It wasn’t long ago that I riled up a group of Suzuki SX4 owners by wondering if Suzuki was kaput. I was among a group of people seriously thinking the time had come for Suzuki to pack up its fleet of mediocre U.S. vehicles and ship ’em back to Japan.
Suzuki needed a home run, and when the company teased its Kizashi concept, hopes were high. But not too high.
Now that the Kizashi is finally in production form, it’s receiving “first drive” tests, and the initial reviews are in. I’ll let a few quotes speak for themselves:
No, the Kizashi isn’t a supercar. Not even kinda. But the Kizashi is remarkably sporting, dare we say shockingly so. Because frankly, we were expecting some sort of already also-ran Camry competitor. Instead, Suzuki gifts the automotive world with an inexpensive five-seater that can embarrass cars costing 150% as much, if not more.
Thanks to a sports tuned suspension and a super-stiff chassis – as well as a curb weight of just over 3,200 pounds – the Kizashi is easily the most athletic car in its class, and even a few rungs up. How do we know? We tested the Kizashi on Virginia International Raceway against competitors like the Mazda Mazda6, Nissan Altima, and Subaru Legacy, and even some cars a few classes up like the Volkswagen Passat CC, Acura TSX and Audi A4.
Car and Driver says,
Fit and finish is [sic] first-rate, and the interior is above average in terms of materials and design, with enough room in the rear for a pair of adults. Ride quality is smooth and fuel economy (Suzuki projects 20–23 mpg city and 29–31 highway, depending on powertrain) is respectable. You could certainly do worse.
Seems to me Suzuki has designed a car with killer good looks that drives as good as, or better than, some world-class competition. Prices will start around $21K, which includes a 185-hp four-cylinder engine that propels the Kizashi to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds. With options like AWD and leather, the only thing that could hold back some buyers is the Suzuki name.
And that’s a shame, because if the Kizashi is a preview of things to come, Suzuki could be around for a very long time.
What would it take for you to consider buying a Suzuki? Think the Kizashi belongs in the same sentence as an A4?