2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Knock-Kneed
February 02, 2011
It's hard to find something bad to say about our Kizashi. I know some readers are skeptical of our Suzuki Lovefest, but the car is just good. Its four-cylinder winds out with a pleasant growl. Even when you push it, it doesn't really screech or buzz. The six-speed manual slices through its gates smoothly, and the clutch action is almost too light. I wouldn't mind more resistance, but certainly ain't complaining. Even the steering wheel and shift knob feel properly thick and purposeful.
The Kizashi's not trying to fool you with pretensions. It just has the right feel for a car with some surprisingly wide limits. I bet many of my colleagues would vote it the fleet's Most Underrated. But I did find this annoyance, none too minor, after being away from the car for awhile.
From my ideal seat position, my right knee knocks into and rests on the side of the center stack (sorry, the black trousers make for a monochromatic image). And that's not a pliable surface. That's hard, unforgiving plastic. This isn't unusual, as most drivers probably deal with this to some degree. But the Kizashi's center stack does seem to intrude into the driver's legroom more than other cars in the fleet, at least in the way that I position the seat.
After 15 minutes or so, I had to reach down, between my legs, ease the seat back...wait a minute, scratch that. I had to reach down, to the left-hand side of the driver's seat cushion, ease the seat back...(lacks a certain Diamond Dave lilt, I think).
Moving back frees up the knee, but also makes the clutch pedal more of a reach. Workable, just not ideal. And not a deal-breaker. If I owned Suzy, I'd slap a small patch of 3 or 4mm neoprene on the stack and sit upright, watching the bewildered traps of motorists in the rearview, mouthing the vowels: "Key-zah...huh?"
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor