2010 Suzuki Kizashi Long-Term Road Test - Performance

2010 Suzuki Kizashi Long-Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (3)
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  • Long-Term

2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: What's Missing?

February 25, 2011


Weeks go by between my stints in our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS, and every time I get back into this midsize sedan, I ask myself why don't I drive this car more often, because it's really quite good to drive.

But in spite of that, I just haven't grown attached to our Kizashi.

I really don't know quite why, either. I like the way the six-speed manual transmission swaps gears -- the shifter is slick between the gates, the clutch easy to manage. Heel-and-toe downshifting is satisfying.

The handling is good, especially considering this is an unassuming, front-wheel-drive commuter car. The suspension feels soft at first, but rises to the challenge if you want to take a corner, or two, or three, with some enthusiasm.

So I've come up with three possible explanations for why I'm not a Kizashi supporter:

1. The engine is very smooth, but devoid of personality. I like shifting a lot, so slow(ish) cars don't usually bother me, but there's nothing happening with this powerband. It feels flat and I have little interest in going to redline.

2. The steering doesn't have enough feedback. Effort levels are good, but the steering feels more distant and electric than I'd like.

3. There's quite a bit of road noise. Possibly this has increased as the 235/45R18 94V Dunlop SP Sport 7000 tires have aged. A noisy ride doesn't usually bother me that much (see Mazdaspeed 3), but maybe it bugs me more in the Kizashi.

So that's my list. And, no, I won't be driving the Suzuki this weekend.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 19,345

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Light and Easy

February 18, 2011

perpetual gridlock on the 10.jpg I'm a three-pedal guy. Yep, I prefer the additional involvement, work and skill that driving a true manual transmission car requires. For folks like me with 95 octane in their veins, it's just more fun keeping the engine on song on a deserted winding road and clicking off smooth, rev-matched downshifts all by using your own brain and limbs.

That said, dealing with the almost nightly, soul-crushing slog seen above is more than enough to challenge one's allegiance to a DIY tranny. Thankfully, the Kizashi is blessed with a light-effort, progressive clutch and a slick gearshift that make it ideal for urban warriors who still get a kick out of driving a stick.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 18, 895 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Hitting the Numbers

February 05, 2011

kizashi at vineyard.jpg

For nearly 20,000 miles under our oftentimes heavy feet, our Kizashi has been averaging 23.8 mpg. The EPA estimate for combined driving is 24 mpg, lending credibility to the agency's now more realistic mileage estimates. Yes, that's 3 mpg less than what a four-cylinder Accord with a manual transmission rates, but still not bad overall considering our Suzook spends plenty of time in notorious L.A. traffic.

My dad's in town visiting and escaping the blizzards back east, so tomorrow we're going to hit the road for a day trip up to Santa Barbara. Maybe we'll take a vineyard tour as my girlfriend and I did some time ago (as seen above). On tomorrow's relaxed cruise, I'm hoping to better the EPA's highway estimate of 29 mpg.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 18,304 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Knock-Kneed

February 02, 2011

Kizashi-knee knockin-web.jpg 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

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Tips or Pipes?

January 27, 2011


Not too long ago, Mike Monticello wrote a post about the stylized tips on our Kizashi. His argument was that the stylized tips made you believe the car had more power than it actually does. While I see his point and agree with him, I like them because I dig the "in bumper" look.

This trend is not a new one. In fact I spied this feature on comrade Takahashi's sweet '57 T-Bird. Yes, the T-Bird has straight pipes through a metal bumper in contrast to the current versions which most are "poser" tips, like the Lexus IS-F.

What do you think? Are they "push up bras" as carguy622 hilariously equated them to, or are they something you really like? Or would you just prefer to see some nice pipes sticking out from under the bumper?

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Those Look A Little Familiar

January 14, 2011


I was noticing the Kizashi's 20-spoke wheels this morning and I realized that there aren't many company's producing wheels this elaborate. In fact, one in particular comes to mind...


Hmmm, where do you think Suzuki got that idea? Alpina has a history with this style of wheel which dates back to the 70s 3.0 CSL. And it's still using the 20-spoke design today on the B7. Sure, it's not identical, but it's hard to jam 20 spokes in there and have things look unlcuttered or unfamiliar.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Open Secret

January 13, 2011


Last Thursday I got a call nobody wants to get. I had to head back home to say goodbye to an old friend of mine. Thankfully with the Detroit auto show in full swing, there wouldn't be a big demand on cars and I was given the keys to the Kizashi on Monday.

This car has been here for almost a year and I've never been behind the wheel. To boot, it's from an automaker I'd nearly forgotten about. I was coming into it with open eyes.

My eyes were open wide from shock from the very moment I drove north to San Francisco. I've been in a lot of other Suzuki products over the years. Obviously if I can't remember them all that well, it's not saying much for their cars. The Kizashi, however, is a wonderful little car.

It feels like a car that should cost more than it does. It has a refined road feel that is very composed and comfortable. It has nicely balanced steering that felt very progressive for turning input. On top of that, it has a perfectly adequate power plant. I say perfectly adequate because it's just enough power that you'd need to pass and accelerate, without having a lot to spare.

In the two days I had the Kizashi, I never got tired of driving it. It was fun to drive it during the long stretches of I-5, around the busy traffic of Market Street and navigating my way around the steep hills of North Beach. Overall it's wrapped in a stylish packaging that makes this car very attractive. It reminds me of a Mazda 3 in feel and function, but with much better looks.

I just feel as a Suzuki, it's going to be unjustly overlooked. It's like an open secret, which is sad for such a great car. Yeah the shrinking Suzuki network of dealers is a concern, but at this price point, the content you get with that price and just the kind of car it is to drive, I'm going to try to shed more light on the Kizashi.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 16,482 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Exhaust Tips A Case Of Overpromise, Underdeliver?

January 04, 2011

Suzuki Kizashi longtermer exhuast.jpg It's usually not a good thing to overpromise and underdeliver. Whether in your work at the office, in the sports you play, or with hulking exhaust tips when you don't have the power to back them up.

The Suzuki Kizashi has just such a pair of large, stylized outlets, which might lead you to believe it's packing a feisty turbo-four, or at least a smooth V6.

Neither is true, but at least the Kizashi's 185-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder provides decent enough oomph and the chassis semi-sporting handling to the point that you don't feel completely led astray. Plus, there's that jazzy-looking body and the Suzuk's great value for the money, $23,614 as-tested.

Look more closely and you'll see the Kizashi's tips aren't actually exhaust tips, but rather just outlets. Behind each outlet lies the true peashooter exhaust. Those big outlets are purely for show.

Suzuki Kizashi longtermer exhuast tips.jpg Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 15,369 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Kizashi Kicks?

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?

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: 15,000 Miles

December 28, 2010

Thumbnail image for Milestone Banner.jpg 15,000-miles-Kizashi.jpg

Today our long-term Suzuki Kizashi GTS broke 15,000 miles, which means its due for its second scheduled maintenance.

I should also point out that the Kizashi has been dead reliable, needing nothing in those 15,000 miles besides a scheduled 7,500 mile service and a tire replacement at 10,000 miles.

Great car.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Goes 204 mph

December 27, 2010

Back in the summer, our friends at Road and Track magazine set a record at the Bonneville Speed Weeks with a modified Suzuki Kizashi. With my friend Sam Matani behind the wheel the sedan set a new record in the Blown Gas Coupe class of over 204 mph putting my friend in the exclusive 200 mph club.

Just another reason why the Kizashi is the coolest car nobody seems to know about.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 14,857 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Buying Without a Net?

December 16, 2010


I've had my first two drives in our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi and will merely echo all the things my astute fellow editors have said: It's perky, responsive and extremely fun to drive (I'm just reacquainting myself with manual transmissions, and I loved this one). I also appreciated the Kizashi's zen-like instrument array. I've pretty much had it with the nav/radio/DVD/DVR/HD/3D clutter. Let's just show the radio station and keep our eyes on the road.

But would I buy one, given the much-discussed dearth of dealer support for service? After reading the comments here, I assumed that there wasn't a Suzuki dealership west of the Mississippi. So I dropped my home zip code into Suzuki's online dealership finder and learned that there are two in Orange County, in cities not far from where I live. (And yes, I would go behind the dreaded Orange Curtain for auto buying and service. If the OC is good enough for John Wayne and the Real Housewives, it's good enough for me.)

Besides, I currently get my 2000 Acura TL serviced at a dealership that's eight (surface street) miles from home. If I were a Kizashi owner who needed service, I'd have to go 14 (freeway) miles. Should that be a deal breaker?

Put it this way: I wouldn't let six miles stand in the way if I was considering the Kizashi among other cars at the excitement/expense intersection Suzuki's marketeers have plotted. On the other hand, Suzuki ranks poorly in J.D. Powers' most recent service satisfaction survey. So I'd have to factor that into the equation. And give the car a few more drives.

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @14,724 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: They Love It In New Zealand

December 14, 2010

suzuki kizashi frontal.jpg

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

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Where There's a Will, And a Budget

October 26, 2010


I drove our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi last night and was again amazed by how good certain aspects of this $23,614 car are. Take the electric-assist power steering. I don't know how much money Suzuki is making on each Kizashi it sells, but it's clear someone important (or likely, many someones) decided this car should have good steering and allocated whatever amount of money was necessary so that the engineers could tune it until it felt right.

And so the Kizashi has perhaps the best electric-assist steering of any front-wheel-drive midsize sedan sold in the United States. Effort levels are spot-on whether you're parking or exiting the freeway. The steering is precise, with each input yielding exactly the amount of actual turning you expect, and the medium-quick ratio feels right for the Kizashi's size, weight and moderately sporty personality.

There's even the suggestion of steering feel here -- it's not like a Lancer Evolution, but you have some idea of and connection to what's happening with the Kizashi's front end. It's a refreshing quality in a front-drive midsize sedan, and sadly, one you won't find in many other cars in this class. Forget the other cars with electric steering -- the Kizashi's steering is better than some of the competing hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion setups.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 12,546 miles

P.S. Now it might appear I parked the car next to a red-painted curb, but this was not the case. This was a metered parking spot and the meter was fed.

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Burger in a Box

October 05, 2010


It's no wonder that four-cylinder engines don't get any respect. Once you open the hood of the Suzuki Kizashi GTS, you find its 2.4-liter inline-4 hiding in a kind of plastic box. It looks like one of those cardboard containers in which you get your hamburger at the drive-thru, doesn't it?

And yet the inline four-cylinder engine has have taken over the world. And for good reason, because a four is all you'll ever need.

Sure, we romanticize the bigger engines, the inline-6s, the efficient V6s and the big V8s. Maybe this is because those intake runners look so sweet, even though what you see these days is usually a cover made from molded plastic instead of the runners themselves.

Yet the application of modern technology has given the lowly inline-4 a dose of magic that enables it to go head-to-head with more complex powerplants.

# Counter-rotating balancers cancel the inline-4's inherent vibration characteristics, making it possible to increase the four's displacement to 2.4 liters from about 2.0 liters without making the whole thing shake itself apart.

# Multi-valve combustion chambers increase specific output while variable valve timing and lift broaden the powerband.

# Assorted anti-friction measures in ring design and metal coatings improve efficiency.

# Turbochargers and superchargers increase power exponentially.

# Direct injection simultaneously improves fuel economy even as it cools the combustion chamber, making possible a taller compression ratio for more power.

# Active engine mounts quell vibration so effectively that it's difficult to detect engine vibration at all.

Not all of these technologies lie within the Suzuki J24B in the Kizashi, which churns out 185 hp at 6,500 rpm and 170 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, but you can bet they soon will be. We've managed to make it through the era of the wimpy, fragile inline-4s that superseded the bulletproof 2.0-liter fours of the 1980s, and now the four-cylinder is thought to be worthy of serious engineering, since it holds the key to the future of fuel-efficiency. The good news is, the inline-4 can deliver the tractability and civility we prefer on a daily basis and yet also achieve the power output we crave.

Even if it does look like some kind of hamburger in a black box.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 11,733 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Easy Shifter

September 29, 2010


Yesterday in the office a co-worker from a different department admitted that she hadn't driven a manual shift car in over 10 years, and asked what might be a good car to use in the re-learning process.

In open conversations like this, our staff isn't shy about throwing out personal opinions, and voices rang out from around corners and behind cube walls.

Last night when I got into the 6-speed Suzuki Kizashi, I was reminded how easy it is to drive, with its confident clutch and forgiving gearbox.

I remembered back 20 years ago, watching a stop light at the top of a slight hill change from green to red six times before I was able to get my 1984 Escort out of first gear. I still shudder at the memory of all those horns honking around me.

What's your story?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 11,457 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: I'm A Fan

September 28, 2010

kizashi rear driveway 717.jpg

Yeah, it's kind of a lovefest around here for our longterm 2010 Suzuki Kizashi, and I, too, am a member of Camp Zook. Or Kizoo. Whatever.

Every time I drive it I come away impressed. It just does so many things right. Ride and handling coexist peacefully, all of the primary controls work with a silken touch, noise is never part of the equation, it feels substantial but not leaden. Refinement is really the car's trump card.

It looks great, too, although photos don't do it justice -- the Kizashi needs the third dimension for its styling to really makes its impression.

This is an attainable car that drives like one that's out of your price range.

What about you -- could you see a Zook in your driveway if you were in the market for a midsize sedan?

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Keeps Up in the City

September 22, 2010


My friend is visiting from San Francisco so I'm taking the next couple of days off to show her around L.A., and have picked our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi as our around-town conveyance. I feel I made the right choice as it's comfortable, feels refined, is easy to drive when dealing with stop-and-go traffic, is luxurious-looking enough to actually turn heads at the valet (I kid you not) and isn't worrisome to park on Hollywood streets or cramped Santa Monica garages. So, yeah, it keeps up in the city just fine. What does my friend think of it? "I didn't know Suzuki still made cars. It's really nice!"

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Low-Profile Tires Look Good, Ride Fine

September 21, 2010


There are plenty of discussions around our office about low-profile tires. Yes, they look good, but what price are we paying in terms of ride quality? This has become especially prevalent given that big wheels and thin tires are now trickling down to average family cars and crossovers.

The Suzuki Kizashi is a good example. Our GTS model rides on a set of 18-inch wheels wrapped in 235/45R18 tires. Those are some pretty serious meats for a $24,000 family sedan.

Yes even with all that tread width and relatively thin sidewalls, the Kizashi doesn't suffer in terms of ride quality. It's perfectly compliant and the tire noise isn't overwhelming. Granted, the tires have an all-season tread that's not overly aggressive, but it's still not easy making them ride comfortably with minimal noise. Add in the fact that the wheels themselves are pretty attractive and I'd say Suzuki did a pretty good job with the Kizashi's wheel, tire and suspension setup.

Ed Hellwig, Editor @ 10,989 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Excellent Ride

September 07, 2010


There's something about our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi (tall sedan on the right) that feels a little off to me. There's nothing wrong with the actual car; it's just not quite the small-midsize sedan I want it to be. I keep thinking I want a quicker steering ratio or maybe more steering feel (a tall order with electric power assist) or maybe a stiffer suspension, all so the Kizashi will feel more like the 2004-2008 Acura TSX or the 2005-2009 Subaru Legacy it seems to want to be.

Over the weekend, though, I realized such decisions should never be left up to me.

In its current state of tune, our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi rides beautifully. It efficiently manages nearly all of the hurt that Los Angeles freeways dish out -- without getting all floaty or transmitting unnecessary information to passengers.

It was particularly impressive on the I-710 freeway we took to get to Bludso's BBQ in Compton for a Texas-style brisket fix. The 710 has some of the most variable pavement of any freeway in the area, and the Suzuki was completely at ease over all of it.

The Kizashi rides exactly how a midsize sedan should ride. And I should be happy for that.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 10,670 miles

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2010: Kuzuki Sizashi: Is It a Sport Sedan?

September 03, 2010


This was just one of the several questions posed yesterday that could be answered based on my many drives of the Kizashi (will Suzuki survive in this country? Sorry, left my crystal ball at home).

I'd say "absolutely." I'd compare the Kizashi favorably to the first-generation Acura TSX, which was definitely what I'd consider an entry point into the realm of sport sedans. They're about the same size inside and out, front-wheel drive, four-cylinder-powered and have a sprightly nature through corners. Much as the TSX was vastly more fun to drive than other front-drive, midsize sedans, so too is the Kizashi. The Acura had better steering (hydraulic versus electric), more power and a more luxurious interior, but then the Suzuki is cheaper and wasn't turned into a gooey, vegetable-slicing disappointment.

From an objective stand point, let's take a look at the Kizoo's track numbers: slalom speed 64.8 mph and skidpad turn .88g. Those are actually better than the undertired old TSX and most family sedans. The Ford Fusion Sport and Mazda 6 manage a quicker slalom run (65.1 and 65.9), but nothing can touch that .88g on the skidpad. Of course, a 0-60 of 8.3 seconds isn't exactly getting the blood pumping in a straight line, but then I think handling is a better measure of something's sports sedanness than a straight line. Not that a more powerful engine option would hurt.

So I'd say the Kizashi is a sport sedan, especially given the fact that our long-termer costs only $23,614. It's a fun car for the money that I would definitely consider if I was in the market for a car of this size and with this many doors. My only pause, as several of the questions pointed out, would be whether I could get it serviced. In Los Angeles, that would be tough, but elsewhere, we could be in business. I'll leave you to ponder whether Suzuki will stay in business.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 10,393 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Best Car in 25 Years

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

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Our Suzuki Kizashi vs. Another Guy's Lexus IS 350

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

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Details Done Right

July 28, 2010


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.

After the jump, I offer a quick and dirty video of another of my favorite Kizashi details: Auto-up power windows that slooww down just before they're all the way closed. Not sure if it's part of the pinch-protection measures or just to help with sealing, but it's cool and makes the car seem more refined.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 8,442 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Much Rather Have This Engine Than a TDI

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

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Sweating the Details

May 03, 2010

suzuki kazashi visor ext.jpg

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.

suzuki kazashi trunk.jpg

Take the sun visors extenders; not all cars have them and most that do don't stretch out nearly as much as these ones. They worked great when the sun would've otherwise zapped me by sneaking in that space between the standard visors. And there is the trunk lid that is lined (unlike say, an Accord LX's) and has a pull-down handle which makes it easier and cleaner (no need to touch the outer lid) to close.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 4,150 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: All it Needs is Power

April 20, 2010

Suzuki Kizashi.JPG

Our long term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS is as impressive dynamically as it is in the showroom. The handling, the braking, and especially the steering are very nice, and all of these parameters rank it as one of the top performers in the small sedan category.

Where our Kizashi is lacking, however, is in locomotion: this engine feels weak. Although the 2.4L DOHC 16-valve I4 is smooth and doesn't mind the revs, it only makes 185hp and 170 lb-ft of torque.

This chassis is so good it feels like it could handle another 100hp.
Hopefully, the Kizashi will eventually get a V6 and at least an additional 50hp.

Then we will have difficulty in finding something negative to say about this car.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 3,535 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Succeeds Where the SX4 Failed

April 16, 2010


While our long-term Suzuki SX4 suffered from sluggish acceleration and a limited fuel range, the Kizashi has no such problems. Its 185-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is pretty competitive as small or midsize sedans go, and you'll get a zero-to-60 mph sprint in 8.3 seconds (without rollout) with the six-speed manual transmission. For comparison, the last manual-equipped VW Jetta we tested with the 2.5-liter engine clocked a time of 8.6 seconds. As for fuel range, getting around 350 freeway miles from a tank of gas is no problem.

The more I drive this car, the more I like it.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Fun Handler, But What's With The Throttle?

March 30, 2010

suzuki kizashi r34 handler throttle.jpg

Finally drove our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi last night, and was pleasantly surprised by its handling. The powertrain could use some fine-tuning, though.

It's pretty sharp in terms of body control and steering precision. And the grip! Clingier than I expected.

Plus, it's apparent the the bodyshell is stiff -- the taut damping is allowed to work effectively, and the car feels quite solid... both when you straddle its wheels cross-corner over a drainage rut (and thus load it torsionally), or when a single tire whacks a bump.

Yeah, the steering's could use a tick more feel overall and is a bit goofy around center. Has that electric-y hysteresis. But the helm is reasonably quick. In summary I give the chassis a B+.

The powertrain, hmmm. Forget power for a minute and think power delivery. Irrespective of how much (or how little, in this case) power an engine makes, we want a snappy response here -- both when the throttle is initially cracked and also when it's flicked shut.

The Kizashi, though, has quite a lazy throttle takeup when you're feeding in the pedal for a normal launch, and then hangs onto revs when you want to shift. I blame the drive-by-wire throttle calibration. It's trying too hard to smooth things out, and the result is that it feels like Suzuki installed sloppy engine mounts and a giant flywheel.

Not a huge deal, but the whole Kizashi package would be more cohesive were it better. Especially as the chassis exhibits some inherent goodness.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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Past Long-Term Road Tests