is launching a new ‘mini-minivan’ called the Aerio in Japan on January 29. The
1.5 litre model has five doors and a roomy interior equivalent in volume to that
of Japanese domestic market mini-vans. The model reflects a growing trend by Japanese
designers, already seen with Honda’s new Civic, of creating tall five-door hatchbacks
that are a blend of estate car and minivan.

Suzuki says its engineers aimed for a sedan-like driving feel and station wagon
practicality. The new all-alloy engine has variable valve timing and achieves
half the maximum emission levels permitted under Japan’s strict new regulations.

The Aerio also has the latest safety systems such as electronic brake force
distribition and an impact-absorbing body that performs well in the Japanese
64km/h off-set crash test.

The monthly Japanese sales target is 3,000 units and exports of 30,000 units
a year to Europe are also planned.