March 16, 2011
I don't know how many times in traffic or at a stop light, I look in my rear view mirrors and see the folks behind me trying to get a better look at the name on the trunk lid of the strange looking car in front of them.
Often I can read their lips as they question what the name is, followed by a "whaaaaaa?" as the confused passengers look at each other. It's gotten to the point it's almost a Mystery Science Theater 3000 skit, complete with running commentary.
Honestly I can find it amusing while stuck in traffic, but I don't think it bodes well for Suzuki. A car too late, perhaps?
Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr, Photography @ 20,190 miles
March 14, 2011
Somewhere between El Chato and Tacos El Korita on my Friday night taco crawl, the odometer hit 20,000. I had been keeping track, hoping to capture the moment it rolled all those zeros up, but I had lost focus thinking of Carne Asada.
20k is pretty impressive. It's our goal to get a car to that mark in one year, and we accomplished our mission almost to the day of it's introduction. Seeing the in-house popularity of this sleeper, I don't think it'll be a problem to stack on several thousand more miles before it leaves our stable.
Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr, Photography @ 20,008 miles
March 09, 2011
Let's say you're looking to spend around $25,000 for a new family sedan. Would you buy a Suzuki Kizashi? It's an interesting question. You know we've been raving about this car, but critical acclaim hasn't suddenly helped the Kizashi leap to the top of the sales charts, either. So what would stop you from buying one? Limited dealer network? The funny name? Or would you just want something else?
For me, it would be a tough call. I really do like the Kizashi, and I'd put it in my top three. But I'd also seriously consider the Ford Fusion Sport or the Kia Optima SX (turbo). Both cost about $3,000 more (Sport GTS trim, or closer to $2,000 if you fit the Suzuki with a CVT), but both also offer more in the way of acceleration, room and features. I suspect I'd end up with the Ford. But the fact that I'm listing Ford, Kia and Suzuki and not the typical Honda, Nissan and Toyota says something about the current state of family sedan market.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
March 07, 2011
The Kizashi has been in our long-term fleet for almost a year now. And if you've been keeping up with the posts, you're no doubt aware that we've written a lot of positive commentary on this overlooked sedan. I was reminded of this last week when I took the key to our Kizashi. It had been more than six months since I had last driven it, but all the things that I liked about our car instantly came back, including the refined ride quality, upscale interior and attractive styling. It's just a really cool car.
I also realized it just feels right in terms of size for what I envision a sedan being for my family (wife, 3-year-old, baby on the way). The Kizashi's not big and bloated like a lot of new family sedans. Yet there's still enough room in the backseat for kids and most adults to be comfortable. Interestingly, the Kizashi is just a tad bigger than the typical small sedan. I ran a comparison on Edmunds versus the Civic and new Focus; you can see the compared specs here.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 19,583 miles
January 28, 2011
"What kinda car is that?"
"It's a Suzuki Kizashi"
"Suzuki? Like the motorcycles?"
"I figured it was one of those new Korean cars....looks good"
In one form or another this sort of banter happened three times in three days, and included references to the four-wheel-friendly Samurai, and the always expected "They make cars?".
The last Suzuki I was in was a video shoot for the 2008 SX4 Sedan, and this is a giant leap forward.
Last weekend I was lucky to log a little over 700 miles in our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi. My wife and I were set to stay in Big Sur, CA for a couple of nights, and the route was set. Up the grapevine to the 58 west, and eventually Hwy 1 north up the coast.
January 27, 2011
Once upon a time there was this little sedan called the Volkswagen Jetta. Though this car lived in the humble midsize-sedan segment, it was known for offering a driving experience that was rich with refinement. Interior materials were impeccable and ride quality was smooth as a politician's smile. The Jetta came to be known as the car to choose for those seeking premium quality without the steeper price tag of a traditional luxury model.
For model-year 2011, the Jetta sedan changed. It got a top-to-bottom overhaul designed to broaden its appeal - it grew bigger and got a much lower price tag. Unfortunately, the Jetta sedan also saw a marked decline in quality. Its interior had always been the model's strong suit, but now the useful comfort and convenience features and outstanding materials quality were gone. The Jetta sedan had lost its specialness.
Enter the Suzuki Kizashi, which stands to fill the void left by the Jetta by delivering the sort of quality you don't normally expect to see in this segment. The car looks good both inside and out and succeeds in giving you more for less - I'm struck by this fact every time my gaze falls upon its stylish center stack or my fingers manipulate one of its well-weighted knobs or buttons. This is a car that is no stranger to excellence.
The Jetta sedan established a niche following but it never really became a mainstream hit; its makeover is designed to change that and give it a flavor that's more palatable to the masses. It'll be interesting to see if that works out. It'll also be interesting to see what the future holds for the Kizashi. It delivers refinement but the Jetta's trajectory seems to suggest that mere refinement isn't enough for broad, chart-topping success.
What are your thoughts?
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
January 19, 2011
Suzuki Kizashi is a pretty unapologetically Japanese name. It says the company is proud of its heritage, its nation of origin and doesn't care if a whole heap of people can't figure out how to pronounce what is ultimately a phonetic spelling. (Seriously, you can't pronounce that? It's not exactly Krzyzewski). Having said that, I still stand by the fact that it's not the most harmonious sounding word combination in the world.
My question is this, if "Suzuki Kizashi" is the most Japanese car name, what about the other car-building nations? What's the most German car name or American car name? Here are my thoughts, feel free to share yours.
Germany: Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen
The umlaut is sadly an unfriendly character to our blogs, so you can't quite appreciate the old G's full name in its original uber-Deutsche glory.
Honorable Mention: BMW Bavaria, Audi Steppenwolf concept
France: Renault Espace
Unless you parler francais and know how to pronounce such French words, there's no way in hell you'd correctly pronounce that and thus avoid the disgusted, snooty look any tricolore-waving Frenchman smoking a cigarette would give you upon saying "Ren-alt S-Space"
Honorable Mention: Renault Vel Satis, Citroen Deux Cheveux (see above)
Italia: Alfa Romeo Guilietta
Italian is the ultimate romance language and what sounds more romantic than Alfa's reborn small car nameplate? Just say that in your best Italian accent and tell me it doesn't sound sexy. Make it Guilietta Alfa Romeo and you've just created the name of a smokin' hot babe.
Honorable Mention: Ferrari Italia (too obvious)
Australia: Holden Maloo
"You really shouldn't hold your loo in public. Oh, that's a car? Ah, Australia. Now I understand. I suppose Holden Wallabongabongamaloo wouldn't fit on the trunk."
Honorable Mention: Holden Jackaroo
South Korea: Hyundai Equus
Americans can't say the brand name correctly because the company itself told them to say it wrong (Koreans do not rhyme it with 'Sunday'). The Koreans can't pronounce the nameplate correctly (it comes out very awkwardly like Eck-wyoos like they've just smelled something stinky).
Honorable Mention: Ssangyong Actyon
United Kingdom: Triumph Spitfire
A car named after the saviour of Britain (besides the Germans getting distracted by Russia and you know, the below entry). A brand who's name is quintessentially grand and English. Every one of these little roadsters should've had an RAF bullseye on each door and a picture of Sir Winston on the hood, er bonnet.
Honorable Mention: Land Rover Defender
United States of America: Dodge Ram
Those are two verbs and America is nothing if not a country of action. It's right to the point and brevity is an American virtue. Just try saying that without sounding like your barking orders to a frightened sailor. "Damn it Jones, Dodge! Now Ram!"
Honorable Mention: Dodge Charger, Pontiac Chieftain (the most Native American name)
James Riswick, Automotive Editor
January 05, 2011
I'm sure some of you are tired of hearing us blather on about how good the Kizashi is. So to change things up (and prove that we didn't get free GSX-Rs or V-Stroms along with our Kizashi) how about hearing what consumers who've chosen the Kizashi have to say?
Turns out that for the most part, their sentiments on this fine dark horse sedan echo our own...
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 15,418 miles
January 03, 2011
After 10 months living with our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi I'm convinced it's one of the best cars nobody is paying attention to. In an attempt to solve this problem Suzuki has launched a new batch of TV commercials for the sedan.
What do you think? Are they clever or are they just trying too hard?
December 20, 2010
As you might have read, Southern California is being pummeled by rainstorms, and will go on being soaked almost until Christmas. There was something about the weather, seasonal decorations and Mark Takahashi's Kizashi etymology that inspired me. Here's haiku for a Monday:
Rain shrouds this beach town
At dusk, clouds relent and part
Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @ 14,839 miles
December 14, 2010
Suzuki's Kizashi continues to be criminally overlooked in the United States but at least it's getting some love Down Under. The car was recently named "Supreme Winner" in something called the 2010 New Zealand Auto Association Motoring Excellence Awards, competing against models by Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen. The Kizashi also took the top prize in the competition's "Medium Car" category.
The judges gave the Suzy props for having "astonishing attention to detail both inside and out" and praised it for being "refined, quiet and comfortable." Couldn't have said it better myself.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
December 08, 2010
Recently, I checked Edmunds' 2011 New Car Buyer's Guideto see if Suzuki will be dropping a much-rumored turbo into the Kizashi GTS, which is a favorite long-term car here.
Monsieur Jacquot wrote, "2011 Suzuki Kizashi: A new Sport package is available for GTS and SLS models for 2011. It adds a redesigned front fascia with chrome trim and a new lower grille, rocker panel extensions and lower body-side molding. There's also a trunk-mounted spoiler and 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside there's a new steering wheel and contrasting stitching on the seats (leather in the SLS), shift boot and parking brake boot."
So No Joy on the turbo -- for now. Which is a shame, because one of the few improvements I would like on the Kizashi GTS is more power. Almost everything else is great.
Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 14,300 miles
December 01, 2010
While cruising through the Kizashi's recent posts I saw that Warren informed y'all that Kizashi's sales for October were up 22 percent over September. Pretty impressive...until you read further to find that those October sales amounted to just 583 units. I have to say that was rather disappointing to me. It's just a shame that more folks aren't giving this well-built, dynamically pleasing and nicely equipped (standard keyless entry/ignition and iPod integration) car a look. In the ultra-competitive midsize sedan segment, it might as well be invisible given the lack of attention it gets from shoppers.
Not helping matters is the news a few months back that Suzuki bought back (i.e. closed) about 50 off its 354 dealerships, not exactly a confidence boost for the outlook of the brand. But according to Automotive News, Suzuki plans no further reductions.
A concern for many potential buyers is getting service and repairs after they purchase a Kizashi, should more dealers end up closing down the road. But they might take solace in the fact that real Suzuki vehicles (not the brand's reworked Daewoos of the early 2000s such as the Verona and Forenza) tend to be pretty reliable. If this was a product of Land Rover, I could see panicking about this. My chief concern would be getting any warranty-related repairs if my dealer happened to close after my purchase. But I imagine that even if the worst thing happened and the company closed all its dealerships, Suzuki would honor any warranty claims through approved repair shops.
Many of you know that we think quite highly of the Kizashi. Considering the goodness of the car itself against the potential inconvenience of finding a dealer for purchase and/or maintenance service, would you consider one?
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 14,123 miles
November 19, 2010
The Kizashi was my car this week for LA Auto Show festivities, doing a wonderful job not getting lost in the Convention Center parking lot and zipping along the amazingly empty surface streets leading into and out of LA. Seriously, where else on Earth is traffic lighter going out of downtown during rush hour than going into it? It's reverse traffic and it makes no sense at all.
Beyond that, the Kizashi also brought me to GM's design center in North Hollywood for the sneak preview of the Cadillac ULC. As I pulled up to the obligatory valet parking stand, the nice valet chap took the Kizoo's fob and asked ...
Does that thing got a Hemi? Do they sell these in America? Did you have to import it?"
"Well buddy," I said. "They actually do sell them in America, just not here in L.A. because there's no Suzuki dealership. It's a shame because it's a really great car."
He then took the car, drove it 38 miles, ate a tray of fries, parked it illegally and backed it into a pole. Actually he didn't, but when that doesn't happen with a valet I'm naturally shocked.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 13,768 miles
November 03, 2010
No, I didn't plow the Kizashi into my polling place last night. No, my driveway didn't turn into a sinkhole and does not require an international effort to bring it back to the surface.
I'm mesmerized by crash test videos. Maybe it's the juvenile in my psyche that refuses to depart. Maybe I'm amazed how engineers can make such carnage survivable. Watching crumple zones do their work and those mannequins painted up like William Wallace getting tossed into an airbag like a Nolan Ryan pitch into a catcher's mitt never get old for me. Click through to see what I'm blathering on about.
October 30, 2010
Everyone says the Suzuki Kizashi is way more fun to drive than all the other import-label sedans in its category. The explanation shouldn't be a mystery.
It all starts with the American car, which apparently is meant to motor across those amber waves of grain toward the purple mountain's majesty with a full load of passengers, as in three people strapped into the back seat. This last bit must be crucial because everyone asks about the number of people you can fit into the back seat on the American car.
No surprise then that all the import-label car-makers started building American cars a couple of years ago.
First came the Nissan Altima, suddenly stretched out to 189.8 inches overall with a smooth-riding 109.3-inch wheelbase. The Camry stretcheed out in response to 189.2 inches overall with a wheelbase of 109.3. Then Honda Accord got all American with 194.3 inches of length and a 110.2-inch wheelbase. Then the Mazda 6 checked in with 193.7 inches of length and a 109.8-inch wheelbase. Don't forget the Volkswagen CC, measuring 188.9 inches overall with a 106.7-inch wheelbase. And finally the new Hyundai Sonata measures 189.8 inches overall with a wheelbase of 110.0 inches.
Meanwhile the Suzuki sits here an overall length of 183.1 inches and a wheelbase of 106.3 inches. Why does it seem to drive so well compared to the family sedan competition? Because it's smaller. This is an internaional size car, much like the previous-generation Mazda 6, which measured 186.8 inches overall and had a wheelbase of 105.3 inches.
You wouldn't think that a handful of inches and a couple hundred pounds could make such a big difference, yet you subconsciously register it when you look out over the windshield, not to mention feel it in the seat of your pants.
So maybe we all need to be a little more careful when we moan and groan about a vehicle's ability to haul three people in the back seat. If this is what you want, you'll get a nice long, heavyweight American car, and those three people who apparently drive around with you every day to work and the dry-cleaners and the grocery store will be very happy.
As for the rest of us, we don't intend to drive around every day with those three people. We'll give them a ride if we have to, but they can take the bus for all we care. A sedan has a certain utility, but the most important design attribute can't be the back seat.
No mystery. Size matters.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com
October 29, 2010
Slick-looking photo of long-term Kizashi by Kurt Niebuhr
A few days ago I was driving our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi, and I thought I saw myself, or rather the back of myself. But it turned out I was staring at the tail of a Mercedes-Benz C300 (pictured for your comparative enjoyment after the jump). There are some vague similarities between the butts of these sedans -- the curvature of the decklid, the general shape and design of the taillights.
Yeah, the Benz is classier next to the somewhat tall and narrow looking Suzuki, but it's also $10 grand more and that's before you start adding options.
October 28, 2010
Sometimes you just want your car to get you home with no drama. None of the bumps and jolts you get when a stiffer suspension meets L.A.'s pock-marked side roads. None of the frustration and muscle fatigue that come from working a finicky clutch in crawling traffic.
In situations like that, the Kizashi is your best friend. The other night, I marveled at how not even craptastic gridlock could faze its easy-breezy clutch and gearbox. At how considerate its suspension was over rough patches of road.
The thing is, cars that are this acquiescent usually have all the personality of plain white paper. They're boring. Not so with the Kizashi. It's classy and kinda fun, a good friend to have not just on choked boulevards, but on wide-open roads as well.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
October 25, 2010
When our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS first arrived, it was derided by some readers as a new-gen VW Jetta copy. Well, we've now driven the 2011 Mk VI Jetta and I think the Kizashi is superior to the new Jetta.
I think it's better in terms of exterior styling, interior build, and overall vehicle dynamics and performance. JKav's story on the Mk VI Jetta dropped last week, and he mentioned that older gen Jettas were preferred by the fairer gender ("insanely attractive young females," he wrote. Let's not get carried away...)
While the new Jetta may end up retaining some of its hot chick-car image, the Kizashi is a driver's car all the way.
Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 12,500 miles
October 21, 2010
It turns out our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS was tuned at the famed Nurburgring circuit.
It's not unusual for road cars to get developed there.
But it is unusual for cars in the Kizashi's price segment to get tuned at the 'Ring.
No wonder the Kizashi's chassis is so good.
Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 12,400 miles
October 18, 2010
When in comes to car-sightings, in SoCal you see everything. Every exotic, every limited edition, everything. But I've never seen another Suzuki Kizashi. Until this past weekend.
This particular Kizashi was sporting an AWD badge. Interesting. I don't see the need for that here, but whatever. And although it looks good in black, I prefer our long-termer's gun metal gray.
Catching a rare car in LA is somewhat like a celeb sighting, although a Kizashi is not exactly a Tier 1 exotic. But considering that I spotted Peter Brady (Brady Bunch) at the gym just before the I saw the Kizashi, I can say that I had two C-list sightings (TV and car) in a single day.
Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 12,237 miles
October 15, 2010
Full disclosure: Despite my surname, I do not speak, nor do I understand the Japanese language.
I was on my way home last night, pondering what I might possibly discover about our Kizashi. And there it was, "Kizashi." What the heck does it mean? Perhaps it means "VW" in Japanese? Fitting, no?
Then I remembered that some Suzuki motorcycles have also taken fairly obscure Japanese names. The Hayabusa is a Peregrine Falcon that can hit over 200 mph in a dive. The Katana is a samurai sword. V-Strom is translated as "ugly outcast". I'm kidding about that last one.
So what does Kizashi mean?
Omen. As in, a sign of something to come. A portent, harbinger or premonition.
OK, I can accept that. Especially when you consider a few days after the Kizashi went on sale, Volkswagen bought a $2.5 billion stake in Suzuki. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. If the Kizashi is indeed a sign of things to come, that would be a good thing, since it's a solid little car that continues to exceed my expectations. I wonder, though, how their German overlords will manage a car that out-Jetta's their Jetta.
Mark Takahashi (it means "high bridge"), Associate Editor
October 15, 2010
The more I drive our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi the more I dig it. I would own this car. Sure, more motor would be nice, and any other name would be better, but the Kizashi is hard to complain about.
In fact, I'm on the other side of the coin. Everytime I drive the Kizashi I find some more evidence that Suzuki got all of the details right. Proof? Check out the gas cap holder built into the gas door. No big deal? Well, Suzuki didn't stop there. Check out the little black plastic drip catcher. Nice.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief
October 14, 2010
I was an asshat last night and left the Kizashi key fob in my pocket, robbing someone else of a car for the night. Not cool dude.
While I contemplate ways to make amends, I thought I'd go ahead and place part of the blame on the Kizashi's tiny key fob. Just as Suzuki paid homage to Volkswagen with the styling and interior quality of the Kizashi, it clearly looked to Nissan for its key fob design. Though a tad bigger than Nissan's keyless ignition/entry fob, the Suzuki version is the same shape and of a similar lay-out. It's pretty light too.
While some of these keyless fobs can be enormous (the Jag XJ's easily weighs 15 pounds and is the size of a hampster), Nissan and now Suzuki's unburdens your pants and/or keychain with this slim design. It's a nice touch ... until you leave it in your pocket. What a jerk.
James Riswick, Repentant Automotive Editor
October 13, 2010
This is my new garage and to my delight it's actually quite large, with room to spare for a midsize car like the Kizashi or even something larger. Unfortunately, I can't say the same thing for my new driveway.
Last night I discovered that it is almost precisely 1 Kizashi wide. Those large mirrors that provide excellent visibility were a detriment, but once the passenger mirror was folded in, I could squeeze through. Then after a few-too-many maneuvers to turn it around in the backyard (what, no Batcave turntable?), the Kizoo was at rest for the night. In short, it was too much of a hassle to be bothered and I now know the Kizashi is the maximum-sized car I'll try to fit back there. Judging by dimensions, that leaves the GTI, Speed3, A4 Avant and surprisingly, the Outlander. My girlfriend's Mazda 3 and my Z3 also fit easily.
September 29, 2010
Suzuki Motor Corp has mapped out a market position grid of the Kizashi's major competitors along two axes: excitement and expense.
While it is the same price category as more boring sedans such as Camry and Accord (you can add the new Sonata down there too), the Kizashi delivers the driving experience of more premium sedans such as A4 and TSX. I agree.
Suzuki Motor has the Kizashi solely occupying the southeast quadrant of low price and high excitement.
And right now, I can't think of another midsized sedan that can reside with it there.
Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ ~11,500 miles
September 28, 2010
In previous comments on our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi posts, many of you brought up the issue that the 'Zook may not be the car to own because of dealership experience, etc. So I decided to just check out how the sedan fares in our True Cost to Own tool up against the tool's automatically generated competitors: Ford Fusion, Mazdaspeed 3 and Hyundai Sonata. Would buyers who choose the Kizashi be that bad off?
Guess which car is predicted to be the best value over a 5-year period?
The Hyundai Sonata! It got the lowest cost per mile and TCO out of the four vehicles.
Its TCO vs the Kizashi's is $38,960 vs. $44,589. That means a Sonata customer would pay an additional $17,477 during five years of ownership while a Kizashi customer would pay an additional $20,718. A difference of $3,241. But expected resale of each car after five years is $8,406 (Sonata) and $8,147 (Kizashi); $259 difference.
Did you guess right?
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor
September 23, 2010
Last night at this party at Yamashiro Restaurant in Hollywood, I was one of the last folks to leave the restaurant. The valet guy was coming around handing the people left over their keys as he was done for the night. He handed me the keys to our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi and said, very enthusiastically, "I really like your car!" Apparently he had to drive it down the hill because of the limited parking in the lot and said it drove great.
And then when I was about to get in the car, Omar, the security guy for the restaurant went up to me, "That is a great car. Do you mind if I look under the hood?" Naturally I obliged. After I popped the hood he immediately poked around in there with his flashlight and proceeded to tell me why he liked it so much. Turns out he's also a mechanic and I was curious to hear his perspective. "It's very simple," he kept saying. Something about how it's easy to move around in there, nice layout, great engine..."very simple."
But he did wonder, "Is this a new car?" "Yeah, it's a 2010." "Oh because there's some coolant spill here...." Me: "I don't know what that means." Then he walked around the car, complimenting its wheels, tire size, exhaust. About the back end: "It looks like a Honda Civic but also a Lexus."
"Really great car," he said as he walked away. I really suspect he's going to look into buying one.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor
September 20, 2010
So my parents are in the market for a new car and have asked me for my advice. They're looking for a sedan that's luxurious-feeling with all the bells and whistles but affordable. They asked me about the Altima, the Buick Regal and the Accord. And I felt like I was letting them in on a secret when I told them about the Hyundai Sonata. But after driving our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi all this weekend, I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to them, too.
It's comfortable, sounds refined, shifts smoothly, has nice quality interior, comes with the amenities they like and is affordable. Plus, a majority of the editors here love it.
I even spec'd out the one my folks should get: the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi SLS with the "Navigation with Rear Vision Camera" option. There's even an $1,000 rebate! The total price would be $25,613.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 10,976 miles
September 17, 2010
In a previous 2010 Suzuki Kizashi post, commenter dg0472 asked: "I want to know if you're in a situation like Caroline complained about in the Sonata at LAX of being in the car behind the wheel (with the proximity key on you, of course), could someone still open the trunk with the exterior release? If so, under what circumstances? Engine on, doors unlocked, etc."
So I checked it out, and sure enough there IS an exterior trunk release button (no keyhole that I noticed). However, if you don't have the key fob on you you can't open the trunk just by pressing this button, even with the doors unlocked and the car turned off. Seems the only way to open it for your airport fare is via the trunk release button inside the car which is located down below left of the steering wheel where you'd usually expect the hood release lever to be.
So there you have it.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 10,879 miles
September 16, 2010
A couple of days ago, my colleague Mr. DiPietro spotlighted some design cues that help give the Kizashi its premium look. I think the car also deserves style points for its honeycomb grille. I've always been a fan of honeycomb grilles, and the I think the Kizashi's helps give its face some upscale flair.
However, one big, big drawback to these grilles is that they're a nightmare to clean (kinda like the car's multi-spoke wheels). If you're anal about shine and you like cleaning your car yourself, I imagine dealing with the Kizashi grille's intricate latticework would be no picnic. Q-tips seem like the cheapest tools for getting the job done. These Edge Foam Tips seem like a good choice, as well.
September 15, 2010
To quote my pal Jonathan Mortimer Smith (aka Lil Jon), "Whaaat?"
I noticed recently that when the sign-out sheet for the test cars goes around, our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS gets little love and is frequently one of the last to go.
What gives? It's got a great chassis, steering, MT, clutch, and super build quality. I even find it very attractive. On the other hand, our long-term Hyundai Sonata is always in demand here. I don't get it.
Which one would you rather drive? Or buy?
And to that Lil Jon says, "Okaaay."
Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 10,850 miles
September 14, 2010
Most folks know I'm a fan of the Kizashi; a 650-mile road trip back in May cemented my initial impressions that this is a well built, refined and nicely stocked ride. The styling is clean but honestly just okay for me, neither striking nor offensive. But some staffers and onlookers have stated how the Suzook's looks have a premium vibe.
And I can see three reasons why they'd get that impression. One is the tasteful sliver of chrome used for the lower body side moldings. There's just enough chrome there to dress the car up without looking tacky. Another is the wheel design, metallic silver multi-spokers that looks more upscale than the old gray five-spokers you see on so many sedans at the $25-30,000 price point. Lastly are the nicely finished dual exhaust outlets, which Engineering Editor Al Austria already mentioned.
Although by themselves all these features may strike you as barely worth mentioning, combined they give the Kizashi a rather upscale look, no mean feat for a car that lists for about $23,000.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 10, 825 miles
August 31, 2010
See that? That's our Kizashi's side mirror. It's nicely sized -- big, but not obscenely so. If you're backing up, you can check out what's behind you via this and our Kizashi's other two mirrors. However, you can't rely on a backup camera, since our Kizashi isn't equipped with one (note, however, that a backup camera is available on 2010 models as a late-availability option). During my time with the Suzuki, I haven't missed having a backup camera one bit.
The Kizashi isn't that big -- it's one of the smaller choices in the midsize segment. Would a backup camera be a must-have for you if you were shopping for a car in this segment, or would mirrors and a flexible neck be enough?
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 10, 340 miles
August 30, 2010
So I'm pulling up to a traffic light this weekend and a guy in a Jetta TDI wagon (Gen IV) pulls into the right turn lane next to me and does the universal roll down your window sign.
TDI fellow: "Hey, I didn't think there was a Suzuki dealer in Los Angeles! I've been reading about this thing and I'm really interested."
A not entirely helpful JRiz: "I know there's one somewhere, possibly in the South Bay. I'm not sure, though, this is a company car."
TDI: "Oh, do you like it?"
A slightly more helpful JRiz: "Yeah, this is a great car. I really like it."
TDI: "Hey thanks! Have a good one."
Well, since I couldn't be helpful on the fly, here's the answer to his question.
August 27, 2010
Remember last week when we had a tire pressure problem we kinda/sorta attributed to, perhaps, faulty inititial settings by the 'zuk techs? Well, looks like there may have been more going on that just a low setting.
Yesterday, one of our staffers came into the office complaining that all of the tires had gone low forcing a gas station air-up. He didn't trust the gauge there and grabbed one from the office to find that, miraculously, all of the tires were now--- back to cold after a few hours sitting-- at the proper spec, excpt one. The one, right front, was already down to 24 psi.
Off to Stokes Tire Pros in Santa Monica we went.
Turns out that the offending tire had a small hole in it where the sidewall meets the tread. D'oh! We've got exceptional aim sometimes.
They didn't have a new P235/45R18 94V Dunlop SP Sport 7000 in stock, but a vendor did and they could have it early next day (today). It was already past 3 so we asked them to hang onto the Suzuki-- they offered to throw the spare on for us if we needed it for the evening-- and call us when it was done.
Just before noon today we got the call stating that, for the princely sum of $228.75 we could have our Suzuki back. Concerned about the other problems we'd told them about, our man there hooked us up and had his techs check all of the tires and re-tighten the TPMS dongle which is often the cause of slow leaks.
We'll let you know if they stay full this time 'round.
Mike Magrath, Associate Editor @ 10,144 miles
August 25, 2010
According to the press release that just hit my email, today marks Suzuki's 25th anniversary in America selling cars. Suddenly my drive to work in our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS seems all the more significant. After all, it is without a doubt Suzuki's best car ever. I really enjoy driving it, which is something I couldn't say about many Suzukis in the last two and a half decades.
After a few years selling building and selling motorcycles, Suzuki's first mass-produced car, the 360cc Suzulight, was introduced to the Japanese market in 1955. Thirty years later, in 1985 it entered the U.S. automotive market (it began selling motorcycles in America in 1963) with the successful launch of the Samurai, arguably America's first compact SUV.
There have been ups and downs since. Drive a Kizashi and you'll be as bullish on Suzuki's next 25 years as I am.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 10,104 miles
August 24, 2010
By now you know we're fans of our long-term Kizashi. Nearly all who have driven it have commented on how pleasant and surprisingly refined it is. I'm on board with pretty much everything that's been posted, so I thought I'd just take some pictures rather than rehash what's already been said.
August 13, 2010
The darndest things happen when you're pushing the limits of a car's fuel tank. Such as flat tires. Or what I thought was a flat tire. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Backing up.
I hop into our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS this morning-- it was kind of cool out-- and hit the road with 15 miles left on the DTE gauge. No more than 25 feet into my drive, I get this TPMS warning.
So I grab my tire pressure gauge and check 'em all. 31. And the Kizashi calls for 38. Hmm.
Since all are the same, the only reasonable conclusion is that they were all set the same. Or I got four punctures with the exact same leak rate.
What are the odds the guy at the dealership slapped on the auto-filler, pre-set to 32 psi, and filled the tires that way?
Tires are back up to spec now, I'll let you know if they all drop in unison again.
Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com
August 12, 2010
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.
August 05, 2010
The exterior of our Suzuki Kizashi is absolutely filthy. And you can't even tell.
Besides the fact that it makes the Kizashi look way more expensive than it really is, the Platinum Metallic paint hides dirt like nobody's business.
I wish I could paint my daughter's room this color.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor
August 03, 2010
In the Kizashi's favor:
--> Gray paint
--> Manual transmission
--> Has this innovative convenience feature known as rear legroom
--> Lovingly driven by the Edmunds staff
--> The thrill of exclusivity; only 3,002 sold in first 7 months of 2010
In the IS 350's favor:
--> Even grayer paint
--> 3 seconds quicker to 60 mph using innovative "mash throttle" launch technique
--> Not driven by the Edmunds staff
--> The thrill of following the crowd; 19,242 IS models sold in first 7 months of 2010
Erin Riches, Senior Editor
July 27, 2010
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
July 24, 2010
A few days ago we published a first drive of the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. The models sixth generation. Which got me to thinking. The MKIV or fourth generation Jetta was by far the coolest, and by the way, the most popular of all Jettas. Sold from the late 1990s to 2005, the fourth gen Jetta was simply cooler then its price tag would have had you believe. It looked more expensive than it was and it had a certain "it" factor no other car in its class could claim.
Because of that "cool factor" the MKIV Jetta was the first econobox sold in America that was bought by folks that could afford more. They bought it because they wanted one, not because it was just cheap transportation. In a way, the fourth gen Jetta created the premium small car class in America that is now owned by the Mini Cooper. Bottom line, it was cool to have a Jetta.
I've been spending some time in our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS, and I think it's the new MKIV Jetta. This car is cool. Much cooler than anything else at its price point. People look at this car. People ask about it when you park. It has that "it" factor the Jetta lost and no other small sedan has ever grabbed. When you drive it around you feel like you got far more car then you paid for. I think it's only a matter of time before it catches on big.
July 23, 2010
It's an age-old debate: Names or numbers. American cars used to have cool names. Now all too many of them have forgettable alpha-numeric designations that make them almost indistinguishable.
Suzuki didn't mess around with this sedan. No Esteem L or SX5 badges on this sucker. Suzuki just went ahead and gave it the most Japanese-sounding name it could think of and let the market decide.
So what do you think? Would this sedan have been better off with a more common name or number?
Ed Hellwig, Editor @ 8,125 miles
July 08, 2010
I'd been eager to spend some time in the new Sonata, to see how it compares to the Kizashi. Both are well-received upstarts that have managed to shake things up in the notoriously competitive family-sedan segment.
They're both great sedans, but if I were in the market, I'd have to go with the Kizashi -- it just feels so much more refined than anything else in the segment. I know I'm sounding like a broken record here with my endless torrent of gushing praise for the Suzy, but hey -- you've gotta give praise where praise is due.
Of course, the Kizashi also one of the smaller choices in its category, so if having the most rear legroom and trunk space is important to you, it ain't the best bet.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
June 28, 2010
I attended a surprise wedding on Friday night. See, the bride and groom invited a small group of friends and family onto a yacht in Marina del Rey to celebrate their engagement. However, the arrangement of the upper deck's chairs quickly gave away that we were actually attending their wedding. It was a lovely, casual affair.
As we were disembarking the boat, the groom mentioned that he needed to call the car service to drive he and his bride the mile and change to the Ritz Carlton where we'd all be continuing the party. I then said, half-jokingly, "Would you like a ride in a Suzuki instead?"
To my surprise, the groom looked at me somewhat intrigued -- I'm guessing partly because he liked the idea of not paying for the car service and partly because of the word "Suzuki." At that point I felt the need to qualify that it was "Suzuki's new midsize sedan. It's actually really quite nice."
"Sure man, if you don't mind."
Of course I didn't, and thus, our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi was called into service as a wedding limo. Who saw that coming?
Now, their wedding departure was hardly on par with My Best Friend's Wedding, where Cameron Diaz and Dermot Mulroney exit through a driveway lined with fireworks in a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, but they clearly didn't care. I must say they were nevertheless surprised and pleased by our humble Kizashi.
I guess it's a good thing I didn't get the Miata for the weekend.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 7,658 miles
June 14, 2010
Well, I'll say this: attracting attention doesn't seem to be a problem. Thanks to its upscale look (check out the handsome 18-inch wheels that tuck nicely into the wheel wells, for instance), I was fielding a lot of questions about our Kizashi GTS this weekend. I took it to a barbeque and a kiddie birthday party and in both cases other attendees would ask me about the car as I was either arriving or departing.
"What is it?" was the most common question. Of course, I'd say "a Suzuki Kizashi!" and watch as a predictable puzzled look would creep across the person's face. One guy must have heard "Subaru" since he started asking me about the Outback. Another wondered if it was an Audi competitor. Umm, not exactly. Even so, it's nice to see that people are interested.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 7,076 miles
June 09, 2010
I recently spent some time in the 2010 Audi A5 2.0T in preparation for an Edmunds test drive that I'll be writing on the car. Immediately after the A5 left, I was placed in our long-term Kizashi for the night.
I was expecting the Kizashi to feel like a huge step down after the A5; after all, one's a premium European coupe and the other's an affordably priced family hauler. Instead, I was struck by how refined the Kizashi is; it really does hold its own, even in comparison to a car like the Audi. Its ride is pleasant and well-balanced, and the feel of the switchgear in its cabin is comparable to that experienced in entry-level luxury models. Its cabin looks polished and elegant, as does its sheet metal. The Suzy is fast becoming one of my favorites in the midsize family sedan segment.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
June 04, 2010
More than one of us has encountered a curious bystander who thought our Suzuki Kizashi was some kind of new entry-level luxury car. We usually just chuckle knowing that it has a small, four-cylinder engine and a sticker price doesn't even top $24,000.
Still, there's something to be said for a car that looks more expensive than it is, especially when that car is a Suzuki.
I commuted in our Kizashi for three or four days when I was on a jury in downtown Los Angeles recently, and I never remember thinking of the Kizashi as a cheap car. At nearly $24K, it is not in fact cheap, but for a company like Suzuki to take a step up on the price ladder and succeed is no small task. So far, I think the Kizashi is proving that it's possible.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 5,922 miles
May 25, 2010
Yeah, you read that right. I switched into this Suzuki after spending the weekend in a Golf TDI and I was surprised how much I preferred the Kizashi's smooth running four-cylinder. Seriously, the Kizashi felt like a Lexus in comparison.
I mean, sure the Golf's TDI engine is nice for a diesel, but you don't realize how rough it really is until you swap it for a gasoline equivalent. Granted, the TDI returns much better mileage than the Suzuki's gas burner, but it's not like the Kizashi is sucking it down at some furious rate. I'd take it over the Golf for sure, or at least a Golf TDI that is.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 5,832 miles
May 10, 2010
Our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS is officially 5,000-miles into its long-term test and showing no signs of wear, has no squeaks or rattles, and the fuel economy remains impressive. In a bunch of ways, this Kizashi reminds me of our former Mitsu Lancer GTS long-termer--only the quality of the interior materials is far better in the Kizashi. But like the Lancer, the Kizashi provides a genuine alternative to the ubiquitous Civic, Corolla, (and in some places) Cobalt that people seem to buy like Kleenex (facial tissue), Band-Aid (bandages), and Jet Ski (personal water craft) without ever considering Puffs, Curad, or Sea-Doo. I'm afraid that as good as the Suzuki Kizashi's driving dynamics, value, and styling are, Suzuki's lack of dealerships, service locations, and advertising will not be enough to sustain it in this competitive market. Hey, we're doing our part to get the word out. How 'bout you?
Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 5,027 miles
May 06, 2010
I took the Kizashi on a 650-mile road trip from Los Angeles to Monterey and my initial impressions, those being that this is a refined and thoughtfully-equipped car, were cemented. (I snapped the picture while driving through wine country -- sorry the light is harsh but the photo-op was too good to resist).
May 03, 2010
Sometimes you'll have a car that's basically very competent -- good performance, smooth ride, respectable handling. And then the manufacturer drops the ball on some of the small things (no telescoping wheel, maybe excessive road noise). Not so with the Kizashi. At first blush I was impressed by this Suzook's refined, willing engine and well-balanced chassis. Then I noticed a few of the small touches that make a difference in everyday driving.
April 06, 2010
I had our long-term Suzuki Kizashi last weekend and used it to visit family for Easter. The handsome-looking Kizashi attracted a fair amount of attention when I parked it outside my in-laws' house. I was bemused by the various reactions, though, as nobody knew what it was.
One uncle didn't know Suzuki even made cars, while my father-in-law joked about the Kizashi's Japanese-sounding name. My sister-in-law, however, seemed genuninely interested since she's thinking about replacing her previous-generation Mazda 6.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 2,882 miles
March 23, 2010
Years ago, I wrote a road test about the 2004 Suzuki Verona and I remember thinking that, while everything was perfectly fine, this car offered no excitement. Flash forward to the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS. I liked this car right away -- not so much for the excitement factor but for its remarkable refinement.
My personal car is a 2007 Honda Fit and I'm always amazed at how smoothly it idles -- you almost have to look at the tachometer to see if it's running. The Kizashi's inline-4 cylinder, 185-horsepower engine is similar; even as you accelerate through the gears, it's so well balanced that there is almost a complete lack of vibration. This communicates a sense of ease to the driver that's very enjoyable.
I didn't get a chance to push this car at all (though a trip to San Diego is in the near future) so I can't comment on the handling except to say that the steering is reasonably communicative and the car seems to invite the driver to toss it into a corner.
Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 2,010 miles
March 19, 2010
Having a mother who switches cars nearly every day makes my daughter pretty popular at school. Unfortunately, her exposure to so many different cars also provides considerable grist for the underdeveloped humor mill lodged securely in her fourth-grade brain.
"If the Challenger has five-spoke wheels," she asked last night, "What do you call the Kizashi's wheels?"
"Multi-spoke," I said.
"I don't really care," she responded. "I just wanted to say Kizashi."
Get it? Me neither.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 1,940 miles
March 17, 2010
Everything about the Suzuki Kizashi feels more deluxe and expensive than its modest price tag suggests. The center stack is a good example. The buttons and knobs feel luxury-car solid to the touch, and their movement is well-damped and precise. Nothing is flimsy, nothing is lightweight, and nothing feels anything less than carefully thought-through.
The layout looks great too, with the sort of tasteful metallic accents seen in top entry-luxury sedans. Hello, dark horse. Suzuki has come out of nowhere to deliver one of the most impressive picks in a very competitive segment.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
March 15, 2010
So I was transporting this 20-foot tall olive tree through the moonroof of our new 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS this weekend, and boy, was it ever the right long-termer for the job. My camera sometimes has trouble with low-light situations, but I was admiring our new Kizashi's paint at sunset in my driveway this weekend. Many manufacturers offer metallic silver, but our Suzuki's $380 premium paint looks especially deep, lustrous, and well, "premium."
Aside from our GTS's excellent manual shifter and intuitive clutch uptake, I also noticed the brakes in our car were less abrupt with a more intuitive jump-in compared to the first preproduction Kizashi SLS I drove (mostly at our test track). Good omen.
Yet, this car has the same solid build, same nimble compliance, same "seems-like-a-more-expensive-car-than-it-is" feeling. I know this is the car nobody saw coming, but I suspect our staff are be going to be pleasantly surprised and will have a hard time picking its nits.
Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 1,660 miles