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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For It's cheap as a bag of chips, reliable, well equipped and easy to drive

Against Your first go-kart had a better ride and its levels of refinement won't worry Mercedes. Not as practical as the hatchback version.

Verdict It's not bad, but it's outclassed by the class best. It should prove reliable enough, though

Go for… 1.6 GLX manual

Avoid… 1.6 GL auto

Suzuki Liana Saloon
  • 1. Get the suspension checked before you buy - it's a regular cause of complaint
  • 2. Watch out for slack or noisy gearchanges or a slipping clutch
  • 3. The cabin is reasonable, but every bump in the road is felt inside
  • 4. The high boot floor and intruding suspension turrets reduce carrying capacity
  • 5. There's plenty of room for passengers in the rear
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Suzuki Liana Saloon full review with expert trade views

Some small cars are so refined and comfortable they can convince you that you're driving a much bigger car. Alas, the Suzuki Liana is not one of them - every bump in road is sent into the cabin. However, to be fair, the Liana doesn't handle too badly and it corners tidily without massive amounts of body roll.

There's not too much wind or road noise, but the 1.6-litre petrol engine is far from hushed. It needs to be revved hard to get the best from it, and that just means it gets noisy and harsh.

Otherwise, things aren't too bad behind the wheel, thanks to a reasonable dashboard, and there's plenty of room both front and rear. The split-folding seat is easy to use, but a high boot floor and the intruding suspension turrets reduce carrying capacity.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Reliable saloon and hatch with little image. Difficult to move at resale time

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

When buying second-hand, it really is a case of reversing the advice we gave when buying this car new. When new, it wasn't worth paying the extra £1000 asking price for the GLX over the GL. However, now that someone else has taken the hit on depreciation - and, believe us, they will have - you may as well go for the better equipped GLX.

Early GL models left the factory with electric windows, electric mirrors, twin airbags and radio cassette players, but were fitted with CD players after the interior was revised in April 2004. GLX trim adds alloy wheels, air-con, a rear centre-three point belt and, more importantly, side airbags.

This four-door saloon was introduced in 2002, but if you must have a Liana, we recommend the more practical five-door hatchback.

There's only one engine, a 105bhp 1.6-litre and it's best with the five-speed manual rather than the four-speed auto.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Saloon won't sell easily, 1.6 GLX has a lot of spec for not much money

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The Liana needs fettling every 6000 miles and that makes it considerably more expensive to service over three years than a Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra.

Dealers are in much shorter supply, too, but the good news is that their hourly rates tend to be a lot cheaper than those of most rivals. Warranty Direct shows that the average repair cost will be lower on the Suzuki than almost any rival, too.

Most small family cars offer a frugal diesel engine, but the Liana only comes with petrol. Still, the 105bhp unit seems to offer reasonable economy, with official figures of 32.1mpg in town and an overall combined figure of 40.9mpg.

However, in our experience such figures will be hard to match, especially on the motorway, where the engine needs to be worked hard. Around 35mpg is a more realistic everyday fuel figure. Opting for the four-speed automatic gearbox will reduce economy further, but insurance on either model is a reasonable group 7.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Reliable saloon and hatch with little image. Difficult to move at resale time

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Despite the firm ride and the choice of only one engine, Suzuki Liana owners seem to take every available opportunity to express their satisfaction with their purchase, as its high showing in What Car's JD Power Satisfaction Survey shows.

The only major fault that seems to have emerged with any frequency is the suspension. If you're buying a high-mileage car from a private buyer without any warranty, it could prove useful to take along an expert who can check the supsension.

There's a fair chance that most Lianas will have been well looked after in their early years, but demand the usual test drive before purchasing.

Look out for slack-feeling or noisy gearchanges and any evidence of clutch slip. Check all the electrics are in good working order, including the central locking and the air-conditioning.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Saloon won't sell easily, 1.6 GLX has a lot of spec for not much money

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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