Suzuki isn't a big-name player here in the U.S., but things may soon change, at least in the case of the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi. We were impressed with the car during our first-drive road and track testing of the sporty, affordable sedan, and now the NHTSA has revealed 5-star crash-test ratings, putting it solidly in the big leagues.
The 2010 Kizashi earns the 5-star rating in driver and passenger front crash test performance plus front and rear-seat side-impact, with a four-star rollover resistance rating. Standard curtain and torso side impact airbags and standard electronic stability control help the Kizashi score these numbers.
Strong safety performance is key in the mainstream sedan segment, as people hauling family around town don't want to sacrifice crash performance even if they do go to a more affordable option. And the 2010 Kizashi offers a lot of bang for the buck, encouraging shoppers looking at the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and similar sedans to check out the smaller brand.
It fares well against the competition on pricing, size and performance as well. It even comes off well when compared against pricier and larger competition like the Audi A4 and Subaru Legacy in handling. Sized between compacts like the Civic and Corolla and mid-size sedans like the Accord and Camry, the Kizashi attempts to strike an uncommon balance of size and price.
Starting at less than $20,000 and ranging up to about $24,000 for a loaded-out SLS model, the Kizashi is certainly affordable. The 185-horsepower 2.4-liter engine delivers 20-23 mpg city and 29-31 mpg highway depending on the transmission, drive layout (front-drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional), and equipment level chosen. Despite the low price, a quality and well-designed interior plus the 5-star rating make Kizashi Suzuki's best car yet.