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2004 Sedan Buyer's Guide
by Martha Hindes

Suzuki Verona
Suzuki Verona sedan

As Suzuki expands upscale for American buyers, a natural addition was a flagship sedan, tantalizingly named the "Verona," exuding visions of narrow European roadways backed by misty, mountain vistas, and haunting echoes of fated Italian lovers Romeo and Juliet. What a stage to suggest magnificence by association.

Verona, Daewoo designed and built under the controlling interest of General Motors, delivers in appearance. Sweeping hoodlines anchor a noble face above the deep front fascia. The look is solid and roomy, with a subtle European flavor. Imagine just about any amenity to make one feel pampered and special, and this premium touring sedan with three trim levels probably has a version, from heated seats to the lavish touches of wood-look trim to a practical tilt steering wheel. Room to stretch was a must for all levels.

Despite its noble name, Verona has a practical side. Built-in roof rack slots quickly accommodate the hardware rails needed to hold sports equipment on a trip. All models get the same 2.5-liter six cylinder, that delivers 155 horsepower and an impressive 177 lb-ft of torque. Four wheel disc brakes are standard on all models, with ABS included with the top two trims.

Suzuki is staking its claim to the "bread and butter" midsize section of the sedan market with this newbie. Despite an initial base price of $16,500, it is sparse on options. Instead, most equipment, such as leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, lumbar support and speed sensitive power-assist steering are standard. Electronic traction control is optional on the EX. And Suzuki claims the best industry warranty that is fully transferrable to maintain resale value.