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2012 Suzuki Kizashi Performance

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Overall, the 2012 Kizashi feels athletic, and excellent suspension tuning, body control, and grip give it a nimble, tossable feel.

A gutsy 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine moves the Kizashi plenty quick, and provides spirited performance either with the available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) or standard six-speed manual.

The 2012 Kizashi shows its strengths on a curvy road, although its powertrain performance is just ordinary.

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; but of the combinations, our favorite remains the front-wheel-drive Sport model with the manual gearbox. Choose the manual, and you get smooth, well-coordinated clutch takeup (even if the shift linkage is a little imprecise). The CVT is one of the better-tuned systems, with less drone during acceleration compared to other CVT models; plus you'll get steering-wheel paddle-shifters and six simulated ratios in all but base S models.

Brakes employ Akebono performance calipers, and they feel strong but a little touchy.

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