American Suzuki Motor Corp. (ASMC), announced Feb. 6 at the Chicago Auto Show that its new entry into the small car segment, the Suzuki Aerio, will offer pricing starting at $13,499 when it hits dealer showrooms in March. The Aerio will be available in two models, as the Aerio sport sedan and the Aerio SX sport crossover model. The Aerio sport sedan offers two trim levels -- S and GS. The Aerio sport sedan S is priced at $13,499 with standard features such as air conditioning, six-speaker AM/FM stereo with in-dash CD, power windows and mirrors, three-spoke tilt steering wheel, rear-window defroster, several cup holders, adjustable front and rear head restraints, split folding rear seats and instrumental panel with all-digital speedometer and tachometer. Automatic transmission and ABS are optional at $1,000 and $500, respectively. "Aerio raises the bar in the small car category by combining new levels of exterior styling, surprising interior space and luxury-caliber appointments with one of the most powerful standard engines in the small car class," said Gary Anderson, American Suzuki vice president of automotive sales. "The result is an exceptional car that's priced lower than many poorly equipped, less-powerful cars in its class." According to Suzuki, the Aerio sedan with automatic transmission has a lower starting MSRP than the Ford Focus SE, Honda Civic LX, Mazda Protege 5 LX and Nissan Sentra GXE. Aerio owners can also take advantage of more total interior volume than most competitors in the small car class -- and at 14.6 cubic feet, more trunk volume then every car in the class, according to Suzuki. The interior configurations of the Aerio and Aerio SX have been engineered for a variety of passenger and cargo needs. Taking its cue from both models' vertical profile and higher roofline is a high-front seating position offering enhanced visibility, larger doors for easier access and under-seat storage. On the outside, the Aerio and Aerio SX boast an aerodynamic design featuring aggressive front and rear bumpers, sporty side moldings, wheel flares and a distinctive front grille. The theme continues with multi-reflector, jewel-type halogen headlights, prism tail lamps and intermittent wipers. Available Aerio and Aerio SX exterior colors range from red, yellow (SX only) and blue metallic to black onyx and silver metallic. Mirroring the scheme on all models are color-keyed front and rear bumpers, while the Aerio GS and Aerio SX extend the look with color-keyed door handles and mirrors. Class-Leading Power Delivering on the power promise made by the Aerio's aerodynamic exterior is a 2-liter, aluminum, DOHC, 16-valve, inline four-cylinder engine producing 141 horsepower and 135 pound-feet of torque -- one of the most powerful small car standard engines available, according to Suzuki. The Aerio offers such safety features as reinforced unibody structure with four cross members to help absorb the impact energy during a side collision; A, B and C posts built out of high-tensile steel that reinforce the passenger compartment for added protection in side collisions; front and rear crumple zones and impact beams, to protect occupants in collisions; and front seatbelt pretensioners that activate when second-generation airbags are deployed. Child safety features include the LATCH child-restraint system, child-seat tether anchors and rear door child safety locks. The Aerio offers excellent fuel economy -- topping out for both models at 26 mpg city and 31 mpg highway (automatic transmission) and 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway (manual transmission). About American Suzuki Motor Corp. The Automotive Division of American Suzuki Motor Corp. (ASMC), Brea, Calif., was founded in 1985 by Suzuki Motor Corp. ASMC markets automobiles in the United States through a network of more than 430 automotive dealerships in 49 states. ASMC's parent company, Suzuki Motor Corp. (SMC), based in Hamamatsu, Japan, is a diversified worldwide automobile manufacturer. Founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1920, it has 120 distributors in 191 countries.