See that car with the European plate carving up that winding road? Audi A4, maybe?
Well, unless you're oblivious to headlines, you know already that not only is that not an Audi or any German car, but a Suzuki.
The good news is that the Suzuki Kizashi is all the things no one ever thought about Suzuki. The bad news is the word needs to spread more. We'll start here.
We got the chance to sample three different Kizashis and found them all to be good looking, comfortable, and fun bordering on truly sporty to drive.
The SE sedan came with a 180 horsepower four, a Continuously Variable Transmission, and a remarkable list of standard equipment (ABS, power steering, 8 airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, security system, keyless entry, premium cloth sport seats, dual zone climate control, rear passenger air vents, a 7-speaker AM./FM/CD/mp3 audio system with iPod and mp3 player USB port, steering wheel audio controls, a 10-way power driver's seat with memory, 17 inch alloy wheels and leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter) for only $21,499. The only options on that one were a premium floor mat set ($125) and premium metallic paint ($130), so the total (delivery charge is listed as zero) was $21,754. EPA estimated mileage is 23 city/30 highway.
Next step up was the SE All-Wheel-Drive. Base price ramps up to $22,749, but so does handling capability...it was a noticeable improvement over an already nimble machine. Standard equipment remains the same, so does the free delivery, and the EPA estimate drops to 22/29.
And then there was the Sport SLS. 5 more horsepower (185), no increase in torque (170 lb/ft) but some added standard equipment including fog lights, an upgraded 425 watt Rockford Fosgate audio system with 10 speakers, Bluetooth, a leather interior, sunroof, rear parking sensors, rain sensing wipers, automatic headlamps, an aero body kit, lightweight sport wheels and a sport design steering wheel. Price bumps to $24,699, the EPA estimate falls to 20 city/ 29 highway and this one had XM satellite radio on the option list, so the bottom line wound up at $25,304.
Everything inside seems of high quality and craftsmanship and the overall vehicle is solid. In fact, the Kizashi gets five stars for frontal and side crash ratings...four for rollover.
The Kizashi represents a major breakthrough for Suzuki...a sporty sedan with styling and handling that you'd associate with other cars costing quite a bit more. At the price point (especially for the Sport SLS), there's certainly competition. But your shopping isn't thorough enough if you don't make time for a test drive of the Kizashi.