For 2006, the Suzuki Aerio undergoes minor changes. The sedan comes in a single trim line, the fastback in SE and SX trim.
The sedan receives alloy wheels and an MP3-compatible stereo; climate control replaces manual air conditioning; and there are four new colours, Silver, Beige, Cat’s Eye Blue and Black. The Aerio SE receives optional manual air conditioning, standard power door locks, MP3-compatible stereo, and new Silver, Sapphire Blue, Black and Bright Red exterior colours. The SX receives an MP3-compatible stereo and new Silver, Sapphire Blue, Black and Bright Red exterior colours.
All Aerio models are powered by a 2.3-litre inline four-cylinder. The sedan and fastback SE are front-wheel-drive only; the fastback SX comes in FWD or all-wheel-drive, which is front-wheel until it senses slippage and routes power to the rear wheels. All use a five-speed manual transmission that can be optioned up to a four-speed automatic, except for the AWD, which is automatic-only.
Features on the sedan include power windows and locks with remote entry, air conditioning, CD/MP3 player with six speakers, cruise control, outside temperature gauge, tilt wheel, floor mats, height-adjustable driver’s seat, 60/40 split rear seat, heated mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, alloy wheels, side airbags, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution.
The fastback SE includes power windows, power locks without remote, CD/MP3 player with six speakers and wheel-mounted controls, tilt wheel, 60/40 folding rear seat, power mirrors, intermittent wipers, rear wiper/washer, and 14-inch steel wheels. Air conditioning can be added as an option.
The SX adds climate control, and several standard features that cannot be added as options to the SE: six-CD/MP3 player with subwoofer, cruise control, keyless remote, leather-wrapped wheel, heated mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, cargo area light, fog lamps, rear spoiler, aluminum wheels, and anti-lock brakes.
While it’s a roomy car for its size, the Aerio sedan pales in popularity to the fastback wagon. 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. Build quality is very good and the 155 hp engine is zippy enough; winter-haters will appreciate the blast-furnace heater. The SE is a great little basic cargo-mover for what it costs, but the SX adds a number of options for a very reasonable price, and stacks up very favourably against other tall wagons such as the Ford Focus wagon, Chrysler PT Cruiser, and Chevrolet HHR.