SUZUKI AUSTRALIA has today announced the local launch of its new mid-size sedan, the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi.
The launch this week comes three years after the unveiling of the first Kizashi concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007.
The Kizashi we see now is Suzuki's flagship model in the passenger car segment, its development bravely benchmarked against the likes of Audi and BMW.
The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi - which means "prelude" in Japanese or, as Suzuki prefers to describe it, "something great is coming" - was developed entirely in-house.
The sedan's styling is most closely related to the last of the Kizashi concepts, with many of the concept's design elements present, if heavily toned down.
"From the beginning it was vital we considered how best to embody the five key ‘Way of Life’ elements – straightforward, value, sporty, spirit and excitement," Suzuki says of the Kizashi's design.
"As a result, we defined the Kizashi development as ‘an emotionally appealing sedan for active people’. We aimed for Kizashi to deliver excitement throughout the driving experience and saw our benchmark as models from Audi and BMW."
The overall look is clearly a blend of sports-sedan styling and mature sensibility, and Suzuki will undoubtedly be hoping this fact will help the car attract buyers across more than one demographic.
The Kizashi is offered with 17-inch alloy wheels as standard for the entry XL - growing to 18-inch for the range-topping XLS - complementing the integrated spoiler-like lip of the boot lid and the uniquely crafted stainless-steel exhaust covers.
Note: Interior photos are US-market Kizashi.
Inside, the theme continues with a styling that blends a sporty look with an elegant simplicity.
The centre stack features a satin black finish, with inverted L-shaped dark silver trimming where the horizontal sections of the dash meet the instrument panel.
Designed to offer a more upmarket feel, leather-wrapped inner door grips are also featured, along with knitted fabric on the A-pillars and headliner.
According to Suzuki, the Kizashi’s seats were designed with comfort uppermost for 'the ultimate Suzuki driving machine', combining "generous dimensions" with support "realised by a newly-developed urethane material."
The sporty three-spoked steering wheel can be optioned with leather trim for the XLS model, along with CVT-equipped versions of the XL.
Luggage capacity in the boot is a generous 461 litres, helped by a 60:40 split-folding rear seatback with a 'ski port' through-space.
Starting with the entry-level Kizashi XL, standard equipment includes dual-zone climate-control (with pollen filter), cruise control (CVT model only), steering-mounted audio controls, keyless entry and start, and a seven-speaker audio system with USB/iPod connectivity.
The range-topping XLS adds front fog lamps, 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat (with memory), four-way passenger seat, rain-sensing wipers, automatic self-leveling HID headlights, 10-speaker 425 Rockford Fosgate audio system, sunroof, leather upholstery, and parking assist.
On the safety front, the Kizashi offers an extensive range of standard features, including six airbags (with side curtain airbags), electronic stability control, ABS braking and electronic brake-force distribution.
All seats are equipped with three-point seatbelts, including pretensioners and force limiters.
The Kizashi has yet to be tested for an ANCAP crash safety rating, although it is likely to achieve at least a 4-Star result.
Power for the Kizashi is provided exclusively by an aluminium-block 2.4 litre DOHC four-cylinder petrol engine. This unit is based on the engine that debuted with the 2008 Grand Vitara.
The engine has been upgraded for service in the Kizashi, producing 131kW at 6500rpm and 230Nm of torque at 4000rpm while returning a claimed fuel consumption figure of 7.9 l/100km.
A GM-engineered V6 engine was scheduled to debut in the Kizashi some time after launch, however the two companies have since gone their separate ways. Suzuki is understood to be exploring larger engine options with new partner Volkswagen.
The standard transmission for the Kizashi is a six-speed manual, designed by Univance and manufacturered in-house by Suzuki.
A new CVT automatic transmission is offered as an option, available with both the XL and XLS variants. Steering-mounted paddles will be featured with CVT-equipped models, allowing drivers to manually shift ratios.
While the US-market Kizashi is offered with an all-wheel-drive variant, the Kizashi will initially be available in Australia as a front-wheel-drive model only.
Speaking with TMR earlier this year, Suzuki Australia boss Tony Devers said that an AWD variant could be on the way.
"We'd like to think that it [an AWD variant] is not far away," Mr Devers told TMR.
Suspension is managed up front by a McPherson strut setup, while the rear suspension consists of a multi-link arrangement with an upper arm, lower arm, control road and trailing arm.
Braking is handled by an Akebono braking system - known best in Japan for supplying the brakes for the famous Bullet train.
- 2010 Suzuki Kizashi XL - manual - $27,990
- 2010 Suzuki Kizashi XL - CVT - $30,490
- 2010 Suzuki Kizashi XLS - manual - $34,990
- 2010 Suzuki Kizashi XLS - CVT - $36,990
Note: prices are Manufacturer's List Price only and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.