2010 Suzuki Kizashi Long-Term Road Test

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Holding Up

March 11, 2011

kizashi_interior1.jpg This weekend our Suzuki Kizashi will likely crest 20,000 miles. I've been paying attention this past week and I haven't heard any squeaks or rattles. The car drives just like it did a year ago. The interior has held up, too, with no noticeable scratches or defects. The all-black color scheme is a bit somber, but it also hides dirt really well.

I also went back and checked for our service reports. The first 7,500-mile service included a TSB under warranty, and the dealer at the second 15,000-mile service stuck us with some unneeded items. But in terms of mechanicals, we've had zero problems with the car.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 19,873 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: It's About the Overall Experience

February 24, 2011

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I often find myself nit-picking details in our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi's interior. The small, pixellated radio display is straight out of the 1990s, but it's coping with all the media options we have here in 2011. And it's really obvious that said radio unit is sourced from a different supplier than the gauge pack, whose digits and markings are of a completely different typeface -- and one that I find a little difficult to read in the Kizashi's white-on-black illumination. And the shifter, although slick through its gates, feels plasticky and a touch flimsy in my hand.

Yet, even with my excessively critical eye(s), I can't deny that just like being in the Kizashi. And it's not any one detail or feature that makes or breaks the experience.

Rather, there's an overall sort of appeal to this Suzuki. The seats are well shaped and truly comfortable, and in the midst of a commute, you don't dwell on the absence of lateral bolstering. The seating position is well judged with good adjustability for the seat, telescoping steering wheel and mirrors, and a relatively low cowl by current standards -- so the visibility is good.

Materials quality is solid -- just good enough that you can be impressed by the Kizashi, but not so luxurious that you're moved to compare it premium-brand sedans. Yeah, there are few plastic bits that I wish felt a little better, but overall, the stuff is far nicer than in any other Suzuki I've driven. Fit and finish is good, too; there aren't any obviously misaligned panels or plastics with leftover flashing staring you in the face.

Driving the Kizashi, I feel a little bit smarter and more sensible than usual. Yeah, I could pay more for a car that had larger, more attractive displays and controls from a single supplier, but given how functional and comfortable the Kizashi ends up being on the whole, it hardly seems necessary.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 19,315 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Multi-speed Window Motors

February 17, 2011

I know we've blathered on and on and on about all the features in our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS, but here's another unexpected example of thoughtful design that most manufacturers don't bother with: When the front window is nearly closed, the motor slows down. Why is this a benefit? Sometimes I like to leave a little crack at the top on a hot day and this makes it easier than the typical full-speed-ahead rate of window closure.

I've only seen this on some high-end luxury cars, but, of course, I can't remember which one(s). Bentley? Mercedes-Benz? Lexus? Help me out here, please.

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 18,875 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Code Name Kardashian

February 09, 2011

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It must be a trend -- parental types being carted around in our Kizashi. My in-laws have been in town, and last night, we went out for Japanese food (at a restaurant whose neighbors are a medical marijuana clinic and the lovely coin-op laundry you see above).

The outing gave me a chance to see how the Kizashi suits passengers in their 70s with two very different physical profiles. My mother-in-law is a slight woman with mobility issues. With the usual help, she had little trouble getting in and out of the back seat. My father-in-law is a big boy -- as he'll be the first to admit. He overflowed the passenger seat a bit, groused about the dash nudging his knees and took a few pokes in the side as I shifted. Like I said, he's a big fella and I don't think this would be a great car for him. But it clearly intrigued him.

Before we got in, he peered at the car from our front door. "What is that again?"

"It's a Suzuki Kizashi," I said.

Maybe I mumbled, because his eyebrows shot up. "A Kardashian?"

We fell out laughing and made some jokes in questionable taste about trunk size. And for the rest of the night, we called it the Kardashian (or Car-dashian, if you prefer). Suzuki marketers and actual Kardashians, take note.

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @18,568 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Battlestations!

January 20, 2011

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I generally like a unified color for gauges, instruments and switches at night. I also prefer them to be red, since I find it causes a little less fatigue. In the animation above, I Photoshopped the Kizashi's dash colors between the standard light blue and red. The speedometer and tachometer are a little harder to read, though. I'd simplify those layouts and use a bolder typeface if I could.

What do you think? Go for red alert?

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Center Mount The Child Seat?

January 19, 2011

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Here's a nice feature which isn't common in cars the size of the Kizashi: A center-mounted top-strap anchor for a child seat. However, Suzuki acknowledges in the Kizashi's owner's manual that there are only enough lower LATCH anchors to accommodate two seats -- one on either side.

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Display

January 14, 2011

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I might be a little picky about this, but I like to see the information of the tracks I'm playing either from my CD or iPod. The way the display works on the Kizashi, it cuts off most of the information. I know most of my music, but it's nice to familiarize myself with the lost tracks deep within my library.

Do you find these kinds of displays annoying like I do, or isn't it really not that big of a deal?

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: It Continues to Impress

October 18, 2010

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The more I drive our Kizashi, the more I like it. From the sculpted exterior to the upmarket feel of the interior, this is definitely one car I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

(More comiKizashi stuff after the jump)

Suzuki really scored a hit with the Kizashi. With an upcoming Sport model and the hope of an aftermarket turbo add-on, I think that hit may become a home run. I'd certainly like more power and less understeer, but for the vast majority of buyers, I think it'll do just fine as is.

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Steering Wheel Fundamentals Strong

October 07, 2010

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Considering the automobile has been around for 125 years or so, you'd think steering wheels would be a fairly sorted device. Yet manufacturers still manage to mess them up (see "2010 Camaro").

This here longterm 2010 Suzuki Kizashi longtermer, though, nails the steering wheel basics consistently well. That's notable for its rarity. Jump for the details.

I didn't whip out a tape measure but I'd bet that the Zook's wheel is a bit smaller in overall diameter than those typically found in midsize sedans. This gets a big thumbs up from me, as it feels tidy and right-sized.

Its leather wrap has a quality feel; neither slippy nor sticky.

The spoke-to-rim interfaces at 9 and 3 appear to have been designed by somebody whom has actually used a steering wheel -- there are gentle 'ramps' upon which your thumbs rest perfectly.

Plus, it's angled just right. I've found that Nissan wheels, for example, tend to be too vertical for my tastes.

Yeah, I could nitpick the layout of the secondary controls on the wheel. But for now I just wanted to give Mr/Ms Kizashi Steering Wheel Designer some props for getting these basics really right.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Sure is quiet in here

September 30, 2010

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On my drive home, I noticed how quiet our Kizashi was. I looked to see if it had double-pane side glass, but no. What I did find was robust door seals on all four doors: Triple along the top edges and double around the perimeter.

In fact, the Kizashi is quieter across the board than a recently tested 2011 BMW 535i...

2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS:

  • At idle = 40.7
  • At W.O.T. = 72.0
  • At 70 mph = 63.8

2011 BMW 535i

  • At idle = 42.3
  • At W.O.T. = 73.4
  • At 70 mph = 67.0

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 11,550 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: The Right Size for a Midsize

September 27, 2010

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"Supersize it", that seems to be the battle cry of the American consumer. We live in a land where bigger is always better, right? Not for me, not if we're talking about midsize sedans. In fact, according to the EPA some cars we think of as midsize are actually officially fullsize, such as the Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata. I'm not sure why the Mazda 6 isn't in there...must've missed making it by a cubic inch or two. Most cars the Kizashi is compared to are anywhere from 7 to 11 inches longer.

With the Suzook, I just feel that I'm not toting around any more car than I need. The Kizashi seems a proper midsize car, with passenger and cargo room that should be ample for most folks most of the time. Yet at 35.6 inches -- about the same as in an Altima -- the Kizashi's rear legroom measures an inch greater than the Sonata's. And the seat is done right. Transporting a few folks back there over the weekend bore out how comfortable it is, with a high, full cushion that provides proper leg support and a wide, fold-down center armrest that's up high enough so one needn't slump when using it.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 11,225 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Clean Climate

September 24, 2010

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OK, I won't "gush" but will just say that I appreciate our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi's clean and straightforward climate control layout. You gotta give it that. No? Spells everything out for you so even people who don't read the manual can figure out how to change it to, say, dual or which one is the defroster for the rear window versus the front. Oh...and those knobs with the textured trim feel nice. OK, that's all. Fortunately for you, someone else has the Suzuki this weekend so maybe they'll find something critical to say about it.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Pull This Ring for Reverse

September 17, 2010

Suzuki Kizashi Shifter Ring.JPG

I like many things about our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi. Selecting reverse isn't one of them. To get reverse in the Suzook you need to pull up on the ring and move the shifter back and down to the 5 o'clock position. It's not that bad mind you and certainly not a dealbreaker. But if you don't pull the ring up fully you won't get reverse.

I prefer reverse to be up and the right at the 1 o'clock position without pulling up of rings or down on the shift knob. Many GM cars including our long-term Camaro have this, and it's quick to get reverse without any chance of accidently selecting 1st. And going from reverse to first when you're parking is fast and easy.

How about you? Do you have a preference or don't care about this at all?

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 10,900 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Trunk Pass-Thru and Folding Rear Seats

September 13, 2010

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Our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS has both a 60/40 folding rear sear and a trunk pass-thru.

When I worked at a major carmaker, the question that came up then is one that I will pose today: is it necessary to have both a folding rear seat and a trunk pass-thru?

Of course it's nice to have both, but under what scenario would a trunk pass-thru be useful in lieu of folding seats? Certainly if the seats were fixed, a trunk pass-thru would be useful.

But both?

The only situation I can think of for a pass-thru is if you had 4 people in the car and some long 2x4s or skis residing in the trunk, an somewhat unlikely occurrence. And if you did that a lot, wouldn't you also/instead have an SUV or pickup truck?

Is there another scenario I'm missing?

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 10,800 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: A Touch of England

September 10, 2010

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Suzuki clearly used Volkswagen as a benchmark for the Kizashi. Not only does the car's front end look like a Jetta and the upper part of its dash look like a Passat, but the materials quality was clearly achieved using VW as inspiration (pitty the new Jetta can't say the same thing).

Yet, the finishing on the Kizashi's climate control knobs are inspired by a Volkswagen to an exponential degree. This knurled finish is a spitting image of the control knobs and shifter in the Bentley Continental models.

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Touching All the Bases

September 02, 2010

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The term "touch point(s)" is a car designer's term meaning -- you'll never guess -- the parts of the interior that one frequently comes into contact with. Examples include door grab handles, door release levers, the gear selector, the handbrake and of course the steering wheel.

Although the Kizashi's dash top may not be covered in soft-touch material, I'm not going to ding it too much -- how often do you touch the top of the dash anyway? In all the important areas, including those mentioned above and even the stereo's rubberized seek buttons, this Suzuki touches all the bases for key touch points and they all have a high-quality feel to them. Grab the door pull handle (shown above) and you'll note it's nicely padded and also stitched on the backside -- a good example of Suzuki making the extra effort. Along with the smooth powertrain and solid overall build quality, this is another area of the Kizashi that impresses me.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 10,375 miles.

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Holding Up Pretty Well

August 26, 2010

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The Suzuki Kizashi has been with us now for six months and over 10,000 miles. It's gone on road trips, and it's served as an accommodating mule for editors, their friends and their families. How's it holding up?

Pretty well, now that you mention it. The seat fabric still looks new and unsoiled, the door panels are relatively scuff-free and the switchgear is still shiny-looking and intact. It'll be interesting to see what the next six months bring.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 10,142 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: A Macro Look at Interior Materials

August 12, 2010

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Sure, our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi may fool even the Beverly Hills valet on first glance, but, unlike editor Warren Clarke, I'm inclined to think that once you get in and get a closer look and feel at the interior materials the car's budget-ness will reveal itself. Not that that's a bad thing. It is what it is.

More macro snaps I took of various surfaces in our Kizashi after the jump. They feel how they look.

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2010 Suzashi Kizuki: It Has Cool Gauges

August 09, 2010

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The Suzuki Kizashi's gauges (or gages if you're from Kentucky) are one of the cabin's stand-out elements. There is a chronograph quality to them with the oh-so-many hash marks that add a bit of sophistication. Sure, they aren't as easy to read as say, these or these, but they look more interesting. It's the same reason someone would rather have some fancy TAG Heuer Aquaracer rather than a digital Timex. This is one of those features where you'd look back in 15 years and say, "oh yeah, that car had really cool gauges."

If I have one annoyance is that the speedo is centered at 120 kph rather than 80 mph. I prefer symmetry and only rarely drive to Canada, thank you.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 9050 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Details Done Right

July 28, 2010

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It had been months since I've been in our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi, and when I got into it last night, I was struck by the shifter for the car's six-speed manual transmission. Medium-length throws. Nice, positive feel from gate to gate. (Credit to Kurt for the photo)

Small details, but they're fast becoming a lost art among cars in this price range. Automakers know they'll sell but a handful of manual-shift models, so many companies don't spend the extra time and money to polish the rough edges. Suzuki has taken the extra step here.

Mind you, it's not all perfect with the Kizashi's six-speed. I wish the clutch offered more feel when it's about to engage. This, in combination with a little more off-the-line torque, would smooth out launches when driving in town.

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Still Waiting To Cool Down

June 16, 2010

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Some cars have truly impressive air-conditioning capacity. Crank up the A/C and it's like you've opened a direct portal to an arctic weather front. The Kizashi is not one of those cars, however. I had the Kizashi in some 100-degree temperatures recently and the A/C struggled. Chilled air? Sure. Modestly comforting? OK. But finger-numbing, nipply cold? Sorry, no can do.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Nice Wheel

April 26, 2010

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Most long-term cars' blogs are filled with criticism. Yet, the more we drive our new Kizashi, the more we're finding things we like about it. I think Jay was a little too critical of the throttle, but otherwise, it's been a love fest. We've already commented on its nice paint, ample trunk space, good seats, the quality of its ride, and now the steering wheel deserves some praise, as well.

The leather is supple and the diameter of the wheel is appropriate. My hands fall naturally into the 9-3 position with my thumbs comfortably anchored on the spokes. What's more, not only are the standard audio and cruise control buttons/toggles in just the right places, their combination of rubber and metallic construction make them feel substantial, they snap back smartly, and function on the first push. Unlike the universally hated Camaro steering wheel, this is an example of "how to do it right." It's hard to believe this is a sub-$25K automobile.

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: You Look Puzzled. Don't Be.

March 29, 2010

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For some reason I couldn't shake the feeling that someone was watching me while I was behind the wheel of our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi. Hrm.

Regardless, I like how clean and clear these gauges are. Everything was easy to figure out without reading the manual. For instance, the dimmer is that long, easy-to-access knob below the right gauge. And the display in the center lets you choose between average fuel economy, instant fuel economy, average speed, range and nothing via a lever at the bottom of the steering wheel.

The tripmeter can be changed from Trip A to Trip B to temperature with the other lever on the steering wheel. So easy!

Only thing is that that center display seems like it has a lot of extra real estate for other information but nope, that's it. At least you can't miss it.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 2,329 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2010 Suzuki Kizashi in VA is:

$169 per month*
* Explanation
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