THE Suzuki Liana became famous as the car once used by Top Gear for the star in a reasonably priced car spot.
And despite Jeremy Clarkson’s mickey-taking, that would have shown anyone with a bit of sense what a strong and well-built car it was.
It was thrashed around the circuit every week, often sliding off onto the grass and obviously, having to be replaced when someone – I can’t remember who – misjudged their skill and rolled it.
The Liana is a five door hatch or saloon with a smooth 1.6 petrol engine producing either 101 or 105bhp and driving the front wheels through a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox.
There is a fair amount of noise at higher revs but it’s never too intrusive and the ride is impressive even over very poor surfaces.
The handling is always safe and sure and there’s decent fun available from its neutral balance and decent grip.
The cabin is light and airy, with good leg and headroom front and rear. The driver has both seat and steering column height adjustment giving a comfortable driving position and the almost vertical rear plus a tight turning circle make it easy to park.
Digital instruments work well, and are visible at all times and equipment includes air con, central locking, electric windows, electric mirrors and alloys.
Price: Pay £1,500 privately for an ’07 07-reg GL hatch, or £1,200 for an ’05 05-reg GLX auto
Mechanical: 101bhp, 1,586cc, 4cyl petrol enginel driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 109mph
0-62mph: 11.8 seconds
Combined mpg: 40
Insurance group: 16
CO2 emissions: 169g/km
Main rival: Vauxhall Astra