Months in Fleet: One
Miles to date: 3065
Kizashi, we're told, is a Japanese phrase that equates to "something good is coming." Indeed, something good arrived at our Ann Arbor offices earlier this month, when we took delivery of our Four Seasons Suzuki Kizashi SLS.
We were no strangers to Suzuki's new midsize sedan, having driven several examples over the past year. Each time, we walked away from the Kizashi impressed - against all odds, little Suzuki crafted an affordable sedan that delivered style, substance, and more than a dash of sportiness.
Our test car differs slightly from those examples - instead of base models, we opted for the top-end SLS trim. All Kizashis carry a long list of standard features (keyless entry and ignition, dual zone climate control, and projector headlamps are but a few highlights), but the SLS adds even more, with leather, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, a powerful Rockford Fosgate audio system, and a power sunroof.
Factory options on the SLS trim are limited, but our Kizashi has them all. We added body side molding ($125), premium floor mats ($125), metallic paint ($130), and all-wheel drive ($1250), for a total sticker price of $27,129.
Choosing all-wheel drive forced us to also replace the standard six-speed manual gearbox with a continuously variable transmission ($1100). Some staffers remain skeptical of CVTs, but Suzuki's is one of the more refined examples we've sampled.
"It's amazing how much more pleasant a CVT is when there's a good engine connected to it," writes senior Web editor Phil Floraday. "Instead of that cheap, rough wail we typically associate with a CVT, there's a respectable engine note coming from the 2.4 liter, and it feels much more responsive than other CVT-equipped vehicles I've driven over the past few years."
We're also impressed with the chassis tuning. Suzuki claims it did its development work at the Nurburgring, and it shows. We like the well-weighted, direct steering, and the superb body control through corners. And yet, the ride is comfortable over Michigan's poor-quality roads. The interior boasts a modern design, impressive materials, and solid switchgear. Space, however, is at a premium - particularly headroom.
Overall, the Kizashi is off to a good start, but there are still eleven long months to go.
2010 Suzuki Kizashi SLS AWD
Base Price: (with destination): $26, 749
Price as tested: $27,129
Body Style: 4-door sedan
Construction: Steel unibody
Size: DOHC inline four-cylinder
Displacement: 2.4 liters
Power: 180 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 170 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Fuel economy, city/highway: 22/29 mpg
Steering: Electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Turns lock to lock: 2.6
Turning circle: 18.0 ft
Suspension, Front: Strut-type, coil springs
Suspension, Rear: Multilink, coil springs
Brakes, F/R: Vented disc/disc, ABS
Wheels: 18-inch alloy
Tires: Dunlop SP Sport 7000 all-season tires
Tire Size: 235/45R18
Headroom, F/R: 39.3/37 in
Legroom, F/R: 41.7/35.6 in
Shoulder Room, F/R: 55.5/54.6 in
Wheelbase: 106.3 in
Track, F/R: 61.6/61.6 in
L x W x H: 183.1 x 71.7 x 58.3
Cargo Capacity: 13.3 cu ft
Weight: 3483 lbs
Weight Dist. F/R:
Fuel Capacity: 16.6 gal
Est. Range: 481 miles
Fuel Grade: 87 octane
Heated front seats
Bluetooth phone connectivity
Rockford Fosgate audio system
Rear parking assist sensors
Rain sensing wipers
Automatic headlamp control
Homelink remote commander
Metallic paint - $130
Body side molding accents - $125
Premium floor mats - $125