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Is the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi the Affordable Performance Sedan You Have Been Waiting For?

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Although you might mistakenly assume that the new Suzuki Kizashi is just another plain as oatmeal family sedan from a Japanese auto manufacturer, this is no rehash of the Accord playbook from two generations ago. In designing the Kizashi sedan Suzuki has come up with an entirely new kind of Japanese car: the truly sporty compact family sedan.

Sorry VW, it looks like your affordable sports sedan crown has been taken from you. Maybe that is why VW is looking to buy a controlling interest in Suzuki as the current Jetta could use 1/10 of the Kizashi's effortlessly stylish cool, and it starts at just $18,999. The interior of the Kizashi is also a quantum leap forward for the brand in tactility and control ergonomics--so much so that it reminds me of a last generation VW Passat. The optional leather is also of very high quality, a rarity in this price class.

And look out Subaru because your all-new Legacy sedan finally has some competition in the form of the AWD Kizashi. The Suzuki AWD model also is available with a CVT just like in the four cylinder Legacy so their fuel mileage figures are similarly impressive. A slick shifting six-speed manual is standard as it should be in a sedan with sporting intentions.

There are four levels of Kizashi to choose from and even the most basic S model comes equipped with standard ABS with Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Control, Akebono brake pads and the most airbags in its class. You also get power windows and locks, automatic temperature control, steering wheel audio controls, USB port, cruise control and keyless entry.

But there are rewards for upgrading to an upper level SLS Kizashi as the top level variant only costs a little under $25,000. This is the price for the SLS model which has leather, heated seats, power seats, Bluetooth, a moonroof and even a 425-watt Rockford & Fosgate audio system. To get all this in a competing luxury car you would have to spend thousands of dollars more and probably have less fun driving it.

The only options available are a navigation system with back-up camera, the aforementioned CVT automatic with paddle shifters, and all wheel drive. Essentially Suzuki has covered all its bases here by building a fun-to-drive family sedan that can be easily and affordably optioned to suit your needs. And one more thing: Suzuki has a 7 year/100,000 mile fully-transferable powertrain warranty that should keep you covered for the long road ahead.

Engine: (2.4 Liter 185 horsepower 4 cylinder)

Economy: (23 city/31 highway)

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