Home » Hi, I’m In Delaware: 2002 Volvo S60 vs 2005 Suzuki Verona

Hi, I’m In Delaware: 2002 Volvo S60 vs 2005 Suzuki Verona

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Good morning! Today I’m magically whisking you all away to… Delaware. Why? For no other reason than to make that Wayne’s World reference. I did find a couple of conversation-worthy cars in the Very First State, which we’ll get to in a moment, after we settle our affairs in Memphis:

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Huh. Once again, I find myself in disagreement with the majority here. I dig the Avalanche, but it always felt a little too much like a compromise. I’d rather have the straightforward big-sedan vibe of the Chrysler.

Anyway, yeah. Delaware. One of those teeny-tiny East Coast states that’s usually just an arrow pointing to a spot on a map, the first state to ratify the US Constitution, and, coincidentally, my mother-in-law’s stomping grounds. Not a place known for its car scene, but folks still gotta get around, and I found a pair of decent cheap rides for us to check out. They’re similar in that they both have transverse inline engines of more than four cylinders, an unusual powertrain arrangement. Here they are.

2002 Volvo S60 2.4t – $1,800

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Engine/drivetrain: Turbocharged 2.4 liter overehad cam inline 5, five-speed automatic, FWD

Location: Bear, DE

Odometer reading: 190,000 miles

Runs/drives? Sure does

I remember my first thought when I saw the S60 and S80: “Holy crap; that’s a Volvo?” I’m sure I wasn’t alone in thinking that, either; for decades before that, Volvos were roughly the same shape as an IKEA store. But the S60 was sleek, modern, even stylish. And even now, twenty years later, it still looks good.

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This Volvo dates from Ford’s ownership of the marque, and cars from this era don’t share the carved-from-stone feeling or near-eternal durability of the old “bricks.” But they’re not as fragile as an Alfa Romeo or something, either. This Volvo has managed to put almost 190,000 miles under its belt, and apparently still runs just fine. It shows some wear and tear in the interior, and the paint’s a little faded, but not bad at all.

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It’s a good color, too. Too many Volvos of this era are silver, or that sandy beige that European carmakers were so fond of. I like this steely blue.

2005 Suzuki Verona – $1,200

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Engine/drivetrain: 2.5 liter dual overhead cam inline 6, four-speed automatic, FWD

Location: Rehoboth Beach, DE

Odometer reading: 137,000 miles

Runs/drives? Yep

The Suzuki Verona is a weird car. For starters, it isn’t a Suzuki at all; it’s a Daewoo, and was built all over the Far East, and sold all over the world under various names. It also features an inline six in a transverse position driving the front wheels, a rare layout indeed. The only other cars I can think of with a straight six turned sideways are the Volvo S80 – the big sister to the car above – and the Austin 2200 and Wolesley Six variants of the BMC ADO17 “Land Crab” sedans. (If someone else can name another one, please mention it in the comments.)

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But as we all know, rare doesn’t mean interesting, or good. The Suzuki Verona, alias Daewoo Magnus among others, was not an interesting ot particularly good car. This one seems to have held up all right, but the seller notes that it failed its last inspection in September, due to oil smoke from the exhaust. The engine is the one thing that makes this car unique, and this one burns oil. If you live in a place that doesn’t require inspections, you can probably get by – the seller says it doesn’t smoke at low speeds in town.

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But really, unless you want to be contrarian, or just really love the idea of a transverse six, or just need a really cheap car, you’re probably better off with a Sonata, or the ubiquitous Camry. The seller says this car runs well and is reliabile, but it’s a footnote, and parts will only get harder to find from here on out.

There they are, the two cheapest running cars that turned up in a quick search in the great state of Delaware. One inexpensive and slightly scruffy Volvo, and one oddball “world car” for dirt cheap. What’ll it be?

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)



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55 Responses

  1. Volvo on this one. From what I’ve heard, those NA 5-cylinders are shockingly robust, and this era (and spec) of S60 is really right in that sweet spot of “cool Euro sedan” and “Ford parts” for you to beat on it for a bit without it feeling like a beater.

    1. except this one has hair dryers, But although this is the second year of this new design, it still has many little issues with the fuel system and trans.

      But the Verona even with a smooth straight six, seems to always need a head gasket when I have seen them in the wild. they are just not daily driver material. This one would be fine for 24 hours of Lemons if you could get it for scrap value though.

  2. I normally love a not-so-quirky, quirky sedan, but these Daewoo rebadges are the reason for Suzuki’s demise in the states. Cars like the Verona killed the brand. As a former owner of an SX4, bought new about a year before the death of Suzuki in the U.S., I’m not willing to forgive this crappy car, even if it has a bizarro powertrain layout that I sort of admire. The SX4, Kizashi and even the Vitara were well-built, interesting yet affordable cars. This thing sucks.

  3. For that money I am willing to take a chance on the Daewoo, just for it’s rather oddball configuration, and I have two straight six cars already, why not more?

  4. Volvo also offered a transverse straight six in the generation of S60 that came immediately after the generation in this showdown. With a turbo and a factory optional polestar tune it was good for 325 HP and 354 ft-lbs of torque. Great engine and it gave the relatively unassuming S60 very respectable get up and go.

  5. As someone who worked for Suzuki during its Daewoo fueled last gasp in the states, get the (Insert whichever car wasn’t the Verona).

    Aside from it being an I6 FWD, there are very few redeeming qualities to this sedan. It drove worse than every other Asian sedan of that period. The I6, this sedan’s “Party Piece”, is a time bomb. The cat converter would come apart and send debris back into the cylinders through the exh valves, shredding the cyl bore. Sounds like that already happened here.

    Volvo anytime

    1. I had a hard time understanding how cat debris could end up blowing BACK into the engine. A quick Google search yielded this explanation:

      Many people deny the possibility but its actually quite simple. If your cats plug up, on the exhaust stroke your engine is going to pressurize that space (because the exhaust can not escape – its plugged). Realize there are three cylinders on each CAT doing this. So at the top of the stroke there is a small amount of valve overlap where both valves are open. The instant that intake valves start opening it creates a lower pressure in the cylinder, and the over-pressure exhuast is going to fill the space in the cylinder – simple physics – the gas will follow the pressure gradient.

      If that overpressure in the exhaust consists of a cloud of dust that used to be your CAT, well its coming in to.

      So the engine isn’t sucking anything in, which is what people seem to have trouble believing. Its being blown in by the overpressure in the exhaust pipe.

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