Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good Suzuki’s first ever medium sized passenger car arrived Down Under in May 2010. Beneath the conservatively muscular styling is a rigid unibody platform, honed in development around the famous Nurburgring racetrack in Germany. We like the short overhangs, the crowned bootlid and that the smallest size wheels fitted are 17 inch (the XLS grade wears tastier again 18 inch multi spoke alloys and comes standard with High Intensity headlights and front fog lights). The Sport AWD grade joined the range in August 2010, taking the proven on-demand system of Suzuki's AWD SX4 hatch and adding new electronic programs to deliver optimum torque.
Not so good Is the understated styling adventurous enough? Lined up against a premium medium sized sports sedan (i.e. a BMW 3-Series or a Lexus IS) the Kizashi is line ball in size however the bonnet sits significantly higher which surely takes a couple of points off the Kizashi’s sex appeal (but to be fair the Kizashi is priced way, way under either of the former mentioned competitors).
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good First rate build quality and classy materials = a premium looking interior. The driving position is comfortable with a steering wheel that adjusts for rake (up and down) and reach (in and out), the dash design is logical and standard on the entry level XL grade is dual zone climate control air conditioning, keyless start and cruise control (excluding Manual transmission grades). The XLS and Sport AWD grades add a sunroof, a 10 speaker 425 Watt Rockford Fosgate audio system, 10 way electric adjust driver’s seat with memory and an auto dimming rear view mirror. The boot is an excellently sized 461 litres (especially considering the pert looking rear end) and can be enhanced by using the ski-port or the 60/40 split folding rear seat.
Not so good The XL grade’s steering wheel misses out on a leather finish (making do with urethane). Rear seat space is a tad cramped - headroom is only o.k. and legroom is behind the class best (the lack of headroom is surprising considering the vehicles height advantage over a number of competitors). Whilst we’re fans of the interior, it is a more conservative design than say the Hyundai i45 and misses out on that model’s optional panoramic glass roof.
Performance

Performance

Good The Kizashi’s 2.4 litre four cylinder petrol engine delivers an impressive 131kW of power and 230Nm of torque. The engine revs smoothly, is relatively lively and both the six speed Manual or CVT (Automatic) transmissions are a good match. The XLS grade with the CVT gearbox (and the Sport AWD grade) adds shifting paddles to encourage frequent gear shifts.
Not so good The naturally aspirated 2.4L four cylinder engine lacks the mid range oomph of a quality V6 (however a heavier engine would affect the Kizashi’s excellent handling capabilities). The Kizashi feels like it could handle even more power – we’d love to see a turbo four cylinder petrol engine offered as a go-fast sports grade in the future.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good The Kizashi spent countless hours at the world famous Nurburgring race track during the model’s development, so no surprise handling and steering feel is top notch. The steering is direct, quick and feels well weighted; we think it’s close to class best. The impressive suspension set up ensures responsive and nimble handling. The Kizashi is impressively quiet, even on the larger 18 inch alloys with relatively wide 235mm tyres and remains poised when cornering - even at speed (the minimal amount of body roll will bring a smile to driving enthusiasts).
Not so good The ride is firmer than a number of less capable handling medium sized players - most noticeable over rough secondary surfaces. The steering also has a slight tendency to move around a bit over rough roads.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good All Kizashi’s come standard with electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and six airbags (dual front, front side and side curtain). For the power on offer fuel economy is an impressive 7.9L per 100kms or 8.4L for the Sport AWD grade (official combined figures). The spare wheel is full size and alloy rather than a temporary space saver.
Not so good Smaller inside than larger medium players such as the Camry, i45 or Liberty (however the smaller footprint could also be viewed as a plus). Bluetooth connectivity, whilst not standard,is available as an optional extra, however factory fit satellite navigation is not.