By KBB.com Editors
Suzuki's reputation was built, at least in part, with small and rugged SUVs, but changing market conditions and rising gasoline prices are placing emphasis on more efficient cars. So, building on the success of its SX4 subcompact, for 2010 Suzuki is introducing the all-new mid-size Kizashi sedan. The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord dominate the mid-size sedan market, and there are numerous other strong contenders, but even in that tough arena this new Kizashi is a solid entrant. With up-level interior appointments, eye-catching style, a generous list of standard features and a modest asking price, the Kizashi is a very appealing choice in Suzuki's efforts to win the hearts and minds of car buyers.
You might like the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi if you want a mid-size sedan with lots of features and style but don't want to spend a lot of money. The Kizashi also has a fun-to-drive nature that should appeal to drivers who are actually young – or just young at heart.
You might not like the Kizashi if you prefer major name brands. Suzuki is making substantial strides with its lineup, but Honda, Toyota and some others still hold stronger positions in the minds of the car-buying public – as well as better residual values.
Suzuki partnered with Daewoo for its previous mid-size offering, the lackluster and ultimately unsuccessful Verona. This time around Suzuki handled the engineering and design work itself. The result is the 2010 Kizashi, a car that may transform the way consumers look at Suzuki-badged automobiles.
Driving Impressions Suzuki is well known for its small SUVs, but based on our time in the 2010 Kizashi, it also has a solid grasp on how a car should drive, ride...and feel. A solid structure, well crafted interior and good exterior design result in a relatively quiet, rattle-free freeway ride, while a well-sorted suspension gives the Kizashi a nimble cornering feel without sacrificing ride quality. Whether paired with the easy-shifting manual transmission or the seamless and quick-reacting continuously-variable transmission (CVT) we found the Kizashi's four-cylinder engine to be a strong performer – as long as it's kept in the higher rev ranges. Some buyers will long for the extra power of a V6, but most should find the four-cylinder meets their needs.
Rockford Fosgate Audio System
Music fans who step up to the GTS and SLS trims will enjoy the awesome sound of a 10-speaker, 425-watt audio system. Tight lows, crisp highs and zero buzzing or rattles (even at deafening audio levels) make this one of our favorite features.
We wouldn't usually focus on something as mundane as sun visors, but lots of miles spent driving the Kizashi with the sun low on the horizon proved the effectiveness of its sun visor extensions.
Like the exterior, the interior of the Suzuki Kizashi appears to have been plucked from a more expensive car. Red backlit gauges, modern metallic trim and extensive use of soft-touch materials give the Kizashi a premium look and feel. And, although it is smaller inside than all its key competitors, there is still ample room for front and rear-seat passengers. At 13.3 cubic feet, the Kizashi's trunk is also slightly smaller than those of its competitors, but we found enough space for a decent amount of luggage and split-folding rear seats help accommodate bulkier cargo.
There was an era when cheap cars looked, well, cheap. The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi is one of a new breed of cars that look stylish in spite of their modest prices. Up front, the vehicle's nose is dominated by a prominent grille opening flanked by large headlights, while the sides feature bulging round fenders and a distinct shoulder line that accentuate the width and planted stance of the Kizashi. In back, shapely tail lights, a kicked up spoiler-like trunk lid and attractive chrome exhaust surrounds complete the Kizashi's stylish design.
Considering the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi's modest asking price, its long standard feature list is impressive. That list includes keyless entry and engine start, power windows, power mirrors, automatic dual-zone climate control and a seven-speaker audio system with steering-wheel controls and a USB input. Supplementing the standard equipment list is a similarly impressive list of standard safety features, including anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control and eight airbags. Among the eight standard airbags are rear-seat side impact airbags, which are typically found only on premium automobiles.
Buyers who want to upgrade the Kizashi must move up to higher trim levels. Features offered include fog lights, a moonroof, heated power-adjustable front seats, cruise control, 17 and 18-inch alloy wheels and a leather-trimmed interior. Included on GTS and SLS trims is an excellent 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium audio system. All-wheel drive is offered at additional cost on all Kizashi trims, while a navigation system combined with a rear-view camera is available only on GTS and SLS versions.
The only engine offered for the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder. An optional V6 or turbocharged four-cylinder is rumored for the future but most drivers will find the current engine plenty powerful for daily driving, at least when it's kept in the middle and upper rev ranges. Manual transmission-equipped models felt slightly quicker leaving from a stop than their continuously-variable transmission-equipped counterparts, but in all other regards the CVT performed quite nicely. Front-wheel drive is standard for the Kizashi, while all-wheel drive is offered as an option for all trim levels – but is available only with the continuously-variable transmission.
2.4-liter in-line 4
185 horsepower @ 6500 rpm (with manual transmission)
180 horsepower @ 6000 rpm (with CVT)
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 (manual, 16-inch wheels), 20/29 (manual, 17/18-inch wheels), 23/31 (CVT, FWD, 16-inch wheels), 23/30 (CVT, FWD, 17/18-inch wheels), 23/30 (AWD with 16-inch wheels), 22/29 (AWD with 17/18-inch wheels)
By Driver on Sunday, September 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quality, luxury and handling at good price"
Cons: "Slow off the line, not for tall drivers"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I own a 2012 Sport SLS, loaded. Very attractive styling, I get frequent positive comments from people about it's looks. The silver metallic paint is stunning, I have not yet seen a more attractive silver. The wheels are gorgeous but very difficult to clean and super sensitive to ANY cleaner, mine still look good but are splotchy from whatever coating is coming off. Interior is understated and elegant, Audi-esque, and noticeably well assembled. No seams misaligned or out of place, it's perfect. Black leather with white stitching durable, comfortable and elegant. Very good interior room, 4 people is no problem, 5 is. Firm but compliant ride reminds me of my 2000 VW Golf, which is a compliment. Handling is superior, this chassis eats up curves. Is a dog from 0-20 or so, spools up nicely past that. I avg 26 mpg and drive relatively conservatively, have achieved 32 mpg on extended highway trips but usually 29-30. Perfect reliability so far. Steering wheel needs to telescope another two inches, I'm 6' and have difficulty achieving a truly comfortable driving position due to this. I would recommend wholeheartedly to anyone under 6' tall, this is really a very nice car that no one owns. Oh, the 450 watt Rockford Fosgate system is ridiculous - loud but very clear and crisp."
10 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By barra on Tuesday, September 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "33-34 mpg average, ride quality, "feel""
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought the manual transmission because it gives me an extra way of slowing the car in winter driving. A good set of all-weather tires helps too. It has for-wheel disc brakes and they stop the car very well. The recommendation is to use the parking brake. Just leaving it in gear will not hold the car in place on a hill. Like most modern cars, there is no visible reference to tell me where the the front end starts and the back end stops so I had to figure that out myself. The car handles very well with a tight turning radius. The environmental control system, sound system and interior materials are very good. This is my first experience with a Key fob that opens everything. It is almost too convenient."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Jake on Thursday, August 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,400overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Beautiful Car"
Cons: "needs more tire noise dampening."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car has a beautiful interior and has exterior likes that I like very much. It is a drivers car and loves the road. Every where I go someone is asking me about the car. This car would have been a terrific seller if it had made it to the market a few years sooner. I personally find it hard to believe it is a Suzuki because they were so ugly and cheap looking in the past. A wonderful car to late. Someone should pick up this design add a V6 and enjoy mountains of sales."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Rod on Thursday, June 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handles well, CVT smooth, catches eyes"
Cons: "too few to complain"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I purchased this vehicle a year after so I got away from all of the lost cost driving off of the dealer lot. At 12000 miles new to me It was still in excellent condition and couldnt even tell it was a year old. I have the Sport SLS model and for the price the thing is loaded with options and extras. Not just fancy wood on the dash or a whatever switch that really has no use. I have two girls 5-10 so the black leather is amazing and holding up really well and even the plastic and buttons, that I have seen on other cheaper forgein models, are holding up nicely. I cant tell you how many times I have been in a parking lot and had people come up just to see exactly what it is because there arent many on the road.... Hopefully that is not an issue when it comes to repair time so I guess we will see that way. It is a little noisy with the light 4 cylinder road noise wise. and even though it looks fast and furious per say its not going to be beating too many off the light. However, it is wonderfully smooth and once you put better tires on it, it handles the road like a champs. I live in mountainous and windy area and you just feel comfortable taking any corner. I would recommend this rig for sure. Hesitant about repairs since SUZUKI is no longer going to sell in US. But I will just keep enjoying the nice ride until that time comes."
13 people out of 26 found this review helpful
By barra48 on Sunday, May 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,600overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good acceleration,gas mileage,handling, finish."
Cons: "The car is no longer being brought into the US."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought the car because it had a manual transmission and was bigger and more comfortable than the Cobalt that I had. At the time, I did not know that the American car division of Suzuki was bankrupt and that no more cars were being imported. The dealership didn't tell me at the time of purchase. The car handles well, stops well and is quite comfortable over the road. If anything, it is too convenient. The key fob allows me to open the doors and trunk and start the car without a key. This has been a complaint about other cars in the US as well. I average 33-34 mpg. I use synthetic oil and Suzuki filters to maintain warranty. The car had no spare tire just an inflation kit. I bought a spare wheel and tire after a hole in the tire could not be repaired with the kit. The only questionable aspect of the car is that the engine compression will not hold the car on a grade with the car in first gear. I have to use the parking brake ( which works very well) to keep the car from rolling backwards."
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Wayne on Sunday, April 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas mileage, dependability, driveability"
Cons: "Driver's seat position, factory wheels"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought my certified pre-owned 2010 Suzuki Kizashi SE almost two years ago. I spend most of my time traveling on the highway and average around 37mpg. The best I have seen is 42.9mpg over several occasions, but this is generally traveling at 53mph with less than a 1/4 tank of gas. The car is fun to drive; I love my CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), mainly for its engine braking. The CVT transmission also has a fun select shift mode, and when engaged will provide a digital read out of which speed you are in located on the instrument panel, and will automatically down shift when coming to a stop. The car has a great braking system. I hardly have to apply any force to my brakes because the CVT transmission does most of the stopping! The position of the driver’s seat is different to say the least; however I came from driving a sports sedan to this so the position is very different. At 5' 10" sitting in the driver’s seat can feel rather snug at times thanks to a tall seat height and close steering wheel. The car offers comfortable back seats, and I would rate them about average when it comes to leg room. The trunk is quite large with four tie down points and a neat cargo compartment in the spare tire area. The cars stereo is descent but not impressive. The base stereo offers AM/FM, XM, Single MP3 CD, and USB."
7 people out of 15 found this review helpful