The Suzuki Kizashi is a fantastic car from a company known for motorcycles rather than automobiles. It proved that the alternative Japanese automaker could produce cars just as good as its rivals; Honda and Toyota. Now, Suzuki wants to take the momentum earned with the Kizashi and create a sports sedan to rival the Honda Civic Si and the TRD division of Toyota.
Called the Kizashi Turbo, this new variant, built on the base sedan, has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a new catback exhaust system, and an upgraded suspension producing 290 horsepower. It also provides enough room in the back for two and plenty of luggage space for a road trip. All in all, the new Kizashi is a big stepping-stone for Suzuki.
Though only a concept at the moment, we had a chance to take the new Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Road Race around the Road America circuit and a few of the side roads in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
The Kizashi Turbo is basically the same car inside and out as the standard version, albeit with a bigger motor, better suspension, and a few tweaks here and there.
Unlike the standard model, the Kizashi Turbo features a more aggressive appearance from the side, with Road Race badges and black molding. In the front, the Kizashi features well-drawn headlights that surround a gorgeous long, black grille, similar to what we find on the Volkswagen Golf GTI. Around back, the Kizashi features wraparound taillights and a tall spoiler to give the car a racing look. One major difference between the Turbo and the base model are the big chrome exhaust outlets that give the car a great noise.
Nothing changes in terms of size with the Kizashi Turbo. The wheelbase remains 106.3 inches with an overall length of 183.1 inches. Those numbers help the Kizashi model line slot right in between the compact sedan segment and the midsize sedans.
Under the hood, the Kizashi Turbo gets a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 290-horsepower. The boost is provided by a 16G turbocharger, moderated by a Road Race Sleeper blow-off value. Air is sucked in through the red Velocity intake. That motor is connected to a six-speed manual gearbox that feels smooth around the track and easy to use on the road. The clutch is light and the throw is short enough for quick and aggressive gear changes. Suzuki has not released any performance figures on the car and we was not allowed to record a 0-60mph time, but you can expect it to be around 6.5 seconds. In the corners, the upgraded Road Race sport springs and a Delta Tech spoiler help keep the Kizashi planted and the 19-inch tires provide tons of grip.
The Kizashi Turbo is easy to control around tight corners and feedback through the wheel is very good. This is a very easy car to drive fast.
The Kizashi Turbo is a very capable track car, but on the road things get even better. The suspension is hard, but not backbreaking. At lower speeds the rumble from the upgraded exhaust sounds brilliant and, with a simple flex of the big toe, the noise becomes sensational.
The inside of the car does not see many changes either. The Suzuki Kizashi Turbo still has a very airy interior with soft-touch plastics on the dash and an easy to use setup. The gauges are large and easy to read. The seats are covered in cloth and are very supportive on the track and on the road. The overall fit and finish is amazingly good and refinement is on par with Honda and Toyota. The backseats are somewhat cramped, but no more so than other compact sedans. The folding rear seats help add to the Kizashi Turbo’s amble trunk space.
No mileage numbers have been released yet and the decision to put the car into production is still up in the air. If they do decide to make it, the price will be around $26,000, according to Suzuki.
After an afternoon with the Suzuki Kizashi Turbo, we truly hope they decide to make this performance sedan. Though, we fear that even if this hot family sedan is given the green light, sales will be quite low. With a sticker of $26,000 and above, a Suzuki badge on the front and little advertising, the new Kizashi Turbo might be one of the best and most practical cars never to see the light of day.