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Average User Score
5 ⁄ 5 stars
Based on 3 reviews
2010 Suzuki Kizashi Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 2 reviews
Introduced with much fanfare the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi is a brand-new face in the competitive midsize sedan market. The somewhat curiously named Kizashi represents a new direction for Suzuki - its first serious challenge to the sedan establishment. Riding on an all-new and admirably stiff unit-body platform, the 183-inch long sedan is slightly smaller than the benchmark Honda Accord. The Kizashi has an aggressive stance, with sharply formed exterior contours that combine to evoke a very European look. Though some details are clearly “inspired” by recent Audi and Mercedes offerings, the Kizashi has enough of its own panache to set it apart in the sensible sedan class.
Owing to its tidy dimensions, the 2010 Kizashi features a bit less interior space than the class leaders. The front seats don’t have quite the elbow room of the larger Accord, and the rear seat has just a tad less legroom. The 13.3-cubic-foot trunk offers plenty of room for bags, and on the whole the Kizashi is still a comfortably spacious midsize sedan. From a design standpoint Suzuki has done a phenomenal job with the Kizashi’s interior. The dash design is nothing short of superb, with a sweeping contour and high-tech look. The controls for the radio and standard electronic climate control are intuitive and well marked, while the slick red backlighting continues the European theme. The standard keyless start system and optional touch-screen GPS navigation with real-time traffic are surprising upscale touches.
For now all Kizashis are motivated by a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder (I4) engine, though a six-cylinder is in the works. The all-aluminum motor develops a healthy 185 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque. The new engine is quite smooth and has excellent power delivery that rivals the best in its class. With a relatively svelte 3,300-pound curb weight and one of a willing pair of transmissions, the 2010 Kizashi has sprightly acceleration, though power junkies may want to wait for the eventual V6.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard and offers good fuel economy courtesy of its wide ratio spread, though shift quality lags behind Honda’s five-speed unit. Many buyers will likely opt for the available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that can draw upon a near-infinite level of gear reduction to deliver optimal efficiency. Most Kizashis will drive the front wheels, but Suzuki offers its Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive (i-AWD) system as an option for all trims. This attractive feature, rare among midsize sedans, utilizes a part-time arrangement that lets the driver select which wheels are driven.
The 2010 Kizashi possesses very good handling dynamics, courtesy of its four-wheel independent suspension. Its ride-tuning is firm, in the European mold, with well-controlled body motions and a planted feel that is only enhanced in AWD models. While the chassis tends toward understeer when pushed hard, the grip limits are commendably high for a sensible sedan, and the steering has a good heft. The tradeoff for this energetic handling is a slightly harsh ride over major road imperfections, but the modern platform and abundance of sound deadening make for a quiet highway ride.
Four trim levels are offered for the 2010 Kizashi. The base S trim starts at less than $20,000 and features standard power accessories, air-conditioning with climate control, and steel wheels. The Kizashi SE upgrades to 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and power driver’s seat. The GTS trim accentuates the Kizashi’s sporting attributes with 18-inch wheels and paddle-shifters for the CVT transmission; also included are a power sunroof and 425-watt Rockford Fosgate CD stereo. The top-line Kizashi SLS adds a host of luxury features, like heated leather seats, rain-sensing wipers, and parking assist.
Safety features in the 2010 Kizashi are impressive; all trims receive front, side, and curtain airbags along with ABS, pre-tensioning seat belts, and stability control. In federal crash testing the Kizashi was awarded five stars for both frontal and side impacts. Its four-wheel antilock disc brakes, sourced from specialist Akebono, bring the Kizashi to a halt with reassuring force, and pedal feel is solid.
Overall the 2010 Kizashi demonstrates that Suzuki is ready to run with the big dogs in the midsize sedan segment. The available AWD system and high level of standard equipment make for a compelling alternative to established choices like the Accord and Camry, while the Kizaskhi's combination of style, sporty handling, and a modern platform should lure value-minded buyers from more expensive European cars and SUVs. That said, Suzuki still has a long way to go to gain significant market share. A limited dealer network, lack of brand awareness, and the relentless pace of progress in this segment are all working against the underdog Japanese manufacturer. Yet in a marketplace where the product rules, the Kizashi is a good, maybe even great vehicle that should find widespread buyer acceptance.