SUZUKI HAS TODAY revealed the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi, its first ever-mid-sized sedan, giving the company a model to compete with the likes of the Mazda6, the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.
The Kizashi had its global reveal this morning in Detroit, promising to build further on the sporting image lead by the Suzuki's motorcycle division and with edgy youthful lines now evident in the styling of its four-wheeled offerings as well.
At the launch, Suzuki described the Kizashi as the strongest indicator yet of the company's push to become an "aspirational" brand, focusing on "younger buyers living life to the fullest".
The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi - which means, loosely translated from Japanese, "prelude" or, as Suzuki preferred to describe the term: "something great is coming" - was developed entirely in-house.
According to Steve Younan, Director of Product Planning for Suzuki in the US, the Kizashi's development team looked not only at its eventual price peers in the Mazda6, Accord and Camry, but also at Alfa Romeo 159, Volkswagen Passat and Acura TSX (a US-only version of the Honda Accord Euro).
Because of this, the Kizashi team put greater emphasis on the development of steering, ride quality, handling and performance than would otherwise be required for the segment that the Kizashi will sell in.
High-performance dampers, multi-link rear suspension, 18-inch wheels and Akebono brakes are therefore some of the features offered in the Kizashi range.
Motivation is provided by a 2.4 litre high-output inline four-cylinder, featuring an aluminium block, cylinder heads and pistons.
While, for now, Suzuki remains tight-lipped on specific power figures, 130-150kW is a likely range. Expect final details closer to the car's North American launch around September.
The four-cylinder engine is mated to either a six-speed manual transmission, which Suzuki claims offers "heightened performance" low down in the gears, or a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) coupled with steering-mounted paddle shifters to maintain the sporty feel.
Fuel consumption for the Kizashi is likely to be in the neighbourhood of 8-9 l/100km - putting it on par with the updated Toyota Camry about to hit Australian showrooms.
The Kizashi will also be offered with Suzuki's next-generation i-AWD all-wheel-drive system - making it one of the few models in its segment offered in western markets with an all-wheel-drive option.
Not a full-time function, the i-AWD system is activated via the "AWD" button in the instrument panel, sending a portion of power to the rear wheels. As with any AWD system, torque split is dependent on factors such as wheel slippage and throttle input.
In terms of size, the Kizashi is 4650mm long - 165mm shorter than the Toyota Camry, but with a longer wheelbase, at 2717mm, to accommodate greater interior space.
Suzuki describes the styling of the Kizashi as "the seamless melding of European style and Japanese craftsmanship", tailored specifically for the driving enthusiast and those with a greater expectation from the look and feel of their car.
Suzuki Australia confirmed that the Kizashi will arrive in Australia in the first half of 2010.
?Kizashi is scheduled for launch in the U.S. in late 2009 and we are keen to establish production and specification for Australia. With the addition of the just launched Alto and Kizashi, Suzuki would be competing in more market segments than ever before,? Tony Devers, Suzuki Australia General Manager, said