February 07, 2011
Daddy-o and I logged a few hundred miles on the Kizashi yesterday. As stated in my previous post, we decided to cruise up to Santa Barbara for a lil' road trip before watching the Super Bowl. It also gave me a chance to get another passenger's opinion on the Kizashi.
JDP Senior ("Joe" in this case) was duly impressed by the upscale interior, exclaiming "This is a Suzuki? It rides nearly as nice as Joe's Mercedes." (My brother has an '04 S500). The Kizashi's quiet ride and lack of powertrain vibration were also likely key factors in that opinion. But for both of us the seats were the most impressive aspect of the cabin. Ideally contoured and firm but not unyielding, they provided generous under-thigh support and kept our finicky backsides comfortably content throughout the four-plus hours we spent in 'em.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 18,505 miles
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
November 22, 2010
It's been a while since I drove the Kizashi, but when I hopped in and hit preset #2 for the driver's seat I was pleasantly surprised to find my setting still there. Though this memory feature is for the seat only (not the sideview mirrors as well as in some cars), it's still a nice and unexpected perk given the Kizashi's price range. Likewise for the keyless ignition/entry.
While pairing up my phone I initially felt the same about the Suzook's Bluetooth...until I discovered it doesn't feature automatic phone book downloading. Hyundai has this convenience and so does Ford's Sync, so this was something of a disappointment. Ahh, the laments of the 21st century...
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 13,542 miles
November 16, 2010
Several of my colleagues have already noted that the seats in the Kizashi are quite good, with decent lateral and thigh support, as well as pleasant fabric coverings. I'd like to add yet another tick mark to the "plus" column in regard to the seat cushion adjustment.
Usually, if a seat cushion angle can be adjusted, it tilts the whole seat back. In a few cars, like the Kizashi, the seat bottom tilts independently of the rest of the seat. I prefer this because when I need a little more support under my legs, I don't have to re-adjust the seatback rake. I know, it's not that big of a deal, but its little touches like this that keeps the Kizashi near and dear to me.
But the Bluetooth streaming audio is giving me problems. I haven't been in the Kizashi in a while, so I assumed I'd have to pair my iPhone to the stereo again. Not so. My device was still in the system, but I had to shuffle through a whole bunch of voice-activated menus to re-connect. Then, I had to go into my iPhone's settings to complete the process. When I was finally able to play music again, I had completed just as many steps as I did when I first paired it to the system.
This morning, I figured I could just hop in and start listening. Nope. I had to go through the whole process again. Strange, I thought, because when I had it for a weekend not too long ago, I didn't have to go through all of this. Next time, I'll make sure to bring my iPhone cable.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor
November 01, 2010
Three things that I like about the Kizashi's seats:
1: The seat bottom is the perfect length for supporting my thighs. Not too long, not too short -- just right.
2: The seats are covered in fabric that's soft enough to allow me to drive in shorts without feeling like my thighs are being sandpapered.
3: The bolsters offer support without being overly intrusive.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 12,732 miles
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 18, 2010
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.
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.
October 07, 2010
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
September 30, 2010
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...
September 27, 2010
"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
August 26, 2010
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
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 26, 2010
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.
April 12, 2010
One of the highlights we called out in our initial Kizashi road test is the car's composed ride quality. I didn't get a chance to drive the test car we had in, but our long-term Kizashi's ride has certainly impressed me.
The Kizashi drives with a European-tuned quality to it, with the suspension soaking up bumps without being harsh but also not being overly floaty. I even made a trip in Kizashi last weekend loaded up with three other adults and the Kizashi still didn't feel overburdened. Along with the high-quality interior, this impressive ride quality makes the Suzuki Kizashi seem like a cut above most other small or midsize sedans.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 2,997 miles
April 02, 2010
I really like the driver seat of our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi. For as many cars I get in and out of on this job, it's actually pretty rare for me to find a seat that fits just right. Usually it's either my feet are comfortably close to the pedals but I'm up against the steering wheel or I'm at the perfect distance from the wheel but my feet can't quite reach the pedals.
But with our Kizashi, everything fits juuust right. With the seat-height adjuster I'm at the perfect distance from the wheel and the pedals, and bonus that there's lumbar support and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. (All standard equipment!) Now, if it had seat heaters, I would never leave.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 2,450 miles