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2011 Suzuki Kizashi Photo
8.0
/ 10
On Performance
BASE INVOICE
$18,238
BASE MSRP
$18,999
On Performance
The 2011 Suzuki Kizashi's powertrains feel energetic but ordinary; however out on a twisty road it has the verve of a pricier sport sedan.
8.0 out of 10
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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

The steering is nicely weighted and responsive, and the ride has a well-damped solidity rare in this price bracket.
Car and Driver

The Kizashi drives better than basically everything in its class.
Autoblog

inspired suspension tuning
Edmunds' Inside Line

a seriously nippy contestant in the midsize sedan league
Popular Mechanics

well-tuned, with a connected and satisfying steering feel and a reasonably tight chassis
AutoWeek

The 2011 Suzuki Kizashi only comes with a four-cylinder engine, but it's a gutsy one that can move this compact sedan plenty quick. The 185-hp, 2.4-liter feels at its perkiest between 2,500 rpm and 5,000, and it provides spirited performance either with the six-speed manual gearbox or available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

The manual gearbox is definitely the best of the two, with a smooth, well-coordinated clutch takeup, even if the shifter feels a little imprecise, and a tall fifth and sixth gear bring relaxed high-speed cruising. Zero to 60 mph takes as little as 7.5 seconds. With the CVT, the Kizashi is a less exciting car overall (and the engine makes 5 hp less, technically); it doesn't feel nearly as responsive, even if it can accelerate quickly. In Drive, the CVT takes too long to ramp up revs for brief passes or squirts of power. But paddle-shifters alongside the steering wheel allow access to six simulated ratios on all but base S models, and pre-ordering one of those ratios allows better responsiveness.

With the CVT, the Kizashi comes either with front-wheel drive or the new i-AWD system, which is configured for enhanced cornering and managed via the stability control system.

While the powertrain is good but not stellar, the Kizashi is very remarkable—and by some accounts class-leading—with respect to steering and handling. It has excellent steering response; it loads up predictably—and better than most electric-boost units—though it doesn't have much road feel. Overall, though the Kizashi feels athletic, and excellent suspension tuning, body control, and grip give it a nimble, tossable feel. Brakes employ Akebono performance calipers, and they feel strong but a little touchy.

Conclusion

The 2011 Suzuki Kizashi's powertrains feel energetic but ordinary; however out on a twisty road it has the verve of a pricier sport sedan.

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