2010 Suzuki Kizashi Long-Term Road Test - Audio & Technology

2010 Suzuki Kizashi Long-Term Road Test

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

February 24, 2011


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

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

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

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

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

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 19,315 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Ideal iPod Hookup

February 21, 2011

kizashi ipod 001.jpg

Kudos for Suzuki for using this covered compartment in front of the shifter for the iPod hookup. It's a cinch to plug in the iPod as you can see the port and access it without any awkward fumbling around such as when it's located in the glovebox or center console box. And unlike using one of the latter locations, you won't have to rearrange other things, such as the owner's manual(s) or umm, gloves in the glovebox or whatever you've stuffed into the console box.

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Multi-speed Window Motors

February 17, 2011

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

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

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

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Another European Trait

January 31, 2011

kizashi fuel filler.jpg

It had been a while since I gassed up the Kizashi. so after glancing at the lower left dash area and then down alongside the driver's seat for the fuel door release, I remembered that there wasn't one. After earning our admiration for its fine road manners, smooth powertrain and nice cabin, had we found a place where a corner was cut? Is there no security for the fuel filler?

Nope, turns out the Kizashi has another Euro characteristic -- central locking that includes the fuel door -- something I remember Mercedes-Benz touting decades ago. It's essentially a system that automatically locks/unlocks the fuel door in lockstep with the doors. So when the doors are locked, so is the fuel door. When they (or just the driver's) are unlocked, likewise for that metal flap. To gas up, just push on the left side of the flap and it swings open (and yes, it has a built-in cap holder too.) Maybe this small convenience still doesn't match Ford's capless filler for the ultimate in low-effort refueling, but it does make it a little easier than most cars, which require you to first hit a button or pull a lever.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 18,039 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Got Boom Boom?

January 17, 2011


So there's this giant advertisement for Rockford Fosgate in the Kizashi's back window. And then, hiding under the rear decklid, well...

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Display

January 14, 2011


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

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

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2010 Suziki Kizashi: The Little Things

January 14, 2011


Last night I mentioned how much I loved the feature content of our Kizashi. My favorite feature has to be the keyless system.

It may seem trivial, but when I was in a big rush in trying to do a little shopping for some decent clothes, getting a hair cut and running out to a service in less than two hours time, not having to fumble for your keys in your pocket while holding bags is such a nice convenience. It's also nice to just sit into the car and hit the button to start the car.

It's little things like this that play such a large roll on how nice this car is. This Suzuki has really impressed me.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 16,498 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Another Comment On ESP

January 02, 2011

Suzuki Kizashi longtermer ESC.jpg I like that the Suzuki Kizashi's ESP stability system can be turned off even after you've started driving. There are a few cars out there which make you come back to a complete stop if you forget to turn it off, which is annoying. I know, I know: some of you are going to freak out that I ever have the audacity to turn the ESP off while driving on public roads in the first place. So go ahead and freak out.

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: No Maintenance Warning

December 30, 2010

Suzuki Kizashi longtermer.jpg Our Suzuki Kizashi just passed 15,000 miles, which means it's time for its second scheduled trip to the dealer for service. Even though we're pretty good at keeping track of these things, we realize not everyone out there is. So it would be nice if the Kizashi gave a reminder upon startup, as on more and more cars these days, that it's due for a servicing.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 15,182 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 GTS: Selective Memories

November 22, 2010

kizashi seat memory.jpg

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

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Love for the Seats, not Bluetooth

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

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Daylight Savings Time

November 09, 2010

Kizashi time set.jpg

Ah, Daylight Savings Time, and in this instance the bad one. You get an extra hour of sleep, but it's now dark at 1700. And of course you have to reset all those clocks, including your car.

I had our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS last night and changing the clock was simple: just hold that "H" button to change the hour. No digging through menus or busting out the book for some RTFM.

I had to do the latter to adjust my inexpensive, yet complicated wristwatch.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 13,275 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Audio Review

November 05, 2010


The Suzuki Kizashi used to be the kind of car that, if someone who cared about sound bought it, they'd drive straight to a car audio shop to rip out the anemic stock system and replace it with aftermarket audio gear. But our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kazashi GTS comes standard with a 425-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system, complete with an 8-inch subwoofer.

And while some branded premium systems in cars in this segment can cost quite a bit more given that they're often bundled with other features in an option package, the Kizashi's Rockford system -- like the car itself -- offers great value. And very good, if not great, sound.

The Setup
The Kizashi's system consists of 10 speakers powered by a 425 watts pumped out to eight channels. The speakers include a 6-inch midbass and 1-inch tweeter in each front door, a 2-inch midrange in the center of the dash, a two-way coaxial speaker in each rear door with another 6-inch mid and 1-inch tweet and an 8-inch dual-voice-coil subwoofer in the rear deck. The front-door midbass drivers and rear-door coaxials get 50 watts each, the front tweeters and center channel get 25 watts and the sub gets 150 watts.

The Sound
As with each and every system I evaluate, the Kizashi's got the full treatment: Playing music tracks I've listened to in hundreds of cars to test for clarity/lack of distortion, tonal balance, timbre, tonal accuracy, soundstaging, imaging and dynamics, and then spinning several non-musical test tracks to further gauge soundstaging and imaging and also judge linearity and absence of noise. For more detail on the testing process and tracks used, check out the Edmunds.com article Sound Advice.

It's a good thing that automakers have gotten hip to the kind of palpable impact that a subwoofer can add to a system, as more OEM systems now have a dedicated sub. But all too often it adds boom as opposed to making a system more musical. Of course, there are tone controls to dial the bass down or up depending on your musical tastes. But I test car sound systems with all audio controls set at the center detent, and usualy when a premium system in an economy car like the Kizashi has a subwoofer, the overall sound tends to be too bass-heavy. (I've also noticed the same thing with Rockford systems in Mitsubishi vehicles.)

With most of my test tracks, low- and mid-bass dominated the overall sound of the Kizashi's system, muddying tonal balance, timbre and tonal accuracy. On tracks that I use to test for low-bass extension, like Joan Armatrading's "In Your Eyes" and Outkast's "Ain't No Thang," output from the sub was satisfyingly deep and solid, but also slightly distorted, while tracks with strong midbass energy, like Red House Painters' "Cabezon" and Luka Bloom's "Cold Comfort" were marred by overbearing bass. Still, I'd rather have too much bass than not enough, and a twist or two of the bass control toned down the Kizashi's sub so that it was more to my taste and it wasn't overpowering the rest of the frequency spectrum.

The system also had a bit of high-end harshness, particularly with acoustic guitars and cymbals, although nothing too annoying. And it was relatively smooth throughout the midrange and upper-treble frequency range and exhibited good dynamics. But where it really excelled was in producing a soundstage that was immensely wide and way deep and creating a thoroughly accurate imaging. The stage easily extended beyond the width of the vehicle and images within it were spatially separated and largely located exactly where they were supposed to be.

One test track I use, Bluesiana Triangle's "Shoo Fly Don't Bother Me," is an extended jazz jam with a very spacious mix and features a flute solo that floats above the center of the dash with the best systems. In the Kizashi, the flute imaged dead-center, while the song's multiple layers of percussion were perfectly spaced and placed around it, giving the soundstage a three-dimensional quality. These sonic perceptions were verified by the non-musical staging and imaging tests. In one, spoken voices are mixed so that they are left, center and right in the stage; in another, seven drumbeats march across the dash at precise intervals. They did this almost perfectly on both tracks. With the linearity test, a measure of how well the system's sound holds together at low and mid volume, the Kizashi rated poor and fair, respectively. And it passed the absence of noise test, which most systems usually do.

The Sources
Our 2010 Kizashi GTS comes with an AM/FM/CD player and USB/iPod integration (but no aux-in jack) as well as Bluetooth audio. While the Kizashi doesn't have the best iPod integration out there, it's also not the worst. Getting through the menus takes a bit too much button-pushing to settle on the selection you want. It also doesn't include such iPod categories as audiobooks and podcasts, although that's not unusual. One of the system's biggest disadvantages is the cheesy LED display, which can't always display all of a track's metadata and washes out in bright sunlight.

What We Say
The Kizashi has inspired something of a love fest on this blog. Post after post praises the compact sedan's performance, styling, comfort, interior space and attention to detail. It's also has standard tech features like pushbutton start and Bluetooth hands-free that are uncommon in a car costing less than $24,000. While the stock Rockford Fosgate audio system isn't perfect, it's perfectly fine for most ears and is a bargain considering it comes standard with such a budget-priced car. And you'd have to be a fool or a hardcore audiophile to want to rip it out and start from scratch.

The Scores
Sound: B-
Source Selection: A-
iPod Integration: B
Cost: A+

Doug Newcomb, Senior Editor, Technology

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: And Boom Goes the Kizashi

October 22, 2010


I've noted before that the Kizashi's stereo is better than I expected. This not insubstantial subwoofer might have something to do with it. Then again, the system's bass response wasn't one of its strong points in my opinion.

The clarity of the mid-range tones and crisp high-end notes are two things that impressed me about the Rockford Fosgate setup. The bass? Good, not great, although probably better than most sedans in its class. I mean, does anyone really expect a hard-hitting system in a compact sedan? If they do, they probably shouldn't be buying a compact sedan. Still, that big ol' sub poking out from the rear deck sure looks impressive doesn't it?

Ed Hellwig, Editor @ 12,410 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Tiny Key Fob

October 14, 2010

kizashi key.jpg

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

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: USB or Bluetooth?

October 08, 2010


Just like our Mitsubishi Outlander, our Kizashi features Bluetooth streaming audio with skip/pause control. Unlike the Outlander, the Suzuki was also able to connect to my iPhone via the USB port, which is generally the method I prefer. I put both connections to the test and here's what I decided...

With the USB connection, you gain the ability to search for music and the song info is also displayed on screen. But as a compulsive song shuffler, I rarely go searching. I usually find the USB's sound quality superior to Bluetooth, but that's not the case with the Kizashi.

I played my standard test song, "Olympic Fanfare and Theme" by John Williams using both connections. I found this a great song to use as a test since it has a wide dynamic range that exposes flaws in lesser sound systems. Plus, it takes me back to the 1984 L.A. Olympics and the dazzling opening ceremony. The sound quality was a dead heat to my ears, with the speakers able to handle the screaming highs of the trumpet fanfare and booming timpani bass.

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: iPhone No Go

October 07, 2010


At the risk of getting a "Caroline, you eediot!" comment, I don't know how to listen to my iPhone in our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi.

Yesterday I plugged it into the 'Zashi's USB port. It started to play the music and charge my iPhone and then flashed the message "This gadget isn't compatible blah blah" on my iPhone screen quickly replacing it with a "Accessory connected" one. But then suddenly the music stopped and it stopped charging my phone. I unplugged it, turned off the radio and my iPhone to see if I could just start all over again. No such luck.

The owner's manual didn't make any mention of how to troubleshoot this. Now, if it hadn't worked initially I wouldn't have questioned it and just plugged in a regular iPod. But the point is that it DID work at first, so why did it stop? The same thing happened with our Ford Raptor's USB port.

A Kizashi forum said that it will work with just playing audio but that wasn't the case here. Another forum mentioned just playing it via Bluetooth so that's good but I'm still curious about why the USB stopped working for my iPhone.

Anyone else have this problem? Please share and we can all learn.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Clean Climate

September 24, 2010


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

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Keyless One at a Time

September 21, 2010


Something I noticed about our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi's keyless entry. If you hit that button there from either the passenger or driver side, it only opens that respective door, not all the doors. Just thought it was...different. Most cars with keyless that I've driven open both doors when the button is pressed from the passenger side. Not a dealbreaker but if you are, say the type of guy who opens the door for his lady, you'll end up having to either ask her to unlock your side, too, or just dig the key out of your pocket.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Gauges Too Hard to Read

September 08, 2010


Earlier James blogged here that our 2010 Suzuki Kizashi had an attractive and sophisticated set of gauges. Although I like the look of this gauge pack, too, for some reason it just didn't work for me when I drove the Kizashi 4 days in a row.

To start, the speedometer is tough to read with precision when I'm traveling between 65 and 75 mph, as I often am. Reasons? There's not enough differentiation between all those little lines. Numbers are displayed only for every 20 mph. And said number markings are oriented along the circumference of the gauge (like on a watch) rather than positioned upright... Ford does this, too, and I've never liked it.

The Kizashi's fuel gauge also gets on my nerves. I know if the tank is full or empty, but what about half a tank or a quarter of a tank? I ended up selecting the "distance to empty" meter display within the trip computer and just monitored that.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 10,675 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Keyless Entry, Too?

August 23, 2010

Suzuki Kizashi Keyless Entry.jpg

I'm actually not a huge fan of keyless entry. I know plenty of people love it, but a remote keyfob to lock/unlock the doors is all I need.

But Suzuki clearly feels keyless entry is the way to go, as they include it as a standard feature on the base "S" model for $19,000. However, because of my aforementioned disinterest in keyless entry I just noticed it this past weekend on our Long-Term 2010 Kizashi GTS (admittedly, only the second time I've driven it).

And when I did spot it I assumed it must be part of an option package, or standard only on the top trim levels.

Yet another impressive feature on this car. It's a shame Suzuki doesn't have a full line of Kizashi-like vehicles, as I think they could be living the "Hyundai dream" (i.e. continued sales records and market share gains) if they did.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor at Large @ 10,075 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: Way Better Bluetooth

August 17, 2010


I've been following all the gushing comments about the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GT on this blog and wondered if it's really that good. It is. I drove it for the first time last night and came away duly impressed with pretty much everything everyone else has been praising the car for.

The Kizashi also has some great gadgets for a car costing $22,500: a pumping 425-watt/10-speaker Rockford Fosgate system, decent iPod integration and Bluetooth hands-free for phoning as well as wireless audio streaming.

And while the Bluetooth hands-free isn't the best, it is better than some cars costing twice as much.

First, it was relatively easy to pair my iPhone 3GS. Even though I had to pull over to do it. And delete another editor's phone since the system had hit its limit (a common occurrence around here). And go through a few too many steps compared to the best systems.

While calling a friend who owns an Acura MDX I was reminded of how maddening some systems in more expensive vehicles can be. He started the conversation by cursing the MDX's Bluetooth system, which requires an extra step to transfer the call from the phone to the car. And while chatting with another friend, I was struck by how clear the connection sounded in the Kizashi.

But the system didn't automatically download my phone's address book, although you can enter contacts one at a time and assign voice tags as well as six speed-dial numbers that can be accessed by touching the numbered buttons on the left side of the dash display.

You can also dial a number by voice, although the system was about 50 percent accurate during my short time in the car. And as a bonus you're able to simultaneously pair the phone for Bluetooth hands-free and audio, unlike some systems.

If you classify Bluetooth systems as good, better, best, the Kizashi's falls somewhere in the middle. But if you go by what you get for your money -- and also consider that the car's in-cabin tech comes standard -- the Kizashi is way better than most.

Doug Newcomb, Senior Editor, Technology

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2010 Suzashi Kizuki: It Has Cool Gauges

August 09, 2010

suzuki kizashi gauges.jpg

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

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

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 9050 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: 425-Watts of Goodness

June 21, 2010


I hadn't really listened to the Kizashi's stereo much before this weekend. With all of its visible branding I figured it must be a notch above your standard family sedan spec stereo, but I've seen that ploy before.

This time I was proven correct after connecting an iPod through the USB port in the console. There's plenty of power, good separation and fairly clean bass from the 10-speaker system. The bass isn't particularly deep, but it doesn't rattle or get distorted easily either. Having the tweeters on the doors does make them susceptible to getting covered up, but it's a minor issue for the most part.

There are some pretty slick satellite controls on the steering wheel too. Good feel to the switches and they're logically placed. Overall, a solid system, especially considering that it comes standard on the GTS model.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 7,567 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Not an Audiobook Lover

June 07, 2010

suzuki kizashi ipod menu.jpg
I'm far from being a huge audiobook fan, but I do have one or two saved on my iPod. This weekend, I tried to listen to one while in the Kizashi, but initially, the car's iPod interface wasn't having it. On an iPod, you can select "Audiobook" from the main menu and choose the book you'd like to listen to. The Kizashi's interface, however, doesn't offer "Audiobook" as a selection in the main menu; the only choices are "Album," "Artist," "Songs," "Playlist" and "Genre." Bummer.

Happily, I was able to access the audiobook by first selecting it on the iPod and then connecting the player to the Kizashi. But then I realized that the Kizashi's interface wouldn't allow me to scroll from chapter to chapter within the audiobook.

Again, I'm not a huge audiobook guy, but I have listened to a couple while in our other test cars, and I don't remember ever having this problem. Does your car's iPod interface recognize audiobooks?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 6,316 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Now This Is a Clean Stereo Design

May 12, 2010

Just a quick shot out to the boys in Hamamatsu for the design of the Kizashi's head unit. That's about as clean a setup as you're going to find these days. Nicely spaced out buttons, knobs for volume and tuning and readable labels all around. Doesn't seem too hard does it?

Well, it is, at least judging by the number of poorly designed dashboards I see on a regular basis. Granted, the Kizashi's stereo doesn't have as many features as some of its competitors, but it's not exactly a stripper deck either. They kept it simple and it works.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 5,089 miles

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: PES Headlamps Standard

April 29, 2010

Suzuki Kizashi PES Headlamps.JPG

Our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS has a standard halogen Polyellipsoid headlamp system or PES (Poly-Ellipsoid-System, pronounced pez). They are commonly known as Projector lamps, as they operate similarly to a slide projector.

The advantages of PES over Reflector-type headlamps include better control of the reach, width, and uniformity of the pattern, and the ability to package a smaller lamp with similar output. Then there's styling -- PES lamps look cooler than Reflector.

Of course, PES lamps are more expensive to produce than Reflector headlamps, and all Kizashis across the board get PES, including the lowest trim level S at $19K (just like SmartPass.)

The Suzuki Kizashi comes well-equipped -- standard.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 4,040 miles (Challenger Reflector lamp)

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2010 Kizushki: Guess the iPod Track

April 21, 2010

song 1.jpg

The Sizashi Kuzuki's iPod interface is actually quite good. The processing time is quick and the controls are easy enough to figure out. Unfortunately, the screen's font size is so humungous, you can barely tell what you're looking at. It would be even worse if we had satellite radio (that button's a dud)

So I've decided to invent a new game: Guess the iPod track. Those who successfully identify all eight of these tracks from my iPod using the Kisaski's jumbo screen will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Gilligan Islands.

I'm sure I could've made it harder, but this was just a random sampling. Still, no cheating.

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Liking the Keyless Ignition/Entry

April 09, 2010


As Al's post from a few weeks ago noted, all 2010 Suzuki Kizashis come standard with keyless ignition/entry (Suzuki's "SmartPass"). We've had it on a few long-term cars over the years, and I continually find it a useful and desirable feature. With it, there's no more fumbling for a set of keys or trying to dig them out of your pocket when your hands are full of stuff.

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2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS: SmartPass is standard on all of them

March 18, 2010

Suzuki SmartPass.jpg

Wow. Our long-term 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS has a ton of convenience features.

I drove it for the first time last night. One pleasant surprise is that smart entry and push button start (which Suzuki bundles together and calls "SmartPass") is standard on our $23,614 GTS (includes freight).

What's amazing is that even the lowest trim level Kizashi S at $19,000 has SmartPass as standard.

Need I remind you that our long-term $90K BMW 750 has push button start, but not the optional smart entry? I didn't think so.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 1860 miles

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Past Long-Term Road Tests