2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport SLS

Suzuki may dial in some chassis improvements to turn a run-of-the-mill Kizashi into a Sport model, but to me, the transformation is mostly cosmetic. The 18-inch wheels, bespoke sill trim, and tweaked lower front fascia help dress up an already attractive car, and the perforated leather seating does look classier than the hides used in our Four Seasons Kizashi SLS.

Behind the wheel, however, it's difficult to really notice much difference between the Kizashi Sport and a base Kizashi. Turn-in is slightly sharper and ride quality is mildly stiffer, but the car otherwise drives, corners, and handles like a standard Kizashi, which is to say quite good.

Arguably, the biggest revelation for us was driving a Kizashi that wasn't saddled with either a CVT or all-wheel-drive. Suzuki's six-speed manual is remarkably crisp and requires very short throws, and allows drivers to keep the rev-happy 2.4-liter in its power band. The only occasion I possibly would have needed the all-wheel-drive system was during a launch on a damp, brick-paved street, but traction control helped reign in any sign of wheelspin.
- Evan McCausland, Web Producer

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