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SUZUKI WAGON UPGRADED TO IMPROVE VERSATILITY

A considerable advance in the power limits of the Esteem wagon's engine should expand the compact car's attraction to consumers, Suzuki Canada's director of automotive sales believes.

"It's an improvement perfectly suited to the load-carrying requirements of this type of automobile," says Marcel Lambert, who points out that this change will increase the Esteem wagon's versatility.

The new engine in the 2000 model year Esteem Wagon is a 1.8-litre, 16-valve, DOHC inline-4 that puts out 122 horsepower at 6300 rpm and 117 pound-feet of torque at 3500 rpm. That's about a 33 per cent increase in horsepower and about a 20 per cent jump in torque.

Esteem wagon starts at $15,995 for the GL trim, which includes the new engine and a 5-speed manual transmission. To get the GL trim with a 4-speed automatic shifter, the list price goes to $16,995.

The GL trim includes a 4-speaker stereo/cassette player, a centre console, power steering, a tachometer, tinted glass, variable intermittent wipers, front and rear mud flaps, cupholders, body-colored bumpers at both ends, and a rear defroster, among other things.

Key options on the GL package include air conditioning ($1,349.95), a 6-disc CD changer ($399.95), an engine block heater ($52.95), and a permanent roof rack ($199.95).