Introduced as a new model in 2004, the Suzuki Verona undergoes almost no changes for 2005: there are new exterior colours, and the AM/FM/cassette on the base model has been replaced with a CD player that adds MP3 on the upper line.

The Verona is a sister car to the Chevrolet Epica; both are built in Korea by GM-DAT (General Motors/Daewoo Auto and Technology). While the Verona is sold in the U.S., the Epica is Canada-only. The Verona comes in a base GL and upper-line GLX and is Suzuki’s only midsize car.

Both trim lines are powered by a 2.5-litre inline six. The company says it was chosen because it is very smooth, and it is; there’s not a hint of vibration. But at 155 hp, it’s underpowered – the Honda Accord’s four-cylinder makes 160 hp, the Nissan Altima’s four makes 175 hp – and it’s thirsty for its size.

The GL includes air conditioning, four-wheel disc brakes, CD with six speakers, cloth seats, cruise control, power windows, locks and heated mirrors, keyless entry, 60/40 folding rear seat, wood grain trim and variable intermittent wipers.

The GLX adds an eight-way power driver’s seat, ABS with traction control, aluminum wheels, heated windshield, CD/MP3, chrome accents, climate control air conditioning, auto-dimming rearview mirror, fog lamps, heated leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and power sunroof.

The Verona features an uncluttered and understated design by Italdesign-Giugiaro of Turin, Italy. There are a lot of creature comforts for the price, but performance and handling don’t stack up to Japanese rivals such as the pricier Toyota Camry or Honda Accord; the similarly-priced Hyundai Sonata is also a good alternative. The Verona’s sister car Chevrolet Epica is as much as $1,905 more, even though they’re all but identical; those bowtie badges must be expensive.

The Verona is built in Bupyong, South Korea.

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