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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
This four-banger is no slouch
excellent stability and poise along with its responsive handling
very grippy and responsive
Nearly every review TheCarConnection.com read confirms that the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi offers a lot more driving enjoyment than mainstream mid-size sedans like the Toyota Camry or Chevrolet Malibu. And although there is plenty to rave about, there are also a few disappointments.
The Kizashi comes with a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, making 185 horsepower with the standard six-speed manual or 180 hp with the optional CVT automatic—which includes steering-wheel paddle-shifters. All-wheel drive is offered, but only with the CVT.
USA Today opines that the manual and CVT automatic versions of the Kizashi feel like entirely different cars. The reviewer likes the manual, saying, "The clutch effort was light, the four-cylinder engine had enough low-speed torque for lug-along traffic, and the gearshift moved with easy grace." But USA Today calls the CVT version "unpleasant," with jerky responses and very unsporty behavior.
MotorWeek finds that a test Kizashi with the CVT could get to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds. They call it "not quite up to pure sport sedan pace." According to Suzuki, the manual-gearbox version can hit 60 in 7.5 seconds. Edmunds Inside Line points out that the Kizashi is faster than most non-premium luxury sedans, yet Jalopnik isn't convinced in real-world driving, saying, "It feels underpowered compared to cars it's apparently more powerful than."
Reviewers are quite positive about the way the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi handles, but not all are delighted. Jalopnik deems it "unexpectedly spry" on twisty roads, "making the most of its five-point, multi-link rear suspension and 18-inch tires." MotorTrend also has generally good things to say about the way the 2010 Kizashi performs, though they report that "steering, pedal feel, and shifter precision all left something to be desired."
"Grip, not understeer, is the prevailing sensation here, thanks to some inspired suspension tuning and an above-average set of all-season tires," says Edmunds Inside Line, explaining that the electric power steering is well-weighted even though it doesn't include much feedback. However, after pushing the Kizashi to the limit, MotorWeek judges that it is "a very safe car, but not as much fun as we hoped."
As if they drove a different vehicle altogether, these two sources differ again on the brakes. Edmunds Inside Line calls the brake pedal feel "a tad abrupt" initially, but likes their powerful response and fade resistance. MotorWeek reports "more fade than expected," and a "squishy pedal" when they really put the brakes to the test.
The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi handles and brakes with the verve of a more expensive car, but its powertrain too easily reveals its economically minded origins.