A few weeks ago we took a trip to a local bar to watch our hometown baseball team, the Cleveland Indians. Normally we would just go to the game because the tickets are pretty cheap, but even $5 is a bit much to watch a team that really stinks.
Going into the game it was hard to get excited because we have won very few games and are in last place in the division, so needless to say, we weren’t expecting a whole lot. Amazingly though, the team did pretty well and even won the game.
It wasn’t easy for them, but it was determination that brought them a well deserved win. The same can be said for Suzuki. It’s been quite some time since they have been anything to write home about, but after years of hard work and staying under the radar, they finally have a winner on their hands.
The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi was one of those cars where you never quite knew what to expect. Sure, people have written that it was good and a step in the right direction for the company, but, like buying a generic brand cereal, you never want to believe the hype no matter what they tell you or how good it might be.
Hit the jump for the rest of the review.
In a world of boring midsize sedans, the Kizashi is a real stand out and not in a, "Wow that’s terrible," sort of way. In fact, this car is down right good and one of the best cars we have driven for the money.
On paper the Kizashi really isn’t all that impressive. It has the normal 2.4-liter four-cylinder that puts out 185 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. That will get you from 0-60 miles per hour in just 7.5 seconds, on par with the Honda Accord EX. Sounds decent enough for a car of this size.
The model that we tested was the SE, one trim level above the bottom and two from the top. Sadly, the car had the CVT gearbox and not the six-speed manual that we would have preferred. The car came with 17-inch wheels that gave the Kizashi a real aggressive stance, far better than anything else in its class. Whatever class that might be.
The Suzuki is smaller when compared to the Accord and Toyota Camry by about five or six inches, which might as well be seven feet in the midsize sedan world. The wheelbase is 183.2 inches, not bad, but not great. Amazingly, the interior space is just as good as any big sedan. There is plenty of room for adults in the back and only a little amount of forward hunching is needed if you’re above six or so feet. Up front there is more room than what most people would need and the tilt and telescoping steering wheel gives a driver of any size great position behind the wheel.
The interior of the Kizashi is a real pleasure to be in. There are rich materials that are soft to the touch. For a car of this price it is truly amazing how good it feels in the cabin. Depending on the trim level, the Kizashi has auto up/down windows on the driver and passenger sides, satellite radio, dual climate control, and Bluetooth. The only complaint we have is that it took us 15 minutes to find the fuel filler cap release. Just a helpful hint, there is none. You must unlock the car and push the left side of the gas door.
The Kizashi comes with an iPod interface that was confusing at first and remained that way for the duration of the test. The system is lagging a bit compared to the Accord and even the Kia Forte, but it’s far better than anything the domestic brands offer.
Driving through the back roads of Ohio, it was clear as day that all the time spent by Suzuki engineers at the Nurburgring paid off. The car manages to be Lexus quiet and soft on the highway, but performance car exciting when the road got twisty. That is the ultimate goal for any car and the Kizashi achieves it with flying colors.
The CVT transmission was good in sport shift mode, but a bit average in plain old drive. It was a bit slow on the downshift, but that’s the reason we would recommend the manual.
When pushed hard the Kizashi had minimal roll and great poise in the corners. There is a small pinch of oversteer when you really push the car, but most drivers shouldn’t take it to those kinds of limits anyway. Power is a bit lacking in the lower rev range and in normal drive mode the CVT just doesn’t deliver the goods like we had hoped. The car is quick and the needle shows us that, but it doesn’t feel it at times.
The brilliant new Suzuki will sell to a few people and, sadly, that’s about it. The company doesn’t have the money to advertise with the likes of Honda and Toyota, so it’s depending on reviews like this to spread the world. Consider the good word spread Suzuki.
If you’re thinking of buying a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Civic, just stop for a moment and go look at the Kizashi. The steering is tight and the interior is wonderful. Hell, it can even come with all-wheel drive if you so desire. Plus, in an age where individualism is king, the Kizashi will set you apart from all the other Japanese sedans.
For real fun though, hold your hands together and pray that Suzuki decides to make the Kizashi Turbo. Please, oh please, make it already.