Motor Corp. has been at the forefront of motorcycle sports and performance motorcycles for a long time, but has had a challenge of late establishing a solid foothold in the passenger car segment. That is until now.
It has infused a sporting personality into its mid-sized Kizashi
sedan, which is new for 2010. It took awhile, but Kizashi
is starting to slow down Suzuki
's sales decline as word gets out that it has something to offer in the tough near-luxury sport sedan market.
A week-long ride in the mid-range SE with front wheel drive, 180-hp 2.4 liter four cylinder engine and Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) driveline was impressive. Premium floor mats and the Platinum Metallic paint brought the $21,499 base price only up to $21,754.
Inquisitive neighbors guessed the cost closer to thirty grand, which confirmed my impression that its upscale styling is not in agreement with the low sticker price. Kizashi
possesses lean proportions, minimal front and rear overhang, and a raised door line that gives the illusion of a lowered roof. Adding to the overall appearance is the menacing gunmetal chain link-style grille, handsome 17-inch, twelve-spoke aluminum wheels wrapped with Dunlop rubber, and curvaceous trunk lid. You'll also appreciate the mellow exhaust note emanating out the stylish dual sport exhaust tips.
As models go, four versions are available, starting with the S, our SE, GTS and SLS. All wheel drive automatics are on the roster for each model. The lowest price S lists at $18,999 while the SLS AWD version comes in at $26,899.
High marks for body fit and finish were achieved, thanks to tight tolerances between panels and doors.
Despite this example being second from the bottom of the offerings, quality materials and ample room marked the interior. Elegant dash features easy to reach controls and a leather wrapped steering wheel houses standard equipped cruise and audio controls. Other creature comforts included a 425 watt Rockford Fosgate audio system, ambient and footwell lighting, 10-way power driver's seat, dual zone climate controls and keyless pushbutton start.
claims there's room for five passengers, the cabin is really built as a four-seater. A wide armrests folds down between the rear seats, with pop-out cup holders. Trunk offers 13.3 cu. ft. of cargo room, and a pass-thru door to the interior for long thin items like skis. The 60/40 rear seat can be folded flat.
Fitted with a performance tuned suspension and KYB shock absorbers, the handling was very good for a front wheel driver. Overall the performance from the inline four and attached CVT was OK, but the CVT seems to work against the aggressive desires of the driver. A six speed manual transmission would be a better choice, it costs less (depending on model) and you get an extra five horses to direct as you want.
Adding to the positive praises from both the press reviews and public surveys, Kizashi
has earned the highest possible ratings (five stars) in the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests. That includes front and side-impacts. Standard safety equipment includes class-exclusive eight airbags, tire pressure monitoring system and Electronic Stability Program (ESP).
For those who concern themselves about such things, Kizashi
(pronounced "Kee-Zah-Shee") more or less means "something great is coming" in Japanese.
After a week sorting things out, the Kisashi may well be appropriately named. It does a great job in delivering a premium package and experience without the premium price tag. Now Suzuki
and word of mouth have to tell the motoring public. Suzuki
has long been a player in the sport utility vehicle field here. Now it is the passenger cars' turn to get in the game.2010 SUZUKI KIZASHI SEVehicle:
58.3 inchesGround clearance:
5.7 inchesCurb weight:
Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata and Chevrolet Malibu