The Suzuki Aerio and Aerio SX wagon receive a freshening-up for 2005. Outside, the 2004’s clunky front end receives a modern and more mature grille and headlights, while the back end, while still carrying a black hatch regardless of body colour, gets fetching new jewel taillamps. Inside, the dash undergoes a major transformation, with analogue gauges replacing the digital dinosaur that used to lurk there, and better control placement on the console.

The model lineup has also been reduced; both sedan and wagon come in a single model, and the all-wheel-drive system available on the sedan in 2004 has been discontinued. It’s still on the SX wagon, a torque transfer system that is front-wheel-drive until it senses slippage and sends power to the rear. A 2.3-litre four-cylinder powers all models.

The well-equipped Aerio sedan includes ABS, CD player with six speakers and wheel-mounted controls, climate control air conditioning, cruise control, floor mats, height-adjustable driver’s seat, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, power heated mirrors, 60/40 folding rear seat, tilt wheel and variable intermittent wipers.

The SX wagon adds a ground-effects package, aluminum wheels, six-CD system, cargo cover, fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear spoiler and rear washer/wiper.

While it’s a roomy car for its size, the Aerio sedan pales in popularity to the SX wagon, which offers considerable cargo space for its small footprint – there’s even a removable bucket with handle, hidden under the floor, for corralling small items. As with all “tall wagons”, visibility is excellent due to upright seating, and the odd little front quarter windows help more than you’d think.

The Aerio is built in Hammamatsu, Japan.

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