Driven: 2010 Suzuki Kizashi

In the case of its cars, and specifically the Kizashi, the answer there would probably be, "Because I bought a Subaru." The Kizashi's angle - engaging performance, reasonable price, sharp interior, all-wheel drive - is shared by the Legacy. Pricing is pretty close. The volume-model Kizashi SE is $22,234, but the decked-out SLS with navigation (which includes leather and the Rockford stereo) costs $27,484. That's for a front-wheel-drive four-cylinder model. Meanwhile, a Subaru Legacy 3.6R Premium - minus leather and a big stereo but with all-wheel drive and a 256-hp boxer six-cylinder - goes for $26,690. And the Legacy definitely can't be painted with the "soulless transportation appliance" brush. Granted, Suzuki provides a longer powertrain warranty (seven years or 100,000 miles to the Subaru's five-year/60,000-mile plan), but the Subaru is right on top of it in most important ways.

But whether the Kizashi is better than a Legacy is beside the point. The major revelation is that Suzuki now builds a car that's worthy of that discussion, a car that seriously makes a case for itself in an arena packed with established competitors. Farewell, Forenza, and pass the Kizashi.

2010 Suzuki Kizashi

base price $19,734

engine 16-valve DOHC I-4
displacement 2.4 liters (146 cu in)
horsepower 185 hp @ 6500 rpm
torque 170 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
transmission type 6-speed manual
drive Front-wheel

steering Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
suspension, front Strut-type, coil springs
Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
brakes f/r Vented discs/discs, ABS
tires Dunlop SP Sport
tire size 215/60VR-16

L x W x H 183.1 x 71.7 x 58.3 in
wheelbase 106.3 in
track f/r 61.6/61.6 in
weight 3241 lb
FUEL mileage 21/31 mpg (est.)

I live in a large American city with over 300k residents, yet too bad there isn't a single Suzuki Auto dealership within 100 miles.

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