<strong>Months in fleet: Five
Mileage to date: 18,246
We've had our hands on our Four Seasons Suzuki Kizashi for five months, and in that same span of time, Suzuki has managed to sell only 2410 examples. On the one hand, that's understandable, given the company's limited dealer network (we count only 370 showrooms in the United States), but on the other hand, it's puzzling. The Kizashi is quite a compelling package, and as staffers continue to note, it's all we really need in a small car.
"If you're a fan of small sedans with quality appointments," Senior web editor Phil Floraday notes, "the Kizashi fits the bill perfectly. It's plenty quick, frugal, and fun, as long as you don't expect it to be a sports car. If the physical size of the car works for you, the quality and value of the package should seal the deal."
Our SLS AWD model represents the best Kizashi money can currently buy. The SLS trim adds leather seating with heated front seats, fog lamps, rain-sensing wipers, Homelink controls, a sunroof, and a ten-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system that incorporates Bluetooth audio streaming. That's a lot of content a $27,129, but some staffers still yearn for a simpler, less-expensive model. Road test coordinator Mike Ofiara prefers the front-wheel-drive Kizashi with a six-speed manual transmission, and assistant editor David Zenlea echoes his sentiment.
"I'd have a hard time recommending a Kizashi equipped and priced like our model, but such is the curse of most press cars. A well-equipped front-wheel-drive model can be had for well under $25,000, and it too will be a pleasant surprise. The steering is considerably meatier and more direct than what you usually get in this segment, the engine is smooth, and the interior is, at the very least, competitive with other small midsize cars."
Still, having all-wheel drive (available only with the continuously variable transmission) on a vehicle of this size and price is a great selling point. Like the smaller SX4, the Kizashi sends power to all four wheels only at the push of a button. Normally, the car sends power to the front wheels only, allowing the Suzuki to get slightly better fuel economy. We'll see if our averages dip later this year when Michigan's winter drives us to frequently push that AWD button.
We do wish that pairing a cell phone to the Kizashi's Bluetooth hands-free system was as simple as engaging all-wheel-drive. Floraday seconded earlier complaints about the system, noting that it takes several steps (and the owner's manual) to properly connect a phone to the system.
Apart from the Bluetooth blues, the Kizashi's logbook has been devoid of complaints and repairs, and full of praise. We think Suzuki's on the right path with this car -- as associate Web editor Jeffrey Jablansky noted, "Suzuki told us that the Kizashi would be something good. Suffice it to say, I'm not disappointed."
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