Performance » 8
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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
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.
inspired suspension tuning
Edmunds' Inside Line
a seriously nippy contestant in the midsize sedan league
well-tuned, with a connected and satisfying steering feel and a reasonably tight chassis
There's a lot to love about the way the 2013 Suzuki Kizashi performs--and it's much more about the way the Kizashi steers, handles, and responds than its outright speed or quickness.
Overall, the Kizashi feels athletic, and excellent suspension tuning, body control, and grip give it a nimble, tossable feel. Strong brakes--in the form of Akebono performance calipers--also tend to feel far stronger than what's usually provided in an inexpensive car.
The 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is no standout on its own; it's gutsy, though, and it moves the Kizashi plenty quick, providing spirited performance either with the available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) or standard six-speed manual. The only downside with the CVT is that when you're tapping into the engine's full potential, you're also tapping into a lot of engine noise.
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. With the manual gearbox, the shift linkage is a little imprecise but you get well-coordinated clutch takeup. The CVT doesn't drone quite as much as some other such setups on the market, and with paddle-shifters and six simulated gears in all but base S models, it's pretty easy to live with.
Although the Kizashi's powertrain is ordinary, this is a car that's exceptionally fun to drive.