Last week TheCarConnection.com brought you our First Drive impressions of the new 2010 Suzuki Kizashi, and posted a comprehensive Bottom Line that covers styling, performance, quality, safety, and features, among other aspects. The Kizashi is an all-new sedan in a new segment for Suzuki, and based on our street drive and head-to-head comparisons with several more expensive models on a closed course, we think that the Kizashi is going to be a tremendous success—if Suzuki can get shoppers to include this sedan on their lists in the first place.
As we reported, the driving experience in the Kizashi is way better than most will expect. Even though the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi is initially only offered with a 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, acceleration is strong, and thanks to a true European-tuned suspension and nicely weighted steering, the Kizashi begs to be driven harder and faster than any other value-priced four-cylinder mid-sizer, without punishing you in any way.
As for the interior packaging, we were impressed with how Suzuki managed to fit true mid-size interior space in the Kizashi even though its exterior dimensions rank closer to those of a compact car in some respects. We mentioned the pleasing materials, the quiet, well-isolated cabin, and the bevy of standard features onboard—even if you don't step up to the top-of-the-line SLS that we spent most of our driving time in.
We finished up our day with Suzuki last week scrutinizing a 2010 Kizashi GTS up close. Please scroll down to see detail snapshots and observations:
Large, sculpted mirrors were useful for visibility but a bit noisy in our pre-production test car.
Very well-bolstered front sport seats are included in all Kizashi models and are way better than what you'll find in most other mid-size sedans. Side support is firm without being confining and lower cushions are extended to give tall people a little more thigh support. .
Excellent interior layout places most controls and displays rather high up; distinctive trims and the mix of pale display information and read backlighting works well.
The center stack in the Kizashi felt classy, with a high-quality feel to all the controls. Matte-metallic trim that was shiny and but not reflective. But glare was an issue in the center display area on a bright, overcast day, especially with the headlights on or while wearing sunglasses. Cars without heated seats get blanks front and center, though.
We saw a little bit of influence from Mercedes-Benz in the audio-system controls.
Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard on all Kizashis, even the base S. Volume and selector knobs have a grippy surface and great tactile feel. Again, reflection proved an issue.
USB input is inside the roomy lower center-stack compartment, letting you shut the iPod in there and keep it out of sight from thieves.
Shifter throws are a little long and imprecise, but clutch takeup is smooth. Shift knob itself looked and felt more than a little VW.
Steering-wheel controls again had a great tactile feel, with buttons for voice-activated features and Bluetooth hands-free calling, trip computer functions, audio, and cruise control. We especially appreciated the mute button on the steering wheel.
Kizashi's all-wheel drive system can be engaged all the time, but it doesn't have to be.
Nicely grained dash-top surface is slightly soft to the touch, and grippy dials control the vents.
The grained surface had just a bit of luster and would have been just fine in a premium car.
Lower door panels, along with the center console, use a harder, more hollow-sounding type of plastic that apparently doesn't do as well against scuffing.
Glovebox is huge, with an upper tray plus enough space in the main compartment for a small laptop.
Vanity mirror, check.
The engine itself is mounted quite far back for a front-driver, which might help explain the balanced handling feel.
Trunk is surprisingly large, and hinges won't crush the top of your groceries.