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