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New car reviews

2010 Suzuki Kizashi SE

2010 Suzuki Kizashi SE

Lou Ann Hammond, Tue, 29 Jun 2010 03:03:03 PDT

In the United States we dismiss Suzuki as a bit player, but in their homeland they own the number one selling car, the Suzuki Wagon R. Globally they are making strides as well, in India especially. In fact, the reason Volkswagen gave for creating a partnership with Suzuki is because they own such a large segment of the Indian market.

Suzuki's problems in the United States came because of marketing and financing. They marketed to people in the sub-prime financing group. When the banks stopped offering sub-prime loans Suzuki's financing faltered, as did their sales.

Suzuki is making a strategic move upwards with the Kizashi. It is a rough road upwards, but they are taking the long hard road to a more sustainable auto company.

My first encounter with the Kizashi was in the South, driving an all-wheel drive against some of its competitors: an Audi A4, a Subuaru legacy and an Acura TL.

There are four trim levels available: S, SE, GTS, and top of the line, SLS.

The Suzuki Kizashi S front-wheel drive 2.4-liter inline-4 with the Six-speed manual starts at $18,999 and the automatic CVT starts at $20,599. There is also an automatic CVT, all-wheel drive Kizashi S that starts at $21,899. Add $735 for destination and handling

Standard features of the Kizashi S include, 8 airbags (front/rear side and curtain), Pushbutton keyless start, Dual-zone climate control, 9-speaker audio with steering controls, EPS Stability Control and ABS, Projector beam headlamps, power windows, doors and mirrors, Ambient and footwell lighting

The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi SE front-wheel drive, 2.4-liter inline-4 with the six-speed manual transmission starts at $21,499. There is also an automatic CVT, all-wheel drive Kizashi SE that starts at $22,899.Add $735 for destination and handling

The Suzuki Kizashi GTS front-wheel drive 2.4-liter inline-4 with the Six-speed manual starts at $22,599 and the automatic CVT starts at $23,699. There is also an automatic CVT, all-wheel drive Kizashi S that starts at $24,999. Add $735 for destination and handling

The Suzuki Kizashi SLS front-wheel drive 2.4-liter inline-4 with the Six-speed manual starts at $24,499 and the automatic CVT starts at $25,599. There is also an automatic CVT, all-wheel drive Kizashi SLS that starts at $26,899

Standard features of the Kizashi SLS includes leather seats, power passenger seat, heated front seats, auto dimming rear view mirror with Homelink3 Universal garage door opener, heated outside mirrors, automatic rain sensing wipers, automatic headlamps and rear proximity sensors with audible warning and graphic display.Add $735 for destination and handling

The 2.4-liter inline-4 multiport fuel infected engine will give you 185 @ 6,500 rpm horsepower for the manual transmission and 180 @ 6,000 rpm for the automatic CVT and 170 lb.-ft @ 4,000 rpm of torque. This is the same engine that Suzuki used in the 2009 Grand Vitara.

If you want more ummph for your dollar you can wait for the V-6, but really, this is the little car that could in an inline-4. A V-6 will cost more money and won't give you the fuel economy of the inline-4, both reasons to buy this car.

Fuel economy for the Kizashi is based on tire size, manual or automatic and front-wheel drive versus all-wheel drive. The EPA rating for 6-speed manual transmission front-wheel drive 16-inch tires are estimated 21 city /31 highway miles per gallon. Take the same car and add 17/18 inch tires and the mpg changes to 20 city/ 29 highway.

The EPA rating for automatic CVT manual transmission front-wheel drive 16-inch tires are estimated 23 city /31 highway miles per gallon. Add the 17/18 inch tires and the mpg changes to 23 city/ 30 highway.

The EPA rating for automatic CVT manual transmission all-wheel drive 16-inch tires are estimated 20 city /30 highway miles per gallon. Add the 17/18 inch tires and the mpg changes to 22 city/ 29 highway.

We test drove the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi S that is supposed to get 30 mpg on the highway, and yet our car got 35 mpg on the highway going the speed of traffic. Overall driving we still got over 30miles per gallon.

Because the Kizashi is somewhere between a compact and midsize the competitors will be a little bit of both segments. If I were looking for a car in this segment I would look at the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, and Volkswagen Jetta. Since the Kizashi took some of its best cues from these cars I would also look at the Audi A4, Acura TL, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. This will be like trying to decide between a Louis Vuitton handbag, or a fake one. Once you've seen the difference in price and how great the knockoff looks, you're buying the knockoff Louie.

It's easy. The steering, the feel, the cornering, all good. The Kizashi could be the first Suzuki that can stand on its own against the competition. It's fun if you're on the slalom on a racetrack, or just cruising down the highway.

The first time I drove the Kizashi was in North Carolina and Virginia. I drove both the six-speed manual and the automatic with CVT. The six-speed was very responsive, smooth and fun to operate. The CVT lagged a bit between the 2nd and third gear. Driving it now, Suzuki still has the same problem. It's the passing gear in the automatic that they need to adjust. Suzuki would do well to consider a turbo-charged 4-cylinder. Lots of car companies are going to 4-cylinder turbo-charged instead of 6-cylinder. You have to get the CVT if you want the all-wheel drive.

Of all things not to copy, it would have been the Bangle butt. The trunk would be better suited slimmed down. I like the lip that you can handle and the lightness of the trunk itself. I don't feel like I'm pulling my arm out of my socket just to close the trunk. But the trunk sticks up and calls attention to itself. One shouldn't have to get used to the trunk, it should flow nicely on the body.

Twice in one week I got a low tire warning in the Kizashi instrument panel. That's not a Suzuki issue, it's a tire issue, but it made me think of the difference in TPMS systems. It's required that all cars have a low tire warning signal, but not all TPMS systems are made equal.

I just got back from visiting Continenetal AG's tire pressure monitoring system site in Germany and they have the best system I have seen by far

Through an integrated valve that measures tire pressure and temperature and transmits this data to your car, you will know which tire is low. It doesn't stop there. Once the tire is full to the PSI you specify, the car will honk and the lights will blink. How cool is that?

The Kizashi is priced correctly, and gets good fuel economy. The integration and layout of the cars functions are intuitive to what one expects. At some point it doesn't matter if certain parts were copied, they work and they work well. The car works.

 

 


2010 Suzuki Kazashi SE


driver's view


I like continental's tire system the best


rear shot of vehicle

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