Small cars and niche models are Suzuki’s forte. So far, the Japanese company is known for its hatchbacks: the Alto, Splash and Swift; and its SUVs: the SX4, Jimny and Grand Vitara. Here is an addition to the range that breaks into new territory for Suzuki. The Suzuki Kizashi is a middling-to-large family saloon in what the motor industry knows as the ‘D’ class, and so is up against big-volume models like the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia, Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb.
The Kizashi differs from the majority of its rivals in being equipped with four-wheel-drive. Like some upper-crust Audis, it is 4x4 not because of any off-road driving pretensions, but as a performance driving aid to keep the car firmly planted on the road.
There is just one version of the Suzuki Kizashi on offer, with a 2.4 litre petrol engine that delivers a peak power of 176 bhp and is teamed with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) automatic. Don’t go hunting for a diesel or a manual model, because there are no plans to import those to the UK. Don’t expect to see many Kizashis on the road, either, because only 500 are allocated for the British market in 2012.
In case you are wondering, the name Kizashi is a Japanese word that means optimism, a prelude of good things to come.
The 2.4 litre engine gives the car quite perky performance, but it lacks a bit of low-down oomph and needs to be revved quite hard when you want to overtake, with an accompanying busy noise from the CVT transmission. It is a pity that due to the limited number of cars being imported for UK buyers, it is not being made available here with the six-speed manual gearbox that is offered elsewhere.
The Suzuki Kizashi is in Sport trim with slightly lowered suspension and an aerodynamic bodykit. With an average fuel consumption of 34 mpg and CO2 output of 191 g/km, it is quite a bit thirstier and higher polluting than some of its key rivals, which makes it a little less appealing for a business driver to choose as a company car.
The car’s four-wheel-drive is switchable, so you can use mostly front-wheel-drive and engage 4x4 mode when needed.
Suzuki Kizashi Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Suzuki Kizashi|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||8.8 seconds|
|Top Speed||127 mph|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||42.8 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating|
|Warranty||3 years / 60,000 miles|
|Price (when tested on the 29/12/11)||£21,995|