cyls and powerful-but-noisy/wasteful V-6s (in which Suzuki chose a third option: 4-cyl-sized L6 for smoothness), Suzuki chose a 3rd option for luxury: feeling the road well enough for good control, but isolated from the negative aspects of the road. In other words, bumps and noise are eliminated, but you still feel exactly what the car and the road are doing.

In the Verona, every driver input results in a proportionate car response. That's how the Verona's steering seems to know where I want to go before I do, how it settles down in a track when turning, why I was frustrated with having to force the Malibu to give me its available power...

I've never driven a BMW. To me, the Suzuki Verona truly defines the ultimate driving machine. The marathon trip I took last month rather backs that up. I see no reason to put that much money into a BMW when I can have this nice of a car for this little money.

When I purchase my next car in 5-7 years, I will be sure to try out a BMW. I'm sure it will have more power and more comfort than any Suzuki's being offered. But $20k-worth of extra luxury? I sincerely doubt that is even possible.

One last note about the Malibu: As I was going to return the vehicle, I noted that the black rubber (plastic?) strip that covers the passenger-side roof/body seam weld was coming off. This car has less than 2000 miles on it and cost the rental company right around $20k, or maybe just slightly less. And the quality is so bad its already coming apart just weeks after they bought it.

For shame, GM!

Posted by Nathan at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)
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