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Future models - Suzuki - Liana - 5-dr hatch

Liana is revealed

High roller: The Liana's tall-boy stance mimics that of the Honda Civic hatchback.

Suzuki's ageing Baleno is about to make way for an all-new replacement

20 Feb 2001

SUZUKI has released the first images of its Corolla/Civic-rivalling contender - known as the Aerio in Japan and Liana in other markets.

The newcomer is scheduled to make its first public appearance at the upcoming Geneva motor show and goes on sale in the UK around mid-year.

Suzuki Australia sources suggest the car will make its local debut at the Sydney motor show in October and go on sale around the same time.

The Liana's arrival in Australia is expected to be fast-tracked in the same way that the Ignis was rushed onto the local market soon after its Japanese debut.

"Suzuki needs to be very responsive to the local market," a Suzuki insider said.

Although Suzuki is at pains to point out the Liana is not a replacement for the ageing Baleno, logic suggests this is the case.

Suzuki's denials may be largely due to the fact the Liana and Baleno will be sold concurrently in some markets.

Unlike the Baleno, the Liana adopts a tall-boy stance not unlike the current Honda Civic and imminent new Corolla hatchback. This should endow the Liana with generous levels of interior space within its compact dimensions.

Although the only images available at present are of a five-door model, the line-up is also expected to comprise a sedan variant.

There is no official word on which engines will be offered here. Powerplants offered in Japan include a 1.5-litre unit that generates 81kW at 6000rpm and 143Nm at 4000rpm.

Transmission choices comprise a five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic.

An all-wheel drive Liana is also offered in Japan, but high cost may rule this version out for Australia.

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