First Look: 2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport

We’ve always walked away impressed with the taut body control and sharp handling exhibited by Suzuki’s midsize Kizashi sedan, but a new model — the 2011 Kizashi Sport — promises a sharper drive experience yet.

Although it’s billed as a unique model, the Kizashi Sport is more along the lines of an option package available on the top two Kizashi trim levels. Offered on both the GTS and SLS sedans, the Sport group adds a mildly revised front fascia, revised side sill moldings, extra chrome trim, and a trunk-mounted spoiler. Unique 18-inch wheels are two pounds lighter than before, and engineers blessed the Kizashi with a revised suspension setup, which lowers the ride height by 10 mm.

The suspension changes, it seems, are the extent of the mechanical upgrades gifted to the Kizashi Sport. Power still comes from a 2.4-liter DOHC I-4, which is rated at 185 horsepower, and 170 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, although a continuously variable transmission is optional (and mandatory if all-wheel-drive is ordered). Selecting the CVT drops the engine’s output to 180 horsepower.

Inside, the Kizashi Sport receives a few unique touches, including revised front “sport” seating, along with perforated leather on the steering wheel. Should buyers opt for black leather seating, contrasting stitching is added to the shift boot, park brake boot, and the seats themselves.

Suzuki has yet to establish pricing for the model, but we’d expect the Sport touch to carry a modest price increase over the $23,234 and $25,134 base prices of the GTS and SLS, respectively. Look for further information to emerge when cars arrive at dealers nationwide in August 2010.

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