2004 Suzuki Verona

The Verona hopes to tread where the Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata already have walked briskly and successfully: As a cut-price alternative to mainstream family sedans like the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry. The Italian name was chosen to remind us that this warmed-over Daewoo passed through Giorgio Giugiaro's Turin design studio, Italdesign, on its way to America. The standard in-line six-cylinder engine is certainly unique in the category, but it makes only 155 hp, which falls short of some competitors' four-cylinder engines. The 177 pound-feet of torque helps compensate, and the expected price of $16,000 to $19,000 ought to ameliorate horsepower concerns as well. The roomy cabin won't win any interior-design awards, but it's inoffensive in its attempts to be upmarket at a downmarket price, an apt description for the entire car, come to think of it.

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