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New models - Suzuki - Liana - 1.8

First Oz look: Liana bulks up

Pick the difference: New alloy wheels distinguish the 1.8-litre Liana.

Suzuki gives its under-performing Liana small car a boost

2 Mar 2004

SUZUKI Australia has given its struggling Liana GS small car range a boost by upgrading the engine and features without changing the $19,990 entry price.

From this month Liana comes with a 92kW/170Nm 1.8-litre engine, replacing the uncompetitive 76kW/144Nm 1.6 it was launched here with in October 2001.

The engine is an all-aluminium and variable valve timed unit with double overhead camshafts and 16 valves that has not been available in Australia previously.

Despite the power increase, Suzuki says Liana’s fuel efficiency has not been compromised, claiming a combined fuel consumption rate of just 7.4 litres per 100km.

According to GoAuto InfoTools, Liana now lines up on price and engine size with the popular Nissan Pulsar ST sedan, actually outdoing it by 2kW on power and 7Nm on torque. But the entry level Toyota Corolla Ascent boasts a full 100kW and 171Nm of torque.

But none of the Japanese cars can match the 2.0-litre Hyundai Elantra for price or performance, the South Korean boasting 105kW and 186Nm for $18990.

According to VFACTS sales data, the Liana has struggled to gain attention in the red-hot small car category. Where the Corolla sold 36,128 examples in 2003, the Suzuki managed just 1278 sales for the year.

“We are doing double-figure sales per month with Liana and we want to get it into 120-150s per month,” said Suzuki Australia general manager automobiles David Le Mottee.

“Because the competition went to a 1.8 we were caught short and we’ve now got that, so what we have tried to do now is ace them with features.” External giveaways of the Liana’s engine upgrade include standard alloy wheels and foglights.

Design changes inside the sedan and hatch include driver's side sunglasses holder, chrome door lock knobs and a newly designed chrome instrument panel/centre console.

New standard features include a seven-speaker sound system with a sub-woofer and an additional audio control switch attached to the steering wheel.

There’s also a newly designed combination analogue meter cluster, stylish new black seat cushion material with modified front seat cushions and a shape change in the front door pocket area for more leg space.

Existing standard equipment includes air-conditioning, power steering, electric windows, electric mirrors, CD player, dual SRS airbags, side impact protection beams, three-point seatbelts and ABS.

Automatic transmission remains a $2000 option.

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