2010 Suzuki Kizashi Unveiled

It's been a long time coming, but Suzuki’s 2010 Kizashi--previewed by no less than three concept cars--has finally been revealed.

Although it is a midsize sedan, the Suzuki deems the Kizashi its "flagship," filling the gap left by the 2007 demise of the Daewoo-built Verona. Unlike that car, the Kizashi is entirely designed, engineered, and manufactured by Suzuki itself.

From a styling perspective, the Kizashi is remarkably similar to its three conceptual forebearers, especially the Kizashi 3, which was shown at the 2008 New York auto show. Designers gave the car a long, slender shape that suggests it’s sending power to the rear wheels.

Sadly, it’s not. The all-aluminum 2.4-liter I-4, estimated to produce something close to 185 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque, is channeled through the front wheels on base models, although Suzuki’s “i-AWD” system is optional. Front-drive cars come equipped with either a standard six-speed manual or an optional continuously variable transmission, while all-wheel-drive models are paired only with the CVT.

Suzuki hopes a number of additional premium features will help draw customers to the Kizashi. Keyless ignition is standard, while an iPod connector, 18-inch wheels, and Bluetooth connectivity for both phone and audio devices are optional. You’ll also have to opt for a leather interior, but the trim--which includes three-stage heated front seats--only makes the already attractive interior even swankier.

In Japanese, the word kizashi means something great is coming. From what we’ve seen of the Kizashi, we’d have to say the nomenclature seems appropriate. Suzuki expects the first cars to arrive at dealers this winter, with base front-wheel-drive models carrying a starting price of approximately $19,500.

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