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2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD Review Photo:
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What's Hot
Plenty of features and quality build.
What's Not
Dated interior and ageing flat-sounding engine.
X-Factor
Very nice lines with enough sporting style to stand out from the crowd.
Kez Casey | Jun, 21 2011 | 5 Comments

SUZUKI KIZASHI REVIEW

Vehicle Style: Medium sedan
Price: $39,990

Fuel Economy (claimed): 8.4 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 11.2 l/100km

 

OVERVIEW

Before last year Suzuki had never tried its hand at a mid-size sedan. For a debut model, the Kizashi impresses with high levels of refinement and build quality.

With the range-topping Kizashi Sport AWD, add in the security of all-wheel-drive and there’s comfort and confidence all wrapped into a unique sharp-looking package.

 

INTERIOR

Quality: Although the interior shares its basic look with the smaller Swift, the Kizashi adds nicer plastics on the dash and doors and supple leather seating.

It’s not good enough to lead the pack, but it’s of a high standard with typical Suzuki build quality and attention to detail.

Comfort: At the helm the driver’s seat can feel too low and the steering wheel too high – this can be adjusted out, but tall drivers will end up close to the headlining.

The seats are comfortable, lightly-bolstered but wide enough not to pinch, and the scalloped headlining and raised rear seat offer a commanding view without robbing headroom.

Equipment: Power adjustable, heated front seats, leather trim, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, sunroof, dual-zone climate control, Rockford Fosgate audio, 18-inch alloy wheels and a sports bodykit with rear spoiler are all standard features of the Kizashi Sport AWD.

Storage: No space is lost to the Kizashi’s AWD system and boot space remains at 461 litres. Rear seats split and fold (although not flat) and the cabin features a large glovebox and large lidded bins.

 

ON THE ROAD

Driveability: At first the Kizashi seems promising with a brisk step-off from a standing start, but, from there, things wane a bit.

In the mid gears, the engine is slow to build up a head of steam; throttle response is tardy and, for a Sport model, it feels more contained than lively.

The CVT transmission however is buttery smooth and matches gear ratio to driving demands very well.

The switchable AWD system is great on gravel, in the wet or for icy roads; but it’s less happy in dry conditions which can upset the Kizashi’s handling balance.

Refinement: The Kizashi’s ageing four-cylinder engine is a weak spot. From an idle that shakes the whole car to a top end that is loud, thrashy and lacking oomph, the 2.4 litre engine is behind the mid-size pack.

Suspension: Front MacPherson strut suspension coupled with a multi-link rear make for a comfortable and controlled ride.

Handling is safely middle-of-the-road; it’s predictable and copes quite well on our typically varying road-surfaces, but, despite the Sport badge, we’re not talking a sports car here.

Braking: Disc brakes on each corner with vented front rotors are sufficient to pull the Kizashi AWD up strongly, although repeated hard stops will see braking performance fade.

 

SAFETY

ANCAP rating: Five stars.

Safety features: Dual front, side and curtain airbags, ESP and ABS brakes with brake distribution and brake assist.

Front height adjustable seat belts with height adjustment, pretensioners and load limiters and three point seat belts and head restraints across the rear seat.

 

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

Warranty: 3 year/100,000 kilometre warranty.

Service costs: Service pricing is not currently available, contact your local Suzuki Swift dealer before purchase.

 

HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY

Mazda6 Luxury ($40,905) – A good value, well-rounded package, roomy enough for five, enjoyable at the wheel but highway driving (still) comes with a bit more road noise than we’d like. (see Mazda6 reviews)

Honda Accord Euro Luxury ($41,290) – More power, and fond of a rev, the Accord Euro is the pick for spirited driving. High quality cabin provides comfortable accommodation. (see Accord Euro reviews)

Subaru Liberty 2.5i Sport ($39,490) – Mechanically similar with AWD and a CVT transmission, as well as offering more room to move and greater interior refinement. However, no match for the Kizashi in the style stakes. (see Liberty reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

 

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

In the Kizashi, excellent build quality and a comfortable (if slightly dated) interior combine with an eye-catching exterior. It’s a good car with winning style and should be on your shortlist.

That said, other mid-size entrants have worked hard and the Kizashi Sport is up against some stiff competition. And, while there is a lot to recommend in Suzuki’s mid-sizer, we’re not sure the more expensive Sport is the pick of the range.

As appealing as the Kizashi Sport AWD is, it doesn’t hold a clear advantage in a segment with some impressive established competitors.

 
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