It's not your typical flagship, but the Kizashi, which was brand-new for 2010, comfortably fits that role for Suzuki, and it successfully erases bad memories of the mid-size Suzukis that preceded it. Along with the SX4 family, the Kizashi gives Suzuki a solid -- if small -- lineup of refreshingly fun-to-drive cars to accompany its rugged off-road vehicles and rocketlike motorcycles. The Kizashi was originally slated to receive V-6 and hybrid powertrains from business partner GM, but that deal fell through and Suzuki entered a corporate marriage with Volkswagen to provide turbocharged and hybrid engines for the Kizashi. It looks like the VW partnership is over, too, however, so the model will likely soldier on indefinitely with the current 2.4-liter four-cylinder. That engine is fine, but horsepower and technology junkies probably won't be satisfied with it. Buyers who want all-wheel drive, power seats, or a sunroof must forgo the slick, standard six-speed manual in favor of the CVT. Four trim levels run the gamut from the well-equipped, under-$20,000 S model to the Sport SLS flagship, which can be filled with leather, navigation, and a powerful audio system that will stream tunes from your iPod via a Bluetooth connection. The Sport prefix on GTS and SLS models means the cars include a spoiler, eighteen-inch wheels, a body kit, and other appearance upgrades. The Kizashi is the pride of Suzuki's car lineup, and the company has been promoting it quite heavily, so keep an eye out for sales promotions to sweeten the deal even more.
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