1 Oct 2001
Some critics cite Suzuki’s 1990s light/small car contender, the Baleno, as its most boring car ever.
So, stung by this criticism, Suzuki went decidedly leftfield with its replacement, the Life In A New Age – or Liana for short.
A tall, almost monobox five-door hatchback body sure wasn’t everybody’s stylistic cup of tea but it did offer plenty of space inside, while the offbeat digital dash also stood out.
Underneath the Liana was utterly conventional, from its front-wheel drive to the coil spring suspension layout.
Power came courtesy of a lively 76kW/144Nm 1.6-litre DOHC 16V four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox.
But Liana sales weren’t quite as strong as Suzuki had hoped, since its 1.6 engine and slightly narrower feel meant that the Suzuki suffered a power and image handicap against small car stalwarts like the Mazda 323 and Toyota Corolla.
So the Liana four-door sedan arrived from September ’02, along with a surprisingly effective GS model featuring a body kit, sportier cabin and extra features for both body variants.
Anti-lock brakes were added from August ’03 to an already well-equipped package (that included dual airbags, power steering/windows/mirrors, central locking, and CD audio, while the non-GS Liana hatch temporarily vanished.
Sales improved, kicked along by keen pricing.
The Road to Recovery podcast series
31st of October 2001
First Oz drive: Suzuki looks for Liana lift
Suzuki's new hatchback is priced to please at $19,990
When it was new